Christopher S. Rose is a historian of the nineteenth and twentieth century Middle East. He earned his doctorate in History from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in May 2019.
He is a postdoctoral fellow with the Institute for Historical Studies at UT for the 2019-20 year. He is currently (Spring 2020) teaching a course called “World War I: The Colonial Experience” in the Department of History at UT.
Chris has also taught as an adjunct instructor in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and as an Assistant Instructor for the UT’s Department of Middle Eastern Studies.
His dissertation, On the Home Front: Food, Medicine, and Disease in World War I Egypt, addressed a notable gap in Egyptian history, yielding a wealth of information about the impact of World War I (1914-1918) on the Egyptian civilian population. He is using the postdoctoral year to begin moving his research trajectory from the dissertation’s focus on Egypt to examine transnational connections throughout the Eastern Mediterranean in the monograph, tentatively titled Home Front Egypt: Famine, Disease, and Death during the Great War. Beyond that, he is exploring the broader global colonial experience of the First World War for a second project.
Home Front Egypt analyzes how price control systems intended to ensure an adequate supply of food for the population during the war were neutralized by requisitions of labor and foodstuffs, a situation that resulted in inflation, food shortages, and starvation among civilians. Using demographic and statistical data, Chris argues that malnutrition facilitated the rapid spread of disease throughout the country, killing more people than military action. This culminated in the influenza pandemic of 1918, which on its own claimed over 150,000 lives — over one percent of Egypt’s population (an article about the pandemic in Egypt is forthcoming in the Journal of World History).
His work contextualizes civilian suffering as a “social event,” contending that economic and political consequences of health and disease must be considered as factors in the history of post-war Egypt. When taking these into account as underlying factors of discontent, historians can develop a more complete answer to the question of why the peasantry–usually (if simplistically) considered an apolitical demographic–participated in the nationalist uprising in the spring of 1919.
His other interests include the formative period of Islam from Muhammad until the rise of the Umayyads; the history and development of Fustat/Cairo; Islamic North Africa and Spain (al-Andalus); and the spread of cultural traits outward from the Middle East through trade networks (Silk Route, Mediterranean, Atlantic).
He has taught surveys covering most of the history of the Middle East—from the rise of Islam to the present day—in addition to an introductory survey for the Global Studies program at St. Edward’s, and a course on Modern Egypt using literature in translation as the primary course texts. He also designed and taught a comparative global course on terrorism and extremism for St. Edward’s, and is currently developing a course “World War I: The Colonial Experience” for the spring 2020 semester at UT.
In his relatively short teaching career, he has mentored students who have received a variety of accolades and awards, including Boren and Fulbright fellowships. He is also writing a popular series of blog posts called the Grad School Survival Guide (mentioned in episode 77 of Jeremi Suri’s This is Democracy podcast!)
Chris also has significant experience in educator training, particularly working with world history and world geography educators. He has conducted numerous professional development sessions for educators, co-written several curriculum units for K-12 classrooms, and escorted numerous groups of educators to the Middle East.
He has extensive experience traveling in the Middle East, including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the West Bank, and has done archival work in the UK, the US, and Switzerland. He speaks Egyptian Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, and Spanish, and reads French and Portuguese.
When not nerding out in archives and contemplating the power implications of knowledge production, he enjoys food, wine, photography, and scratching cats behind the ears.