Leila Fawaz

Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies

  • BA, American University of Beirut
  • MA, American University of Beirut
  • MA, History, Harvard University
  • PhD, History, Harvard University


Leila Fawaz is the Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies and was founding Director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University. Fawaz, a social historian who specializes in the Eastern Mediterranean region, with specific emphasis on late Ottoman Arab history, holds a joint appointment as Professor of Diplomacy at The Fletcher School and Professor of History at Tufts University. In 2012, she was named a Chevalier in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor. Fawaz served on Harvard University’s Board of Overseers from 2006-2012, and presided over the Board from 2011-2012. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations as well as a member of the Comité Scientifique of the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme at the Université d’Aix-Marseille. Her editorial posts have included editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES) and editorial board positions with the American Historical Review and the British Journal of Middle East Studies, among others. Her publications include Transformed Landscapes (co-editor), Modernity and Culture (co-editor), An Occasion for War, State and Society in Lebanon, and Merchants and Migrants in Nineteenth Century Beirut. Fawaz received her PhD in History from Harvard University.

Professional Activities
  • Chevalier, French National Order of the Legion of Honor, 2012
  • President, Harvard Board of Overseers, 2011-2012
  • Carnegie Scholar, 2008-2010
  • Awarded a Visiting Fellowship at All Souls College at Oxford University in the fall of 2006, to work on her new research project on the social history of the Levant in the late Ottoman period.
  • Overseer, Harvard University, 2006-
  • Member, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Member, Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES), 2005-2008
  • Member, Comité Scientifique of the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, Université de Provence, 2005-
  • Member, Editorial Board, American Historical Review
  • European Science Foundation, Strasbourg, France, Member, Steering Committee for the Program on Individual and Society in the Mediterranean Muslim World, 1994-1999
  • Member, Planning Committee, 1993, Publications Committee, 1996-1999
  • Member, Professional Division, American Historical Association
  • Delegate, American Council of Learned Societies
  • Past President, Middle East Studies Association of North America
  • Past President, American University of Beirut Alumni Association of North America
  • Past Editor-in-Chief, The International Journal of Middle East Studies, 1989-1994
  • Visiting Professor, Université de Provence (spring 1994)
  • Past recipient of Lillian Leibner Award for Distinguished Teaching and Advising, Tufts University

  • Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies
  • Program for Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization

Research Interests
  • Social and political history of the modern Middle East
  • Late Ottoman Arab history
  • Wars and civil wars
  • Relations of city and state, culture and society from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean circa 1890-1920

Fawaz, Leila. A Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War. Harvard University Press, 2014.
Fawaz, Leila. Transformed Landscapes: Essays on Palestine and the Middle East in Honor of Walid Khalidi. Co-editor Camille Mansour. Cairo: the American University in Cairo Press, 2009.
Fawaz, Leila and C A Bayly. Modernity and Culture From the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Columbia University Press, 2002.
Fawaz, Leila. An Occasion for War: Ethnic Conflict in Lebanon and Damascus in 1860. University of California Press, 1994.
Fawaz, Leila. State and Society in Lebanon. Oxford Center for Lebanese Studies and Tufts University, 1991.
Fawaz, Leila. Merchants and Migrants in Nineteenth-Century Beirut. Harvard University Press, 1983.

• “Family and Famine in Beirut and Mount Lebanon in World War I,” chapter in (tentative title) Studies in Memory of Kamal Salibi, Abdul-Rahim Abu-Husayn, Tarif Khalidi, and Suleiman Mourad (eds.), Beirut: American University of Beirut Press, forthcoming 2015.
• “Globalisation, imperialism, and the perspectives of foreign soldiers in the Middle East during the First World War,” in The Routledge Handbook of the History of the Middle Eastern Mandates, Cyrus Schayegh and Andrew Arsan (eds.), Routledge Press, 2015.
• “The Memoirs of a French Woman Traveller to the Levant in 1853-1855,” Syria and Bilad al-Sham under Ottoman Rule: Essays in Honour of Abdul-Karim Rafeq, Peter Sluglett, (ed.), with Stefan Weber, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010.
• “Exchanges in Times of War: Coping with War,” Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the Course of History: Exchange and Conflicts, Lothar Gall and Dietmar Willoweit (eds.), Munich: Oldenbourg, 2010.

Endowed Chair Lecture: “A Coastal Affair: Life in Ottoman Beirut”
Workshop: “Jerusalem: Conflict and Resolution”



Email Address

Office Phone

Office Fax

Office Location
Mugar 252 C

Mailing Address
The Fletcher School, Tufts University, 160 Packard Ave
Medford, MA, 02155

Related Links

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School Leadership


  • Board of Advisors
  • Asian Advisory Group
  • European Advisory Group
  • Latin American Advisory Group
  • MENASA Advisory Group