Adam Mestyan
Assistant Professor of History

On leave in 2018-2019.

Adam Mestyan is a historian of the modern Arab world, specializing in the history of nationalism and government since the late Ottoman Empire until today. Methodologically, he is interested in historical anthropology, legal history, global urban history, and global microhistory. A graduate of CEU and ELTE (Budapest), he taught at Oxford University and was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows, Harvard University.

His most recent monograph, Arab Patriotism: The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt (Princeton University Press, 2017), offers the first scholarly investigation of the Egyptian khedivate, a semi-autonomous Ottoman regime type in the late nineteenth century. The book argues that in this polity there was a non-colonial mode of elite patriotism in Arabic in the Ottoman context. Further following the intertwined history of nationalism and government, his current book project, Modern Arab Kingship (under contract), traces the rise of Arab monarchies from the late nineteenth century until the 1950s in the former Ottoman territories. In the global framework of capitalist imperialism, this study unearths ideas and practices of sovereignty in Arabic, the interaction between Muslim theology and pan-Arab nationalism, and legal and aesthetic modes of imagining the national kingships. 

Finally, Mestyan is preparing a project on the history of private wealth and business in global Cairo. He remains committed to the nineteenth-century history of Egypt and the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. In this regard, his next scheduled major publication is Primordial History, Khedivial Power, and Egyptology in Modern Cairo (Cairo: Ifao, 2020). He also supervises an online bibliography project on Arabic periodicals: Jara'id: A Chronology of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals in Arabic.

He welcomes research students interested in any aspect of modern Arab history in the global context who wish to carry out research based on primary sources in the languages of the region.

Office Hours

Wednesday 4-5 pm or by appointment.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Some information on this profile has been compiled automatically from Duke databases and external sources. (Our About page explains how this works.) If you see a problem with the information, please write to Scholars@Duke and let us know. We will reply promptly.