Osama W. Abi-Mershed

Osama W. Abi-Mershed
Associate Professor
241 ICC

Associate Professor

Director – Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS)

Osama Abi-Mershed is Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University, where he teaches courses on North Africa, the Middle East, and the Western Mediterranean (medieval and modern); on Arab and Ottoman societies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and on colonial and post-colonial Franco-Maghribi relations. His academic research focuses on the ideologies and practices of colonial modernization in nineteenth century Algeria, and on the parallel processes of state-and nation-making in France and North Africa.

Areas of Expertise: History,  Middle East & North Africa, North Africa, Research Methodology, Social Theory, History of Maghrib and Andalus, Mediterranean Studies, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Imperialism, Colonial Studies, Postcolonial Theory, Arabic, Islamic Studies

  • Ph.D. (2003) Georgetown University , History
  • M.A. (1997) George Washington University, International Affairs
  • M.B.A. (1988) George Washington University , International Finance and Marketing
  • B.A. (1985) American University of Beirut, Economics


Apostles of Modernity: Saint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria, Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2010.

“A History of the Conflict in Western Sahara” in Perspectives on Western Sahara: Myths, Nationalisms, and Geopolitics, edited by Anouar Boukhars and Jacques Roussellier, Boulder, CO: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2013.

Trajectories of Education in the Arab World: Legacies and Challenges, (Editor), New York: Routledge, 2010.

“Degrees of Interpretive Autonomy: Ijtihad and the Constraints of Competence and Context in Late Medieval Tilimsan,” in Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations 13:2, April, 151-161, 2002.

“The Transmission of Knowledge and the Education of the Ulama in the Late Sixteenth-Century Maghrib: A Study of the Biographical Dictionary of Muhammad Ibn Maryam,” in Auto/Biography and the Construction of Identity and Community in the Middle East. Edited by Mary Ann Fay. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001.

“The Second Algerian Crisis, 1992-1994: Algeria in the Memory of France,” in Arab Studies Journal 7:1, Spring, 8-33, 1999.