Faculty Research Profiles

LEILA FAWAZ – ISSAM M. FARES PROFESSOR OF LEBANESE AND EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN STUDIES, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, TUFTS UNIVERSITY AND PROFESSOR OF DIPLOMACY, THE FLETCHER SCHOOL

George EllmoreProfessor Leila Fawaz is the Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Tufts University. She holds a joint appointment as Professor of Diplomacy at The Fletcher School and Professor of History at Tufts University. She was also the founding director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies. In 2012 Fawaz was awarded the title of Chevalier in the French National Order of the Legion of Honor. She received the Harvard Alumni Association Award for 2017, and has served as president of Harvard University’s Board of Overseers. 

Fawaz’s research interests span modern Middle Eastern history, specializing in Lebanon, Greater Syria and the end of the Ottoman Empire. Her publications have focused on the social and political history of the modern Middle East and late Ottoman Arab history. 

Her more recent research has explored the personal side of war, addressing how the Great War — as it unfolded in the Ottoman provinces of the Middle East — affected the average person, whether civilian or soldier. Fawaz seeks out many firsthand sources, from letters to diaries to autobiographies, in multiple languages, in order to capture this intimate perspective. Her research is unique in this regard; it brings to light the universal aspects of how people experience war in the day-to-day environment, including how people carry on even amongst the chaos of war, as they find both joy and sadness in the every day. She is currently researching the changing nature of collective memory and the evolving legacy of World War I in Lebanon and Syria.

Among her publications are Merchants and Migrants in Nineteenth Century Beirut (Harvard University Press, 1983); An Occasion for War (University of California Press, 1994); Modernity and Culture (with C. A. Bayly, Columbia University Press, 2002); and, most recently, A Land of Aching Hearts: the Middle East in the Great War (Harvard University Press, 2014), selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2015.

Photo by George Ellmore