Associate Professor of History, Graduate Program Director
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2011 (History)
B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz, 2004 (History)
American Foreign Policy
Business and Economic History
The Modern Middle East
History 2600: Problems in U.S. History
History 3630: U.S. History, 1877-1945
History 3640: The Contemporary U.S.
History 3900: Arab-Islamic Civilization
History 3920: Modern Middle East
History 4600: U.S. Diplomatic History
History 4960: Senior Seminar
History 5000: International Relations (Graduate Seminar)
History 5930: History of Historical Writing (Graduate Seminar)
My book, The Paranoid Style in American Diplomacy: Oil and Arab Nationalism in Iraq (Stanford University Press, 2021), analyzes the Iraqi effort to nationalize the Iraq Petroleum Company from the beginning of that effort in the 1920s through its successful conclusion in the 1970s. I examine this history from three distinct perspectives: the oil company officials that sought to defend their business interests in Iraq, the Iraqi state-building class that carried out the nationalization, and the American diplomats that sought to mediate between the two contending sides. Drawing on private oil company records, declassified US documents, and Iraqi oral histories and memoirs, I advance three main arguments. I argue that the unique features of the IPC consortium – its heterogenous origins and the business rivalries among its constituent firms – rendered it particularly vulnerable to eventual nationalization. I argue that Iraq’s state-building elite, over the course of roughly three generations, overcame tremendous obstacles to marshal the force necessary to expropriate the property of some of the world’s richest and most powerful corporations. And I argue that the Iraqi oil nationalization effort exposed critical contradictions and vulnerabilities in the logic and structure of American power. These three interrelated dynamics fused in the early 1970s to produce the first successful oil nationalization in a major oil-producing state. In the wake of Iraq’s bold action, producer-state control would be the industry norm by the end of the decade of the 1970s.
The Paranoid Style in American Diplomacy: Oil and Arab Nationalism in Iraq (forthcoming Stanford University Press, 2021).
“Embracing Regime Change: US Foreign Policy and the 1963 Coup d’état in Iraq,” Diplomatic History 39: 1 (January 2015), pp. 98-125.
“Oil Sovereignty, American Foreign Policy, and the 1968 Coups in Iraq,” Diplomacy & Statecraft 28: 2 (June 2017), pp. 235-53.
“U.S.-Iraqi Relations, 1920-2003,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History (Jan 2018).
“Essential Readings: The United States and Iraq before Saddam Hussein’s Rule,” Jadaliyya (July 20, 2018).
“Making Friends and Enemies in the Middle East,” Reviews in American History 46: 3 (September 2018), pp. 523-529.
“Oil, Empire, and Covert Action: New Directions in the Historiography of U.S.-Iraqi Relations,” in Christopher R. W. Dietrich (ed.), A Companion to U.S. Foreign Policy: 1776 to the Present, Volume II, First Edition (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2020), pp. 961-84.
Selected Awards and Grants
- Visiting Scholar, The Abbasi Center for Islamic Studies, Stanford University, 2012-13
- The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq, Research Fellow, 2011
- Andrew Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2009-2010
- John F. Kennedy Library Foundation Research Grant, Oct 2009
- The George Washington University, Summer Institute for Conducting Archival Research, Travel and Seminar Grant, June 2008
- Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, O’Bie Shultz Dissertation Research Travel Grant, Summer 2008
- Stanford Humanities Center, General Research Opportunity Grant, Summer 2008