I am a historian of the modern Middle East, working on the political and intellectual histories of religion, nationalism, civil society and migration in Iraq and Lebanon in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. I am a research associate on the 'Moving Stories: Sectarianisms in the Global Middle East' ERC project in the Faculty of History.
I am interested in Arab Shi'i political and intellectual thought; urban associational life, civil society and the public sphere in the late Ottoman Empire; the politics of nationalism, revolution and colonial resistance; and transnationalism and migration among Arab Shi'i communities in the early twentieth century.
My current monograph project is on political thought, intellectual life and print culture in the Iraqi city of Najaf between the era of Ottoman state modernisation and the mid-twentieth century. Provisionally titled 'The Najafi Nahda: Consociation, Journalism and Reform in a Shi'i Holy City, 1860 - 1941', the book will explore how processes of Ottoman and Iraqi state-formation, European colonial expansion, and rapid social and cultural transformations were received and conceived in the context of one of Shi'ism's most important religious and pedagogical centres.
My next project aims to shift focus away from Najaf and the Middle East to offer a global history of Shi'ism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It looks specifically at how transnational human, intellectual and political connections between Iraq, Lebanon, Iran, India and North and South America shaped modern articulations of Shi'i political, intellectual and religious life.