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College of Arts & Sciences

Ziad Abu-Rish

Ziad Abu-Rish

Assistant Professor

403 Bentley Annex

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  • Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • M.A. in Arab Studies from the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University

Research Interests

  • Middle East; Modern Period
  • Lebanon and Jordan
  • State Formation; Economic Development

Ziad Abu-Rish is an assistant professor in the Department of History, and director of the Middle East and North Africa Studies certificate program. He specializes in the modern Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and his research interests focus on the political economy and cultural constructions of state formation in the Arab Middle East. He is particularly interested in the discursive and material production of a national economy as a sphere of action as well as a site of mundane and institutional struggle. Such a research agenda involves three lines of inquiry: the social history of shifting patterns of alliances and conflicts; the institutional history of the norms, repertoires, legacies, and regulations that shape a given political economy; and the cultural history of the reproduction of "the state" through specific representational practices.

At Ohio University, Ziad Abu-Rish draws on his experiences and networks in public engagement to organize lectures, film screenings, and other activities accessible to the broader OHIO community. He serves on the editorial teams of both the Arab Studies Journal and Jadaliyya e-zine. He is a member of Quilting Point film collective, which produced the documentaries About Baghdad, What Is Said About Arabs and Terrorism, and The "Other" Threat. He is a board member of the Arab Studies Institute, a knowledge production institute in its own right, but also the umbrella organization for five other subsidiary projects—which in addition to ASJ, Jadaliyya, and Quilting Point, include Tadween Publishing and the Forum on Arab and Muslim Affairs.


  • "The Middle East Survey Course: Challenges and Opportunities," Review of Middle East Studies 51, no. 1 (2017).
  • "Municipal Politics in Lebanon," Middle East Report 280 (Fall 2016).
  • "Garbage Politics," Middle East Report 277 (Fall 2015).
  • Co-Editor with Bassam Haddad, Critical Voices: A Collection of Interviews From and On the Middle East (Tadween Publishing, 2015).
  • "Protests, Regime Stability, and State Formation in Jordan," in Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East (Oxford University Press, 2014).
  • Co-Editor with Bassam Haddad and Rosie Bsheer, The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of An Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012).
  • Various articles on Jadaliyya e-zine.

He is currently preparing a book manuscript, titled "Making the Economy, Producing the State: Conflict and Institution Building in Early Independence Lebanon, 1943-1955." The project narrates and analyzes elite and popular mobilizations around the construction of specific institutional arrangements that gave shape to the early post-colonial political economy of Lebanon.


His primary teaching fields of interest center on the political, social, and cultural history of the modern Middle East and North Africa. At Ohio University, he offers lower division survey courses as well as more advanced courses. These classes deal with specialized topics in Middle East history or broader, thematic, and cross-regional topics. He draws on multiple forms of histories (i.e., political, social, and cultural) and frames the region within a global comparative perspective. His courses include:

  • History 1330: World History since 1750
  • History 3371/5371: The Middle East since 1500 (Next Offered Fall 2018)
  • History 3320/5320: Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Middle East History (Spring 2018)
  • History 3372/5372: Protests, Rebellions, and Revolutions in the Modern Middle East (Spring 2018)
  • History 4905: Undergraduate Colloquium in Middle East History: Comparative State Formation 
  • History 6905: Graduate Colloquium in Middle East History: Comparative State Formation 
  • Contemporary History 6010: Introduction to Contemporary History

In addition, Ziad Abu-Rish offers a number of Middle East-related tutorials with students enrolled in the Honors Tutorial College (HTC) program.

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