Prof. Prof. Ami Ayalon

חוג להיסטוריה של המזרח התיכון ואפריקה אמריטוס
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I earned my B.A. and M.A. degrees in Middle Eastern history from Tel Aviv University and my Ph.D. (1980) from Princeton University. Between 1980 and 2013 I had been teaching in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History, with interludes during which I was a visiting professor/fellow at Cornell University (1984-85), the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC (1991-92), the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2000-01), Princeton and Emory Universities (2007). I also taught terms at Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) and Brandeis universities and the University of Denver. Between 1992 and 1995 I served as chair of the department in Tel Aviv

As of October 2013 I am retired from teaching, but continue to supervise advanced students and, of course, conduct research and publish.


My scholarly work focuses on the cultural and political history of Arabic-speaking societies in modern times. In recent years I have been mostly interested in two areas of scholarly inquiry: the entry of printing into the Middle East and its wide implications; and Palestinian history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.




Language and Change in the Arab Middle East (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987)

The Press in the Arab Middle East; A History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995)

 A History of the Arab Press (Tel Aviv: Misrad ha-Bitahon, 2000; in Hebrew)  

Reading Palestine: Printing and Literacy, 1900-1948 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2004)

(Ed.), Regime and Opposition in Egypt under Sadat (Tel Aviv, 1983; in Hebrew)

(Ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, Vols. 12-17 (1988-1993) and (with Bruce Maddy-Weitzman) Vol. 18 (1994)

(Co-ed., with Gad Gilbar), Demography and Politics in the Arab States (Tel-Aviv, 1995; in Hebrew)

(Co-ed., with David Wasserstein), Madrasa: Education, Religion and State in the Middle East. Studies in Honor of Michael Winter (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 2004; in Hebrew).

(Co-ed., with David Wasserstein), Mamluks and Ottomans. Studies in Honor of Michael Winter (London: Routledge, 2005)




- "The Arab-Israeli conflict: the armed confrontation," in D. Dishon (ed.), Middle East Record 1969-70. Tel Aviv, 1977, pp. 121-219.

-  "The Iraqi-Iranian war," in C. Legum (ed.), Crisis and Conflict in the Middle East. New York, 1981, pp. 36-51.

-  "Sadat and the Egyptian Challenge," in A. Ayalon (ed.), Regime and Opposition in Egypt under Sadat. Tel Aviv, 1983, pp. 9-22 (in Hebrew).

-  "Sadat and the Legal Opposition," in A. Ayalon (ed.), Regime and Opposition in Egypt under Sadat. Tel Aviv, 1983, pp. 147-77 (in Hebrew).

-  "The Arab discovery of America in the nineteenth century," Middle Eastern Studies, XX, 4 (October 1984), pp. 5-17.

 - "'Malik' in modern Middle Eastern titulature," Die Welt des Islams, XXIII (1985), pp. 306-19.

-  "Semantics and the modern history of non-European societies: Arab 'republics' as a case study," The Historical Journal (Cambridge), 1985, pp. 821-34.

-  "Egypt and the major world powers," in Elazar Papers, IX (1986), pp. 68-74 (in Hebrew).

-  "From fitna to thawra," Studia Islamica, LXVI (1987), pp. 145-74.

-  "Egyptian intellectuals versus European Fascism and Nazism in the 1930s," in U. Dann (ed.), The Great Powers in the Middle East 1919-1939. New York, 1988, pp. 391-404.

-  "The Jewish press of Egypt," Qesher, 4 (1988), pp. 85-95 (in Hebrew).

-  "Western culture in the Middle Eastern mirror," in Y. Kaplan and M. Stern (eds.), Acculturation and Assimilation: Continuity and Change in the Cultures of Israel and the Nations. Jerusalem, 1989, pp. 235-48 (in Hebrew).

-  "Regime, opposition and terrorism in Egypt," in B. Rubin (ed.), The Politics of Terrorism. Washington, 1989, pp. 67-93.                       

- "Dimuqratiyya, Hurriyya, Jumhuriyya: the modernization of the Arabic political vocabulary," Asian and African Studies, XXIII, 1 (March 1989), pp. 23-42.

- "Tumult, or enlightened change: Arab views of the French Revolution," Zmanim, 30-31 (1989),  pp. 149-59 (in Hebrew).

-  "Sihafa: the Arab experiment in journalism," Middle Eastern Studies, XXVIII, 2 (April 1992), pp. 258-80.           

-  "Egypt's political order: continuity and challenges," in R. B. Satloff (ed.), The Politics of Change in the Middle East. Boulder, Co., 1993, pp. 195-223.

-  "Philately and history: the Arab kingdom in the Hijaz as a philatelic story," Zmanim, 49 (1994), pp. 66-77 (in Hebrew).

