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Meriam N. 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:
Wednesday 2-5 pm, or by appointment
Phone Number:

Meriam N. Belli writes on the social and cultural history of the Middle East. Her first book, An Incurable Past: Nasser's Egypt Now and Then (University Press of Florida, c2013; 2017) 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 currently working on a transnational history (Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia) that has for purpose to explore modern political and cultural boundaries in the Mediterranean through the lens of the transit of human remains.

Meriam N. Belli earned a PhD in Middle East history from Georgetown University in 2005. She earned a MA and a DEA (post-Masters thesis) in history at INALCO, Paris, France. Between 2005 and 2008, she taught at Georgetown University; for Pepperdine University's internship program in Washington, DC; and at MIT, Cambridge, Mass. She joined the Department of History at the University of Iowa in the fall of 2008. 

Research interests: oral history/memory, boundaries/mobility, nationalism/colonialism.


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.

Awards & Service

  • Fall 2019 Career Development Award
  • Summer 2018 Participant, Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiries Summer Institute, Grinnell College/University of Iowa
  • 2016 Summer Faculty Success Program Scholarship, National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity
  • 2016-17 IMéRA Labex-Med Fellowship, University of Aix-Marseille, France
  • 2016 AHI Fellowship
  • 2015 Career Development Award
  • Summer 2015 International Travel Award, International Programs, University of Iowa
  • Sept. 2011-June 2012 Fulbright Scholar Award, Cairo, Egypt
  • 2007 & 2008 School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) Research Grant, Dean’s Fund, MIT
  • 2007 National History Center (NHC)/American Historical Association Fellowship (AHA)
  • 2001-02 (2000)  Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Award