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Elizabeth Thompson Professor and Mohamed S. Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace, SIS Global Inquiry

Additional Positions at AU
Mohamed S. Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace
Co-Chair, Historical International Studies Research Cluster
PhD, Columbia University in History;
MIA, Columbia University, in International Affairs;
BA, Harvard University in History & Literature

Languages Spoken
Arabic, French, some Turkish, Spanish, Italian
Favorite Spot on Campus
My Office
Book Currently Reading
Caroline Elkins, Legacy of Violence: A History of the British Empire
Elizabeth F. Thompson is a historian of social movements and liberal constitutionalism in the Middle East, with a focus on how race and gender relations have been conditioned by foreign intervention and international law. She recently published her third book: How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs: The Syrian Arab Congress and the Destruction of its Historic Liberal-Islamic Alliance (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2020). It explores how and why Arabs gathered in Damascus after World War I to establish a democratic regime, in contrast to the prevalence of authoritarian-nationalist regimes established elsewhere in the lands of the defeated Ottoman and Habsburg Empires. The book also considers the long-term, negative consequences of the destruction of the Arab democracy, authorized by the Paris Peace Conference and enforced by the new League of Nations.

Thompson is author of two previous books: Justice Interrupted: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East (Harvard, 2013) and Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege, and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon (Columbia, 2000), which won two national prizes. She is currently working on two new books. The Deluge: A Memoir of Muslim-Christian Europe and Its Destruction is based on the humorous memoir of a Hungarian-Ottoman who fought alongside Turks in World War I, only to find himself stateless afterward. A second project, titled Gone With the Wind in Cairo, explores the transnational politics of cinema and the renegotiation of racial and gender identities in 1940s-50s Middle East and the United States.
See Also
Elizabeth Thompson's Website
Politics & Prose Book Talk
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2024

  • HIST-396 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: WWI & Making of Modern World

  • SIS-619 Special Studies in Int'l Pol: WWI: How Peace Negotiatn Fail

Fall 2024

  • HIST-248 Intro to Modern Middle East

  • SIS-676 Sel Topics in Cross-Natl Study: War, State, Islam in Mid East

  • SISU-397 SIS Honors Colloquium: Colonialism and Its Legacies