-  "Journalism and the press: the vicissitudes of licensed pluralism," in S. Shamir (ed.), Egypt from Monarchy to Republic. Boulder, Co., 1995, pp. 267-79.

 - The Hashemites, T.E. Lawrence, and the postage stamps of the Hijaz," in A. Susser and A. Shmuelevitz (eds). The Hashemites in the Modern Arab World. London, 1995, pp. 15-30.

-  "Demography, politics and tradition in Mubarak's Egypt," in A. Ayalon and G. Gilbar (eds.), Demography and Politics in the Arab States. Tel Aviv, 1995, pp. 29-50 (in Hebrew).

-  "How people began to read newspapers in the Middle East," Bulletin of the Israeli Academic Center in Cairo, No. 20 (April 1997), pp. 16-21.

-  "Political journalism and its audience in Egypt, 1875-1914," Culture and History No. 16 (1997), pp. 100-121.

-  "Egypt's Coptic Pandora’s Box," in G. Ben Dor and O. Bengio (eds.), Minorities and the State in the Arab World (Los Angeles, 1998), pp. 53-71.

-  "Language as a barrier to political reform in the Middle East," International Journal of the Sociology of Language, No. 137 (June 1999), pp. 67-80.

-  "The birth-hour of private Arab journalism," Zmanim, 67 (1999), pp. 50-59 (in Hebrew).

-  "Egypt's quest for cultural orientation," The Moshe Dayan Center, Data and Analysis series, June 1999, [48 pp.]

-  "Post-Ottoman Arab monarchies: old bottles, new labels?" in J. Kostiner (ed.), Middle East Monarchies. Boulder, CO, 2000, pp. 23-36.

-  "Hassun and Shidyaq: pencraft and survival in mid-nineteenth century Istanbul," in Jayne L. Warner (ed.), Cultural Horizons. Syracuse, 2001, pp. 59-68.

-  "Texts and their readers in late Ottoman Palestine," Middle Eastern Studies, October 2002, pp. 17-40.

-  "Christian ‘intruders’, Muslim ‘bigots’: The Egyptian-Syrian press controversy in late 19th century Cairo," in Tudor Parfitt (ed.), Jews, Muslims and Mass Media. London, 2004, pp. 15-27.

-  "Education and frustration in mandatory Palestine: the sad story of Ustadh Nacīm Salmān," in A. Ayalon and D. Wasserstein (eds.), Madrasa: Education, Religion and State in the Middle East. Studies in Honor of Michael Winter. Tel Aviv, 2004, pp. 175-88 (in Hebrew).

-  "The beginning of publishing in pre-1948 Palestine," Journal of Semitic Studies, Supplement 15 (2004), pp. 69-80.

-  "The Syrian educated elite and the literary nahda," in I. Weismann and F. Zachs (eds.), Ottoman Reform and Islamic Regeneration. London, 2005, pp. 127-148.

-  "War, cholera and media scandal: the re-conquest of Sudan and the Egyptian press, 1896," ha-Mizrah he-Hadash, 2008, pp. 77-89 (in Hebrew).

-  "Inscribing the Public Domain: Arab Placards, Proclamations and Handbills," Journal of Semitic Studies, Supplement 24 (2008), pp. 155-164, 304-313.

-  "Private publishing in the naha," International Journal of Middle East Studies, 40 (2008), pp. 561-577.

-  "Arab booksellers and bookshops in the age of printing, 1850-1914," British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 37 (2010), pp. 73-93.

-  "Was there a printing revolution in the Middle East?" Zmanim, 112 (2010), pp. 50-59 (in Hebrew).

-  "The press and publishing", in The New Cambridge History of Islam, Vol. 6: Muslims and Modernity: Culture and Society since 1800" (Cambridge, 2010), pp. 572-596.

-  "The 'manual laborers' of the Arab cultural revival," ha-Mizrah he-Hadash, 2011, pp. 29-48 (in Hebrew).

- "Arab printing, publishing and mass reading: the dawn of new practices," in Liat Kozma and Avner Wishnitzer (eds.), On the Move: the Middle East and the First Modern Globalization (forthcoming).

-  "World War I in Palestine," Zmanim, 126 (2014), (in Hebrew). (forthcoming).

-  "'Al-ādab al-zāhira': literary endeavor in pre-1908 Palestine," in M. Ghanaim and D. Wasserstein (eds.), Studies in Honor of Sasson Somekh (forthcoming).


Articles in the Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd Ed. (among other): "Malik," "Shacb," "al-Takfīr wa'l-Hidjra," "Tacrīb," "Thawra" and "Walī al-cAhd."

Article in the Encyclopaedia of Islam, 3rd Ed.: "al-Ahrām."


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