Christopher S. Rose is a social historian of medicine, focusing on the nineteenth and twentieth century Middle East. He earned his doctorate in History from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in 2019. He is a postdoctoral fellow with the Institute for Historical Studies at UT for the 2019-20 year.
He has taught as a Lecturer in the Department of History (spring 2020) and Assistant Instructor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies (summer 2017) at the University of Texas, and as an adjunct instructor in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas for five semesters in 2017-2019. Prior to pursuing his doctorate, he acquired nearly two decades of administrative experience at the University of Texas.
His monograph project, tentatively titled Home Front Egypt: Famine, Disease, and Death during the Great War, describes how price control systems intended to ensure an adequate supply of food for the Egyptian population during the World War I (1914-1918) 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, he argues that malnutrition facilitated the rapid spread of disease throughout the country, killing more people than military action. The ‘Spanish’ influenza pandemic alone claimed over 150,000 lives — over one percent of Egypt’s population — in the last two months of 1918 (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.
He is exploring the broader global colonial experience of the First World War for a second project. His other research interests include the way that medicine and disease have been used to formulate ideas of social difference; 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).
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.
Dr. Rose is active as a public historian. He founded the podcast 15 Minute History and served as co-host for eight years, and serving as immediate past-president (2018 – 2020) of the Middle East Outreach Council. 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.