Hilary Kalisman graduated from Brown University, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, with a BA in Middle Eastern Studies. Recently a visiting postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, Dr. Kalisman completed her Ph.D. at the University of California Berkeley in May 2015. Her research investigates education, political culture, colonialism and governance in the modern Middle East with a focus on historical contingencies, such as the unrealized possibilities for representative governance in the Middle East. Her teaching underscores paths not taken as well as diverse viewpoints.​

Presentations and Invited Talks

  • "The American University of Beirut and the British Mandates" with Chris Gratien, Huma Gupta and Nir Shafir. Ottoman History Podcast, No. 213, March 2016. http://www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2016/03/AUB-british-mandate.html

  • "Schooling the State: A Transnational History of Public Education and Governance in the 20th Century Middle East" The Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, March 2016

  • "Reading, Writing, Revolution: Educators in the Interwar Middle East" The Watson Institute, Brown University, March 2016

  • "Teachers into Ministers: A History of Public Education and Regime Stability in the Middle East" The Harvard Kennedy School of Government, December 2015 http://belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu/publication/26164/podcast.html

  • "Subversive Teachers and the Limits of Rebellion: Government Schooling across the Interwar Middle East" The Middle East Studies Association, Annual Meeting, November 2015

  • "Local and Colonial Educators in the Mandates for Iraq and Palestine: Contested Expertise within National and International Frameworks" "Experts and Expertise in the League of Nations Mandates: Figures, Fields and Tools" International Conference INALCO (Paris)/Institut universitaire de France/Université Jean Moulin– Lyon3/Institut français du Proche-Orient (Ifpo), March 2015

  • "Learning Exile: Palestinian Students and Educators Abroad 1940-1957" The Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting, November 2014

  • "'The Creation of World-Mind': British Civil Servants, Education, and the Mandates for Iraq and Palestine" American Historical Association Annual Meeting, (Panel Organizer), January 2014

  • "Teachers into Ministers: Palestinian and Jordanian Educators 1917-1958" The Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting, October 2013

  • "'Are They Educating Their Pupils for a World in which They are To Be First or Second?': Government Schools and Citizenship in the Mandates for Mesopotamia(Iraq) and Palestine" Sponsored by the Syrian Studies Association The Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting, November 2012

Name Title Description


Last Islamic Empires

A comparative examination of the rise and decline" of the three great Muslim empires of the early modern period (1400-1800s). It considers the problem of political legitimacy; transformations in religious practices; the relationship among these empires and the West; and lastly their legacies in the modern world."


Modern Middle East

Examination of the major political and social developments in the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Attention divided among the Arab, Persian and Turkish peoples and states.


Arab-Israeli Conflict

A survey of the origins, history, and implications of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Offering a complex perspective underscoring the multidimensional character of the conflict in terms of both the issues and the actors involved.


Interpreting the Past

The historian's craft and how history scholars think about and interpret the past. Exploration of topics, questions and methodologies used to write about history through reading historical works from a variety of times and places.


Capstone Seminar in Mid East

Explorations of the Middle East and Islam from multiple perspectives including an extensive research paper asking students to integrate distinct methodological and substantive elements from other courses. 4 credits.

  • “The Little Persian Agent in Palestine: Husayn Ruhi, British Intelligence, and World War I” “We Are Watching You: Surveillance and Intelligence in Palestine,” (Special Issue) The Jerusalem Quarterly, 66, Summer 2016.


  • "Bursary Scholars at the American University of Beirut: Living and Practising Arab Unity" The British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 42, No. 4, October 2015. P. 599

  • "The Museum of Textbooks (Jordan)" HAZINE, October 9, 2014. http://hazine.info/museumoftextbooks/

  • "Pedagogical paradox: Education and Internationalization in the Mandates for Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq)" Kufa Review, International Academic Journal Sponsored by the University of Kufa, No. 2, Issue 3, Summer 2013. Special issue sponsored by the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. P 53 

  • "Iraqi Archival Sources in Israel" The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TAARII) Newsletter Issue No. 8-1, Spring 2013. P 12

  • "Review of Rabab El-Mahdi and Philip Marfleet,(eds.) Egypt: The Moment of Change" Insight Turkey, Vol. 16, No. 1, January-March 2011. P. 215

  • The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq Dissertation Prize 2014-2015
  • National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship
  • American Academic Research Institute in Iraq Research Fellowship
  • Institute of International Education Graduate Fellowship
  • Sultan Program of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies
  • University of California, Berkeley Graduate Student Fellowship
University of California Berkeley
University of California Berkeley
Brown University​

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