This year Beshara Doumani was named Joukowsky Family Professor of Modern Middle East History and Director of the substantially expanded Center for Middle East Studies at Brown. He is also a Faculty Fellow at the Watson Institute. Before coming to Brown, Doumani held faculty appointments at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley and residential fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies (2007-2008), the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (2001-2002) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1997-1998).
Doumani is one of the leading scholars in Middle East Studies and served on various professional boards and editorial committees. His interest lies in recovering the history of social groups, places, and time periods that have been silenced or erased by conventional scholarship. His work focuses on the social and cultural history of peasants, merchants, artisans, and women who live in the provincial regions of the Arab East during the late Ottoman period (18th and 19th centuries). Doumani helped pioneer the fields of Middle East family history and the social history of the Palestinians. His forthcoming book, The Rightful Beneficiaries: A Social History of Family Life in Ottoman Syria, 1660-1860, questions assumptions about Arab and Muslim families by revealing then seeking to explain dramatic regional differences in the organization of family life within the same cultural zone.
He is also the editor of Family History in the Middle East: Household, Property and Gender. His first book, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900 uses local sources such as family papers and legal records to tell an intimate and textured story of the transformation of Palestinian society during the Ottoman period.
Doumani is a public intellectual who writes on current events in the Middle East, on the ethics of knowledge production, and on the relationship between culture and politics. He is editor of Academic Freedom After September 11, and recently led a team that produced a strategic plan for the establishment of a Palestinian museum.