Mériam Belli

Associate Professor
History of the Modern Middle East
107 SH
Office Hours: 
by appointment
Phone Number: 
(319) 335-2306

Mériam N. Belli received her PhD in Middle East history from Georgetown University in 2005. Between 2005 and 2008, Mériam Belli taught at Georgetown University; for Pepperdine University's internship program in Washington, DC; and at MIT, Cambridge, Mass. She joined the History Department at the University of Iowa in the fall of 2008. She specializes in the social and cultural history of the Arab Middle East. She earned an M.A. and a DEA (post-Masters thesis) in history at INALCO, Paris, France. Her book, An Incurable Past: Nasser's Egypt Now and Then, explores historical representations and vernacular experiences through the history/stories of schooling and national education; war, resistance, and effigy-burning on the Suez Canal; and spirituality, religion, and the apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1968.


Mériam Belli has a particular interest in oral history, memory/remembrance, cultural and social boundaries, nationalism, colonialism, migrations, and the visual arts, within the broad sphere of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Europe. She is presently working on borders -- building and transcending cultural and physical boundaries -- in the Mediterranean in the late 19th-early 20th century. Her Fulbright project concerns the communities and political administration of the Suez Canal cities, through the prism of death and burial spaces.



At the University of Iowa, she is teaching courses on national, religious, and gender identities in Southwest Asia and North Africa; the history of the modern Middle East; and Urban Space and Colonial Architecture.

Specific course information includes:

  • HIST:7805  Readings in Modern Middle East History (Perspectives on Colonial and Postcolonial Urban History)
  • HIST:4810  History of Modern Middle East
  • HIST:4815  Topics in the Modern Middle East