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Elizabeth F. Thompson Professor and Mohamed S. Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace, SIS School of International Service

Send email to Elizabeth F. Thompson
(202) 885-1632 (Office)
SIS - School of International Service
SIS - 200C
Fall 2020: Wednesdays and Thursdays 4-5pm (Eastern Time) and by appointment. Please contact me by email to set up a Zoom link:
Additional Positions at AU
Mohamed S. Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace
Professor of History
Co-Chair, Islamic & Middle East Studies
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
Juan Cole, Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires
Elizabeth F. Thompson is a historian of social movements and liberal constitutionalism in the Middle East, with a focus on how race and gender have conditioned foreign intervention and the application of 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 Hungarian in Istanbul Survives the Destruction of Two Empires after World War I is based on the darkly humorous memoir of Antoine Köpe, who fought alongside Turks in the Great War only to find himself stateless afterward. His family, which had prospered among Muslim Turks in the 19th century, found itself on the wrong side of the bloody and brutal new boundaries between Christian Europe and Muslim Middle East that were drawn after the Great War. 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
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.


Spring 2021

  • HIST-496 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: Crisis/Survival in Middle East

Fall 2021

  • HIST-496 Selected Topics:Non-Recurring: WWI & Making of Modern World

  • SIS-619 Special Studies in Int'l Pol: Soc Movmts/Pol Chng Islam Wrld

  • SISU-370 Topics Just/Ethics/Human Rgts: Seeking Justice Islamic World