Mériam Belli

Meriam Belli
Associate Professor
History of the modern Middle East
Social and Cultural history of the Arab Middle East
Transnational history of death and dying
Oral history and memory
Boundaries and mobility
306 Schaeffer Hall
Office Hours: 
T, Th: 3:30pm–5:00pm and by appointment
Phone Number: 

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 (University Press of Florida, 2013) explores the 1950s-1960s and their representations within Egyptian society through stories of schooling (national memory); war and effigy-burning on the Suez Canal (local memories); and the apparition of the Virgin Mary (communitarian memories).


She is presently working on a transnational history of death and dying, that has for purpose to explore modern cultural and physical boundaries in the Mediterranean (Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia) from the late 19th-century onward.


Mériam Belli has a particular interest in oral history/memory, boundaries/mobility, nationalism/colonialism, and cultural performances and practices within the broad sphere of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Europe."



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:2151  Introduction to the History Major - History and Fiction
  • HIST:4810  History of Modern Middle East
  • HIST:4815  Topics in the Modern Middle East
  • HIST:7805  Readings in Modern Middle East History (Perspectives on Colonial and Postcolonial Urban History)