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R. Thomas Bobal
Georgia State University
|List Affiliations:||Reviewer for H-War
|Interests:||African American History / Studies
Cultural History / Studies
Diplomacy and International Relations
Ethnic History / Studies
Middle East History / Studies
Nationalism History / Studies
Religious Studies and Theology
I received my PhD in American history from Texas A&M University in the summer of 2011. I am trained as both a cultural historian and a historian of American foreign relations. My dissertation, "Stand Up and Be Counted," utilized a cultural lens to explicate American foreign policy in the Middle East during the 1950s. It argued that American policy in the region was largely informed by prominent American cultural presumptions concerning race and religion.
I am presently a visiting lecturer at Georgia State University. The International History Review recently published my article: ‘A Puppet, Even Though He Probably Doesn’t Know So:’ Racial Identity and the Eisenhower Administration’s Encounter with Gamal Abdel Nasser and the Arab Nationalist Movement. The article elucidates how American racialized identity beliefs guided U.S. foreign policy towards Egypt during the 1950s. I am presently in the process of submitting my book manuscript, tentatively entitled "America's Middle East," to publishers. The project utilizes both American and Middle Eastern sources to demonstrate that larger historical currents, emanating from within both American and Middle Eastern societies, conditioned geopolitical developments within the region during the 1940s and 1950s. Specifically, it establishes that larger American dialogues on racialized identity and normative religious behavior colluded with Middle Eastern discussions on governance and Mosque and State to transform the region: marginalizing nationalists, solidifying the rule of authoritarian elites, and lending new-found prominence to those who argued for closer bonds between Mosque and State, including Political Islamists.
I am in the preliminary stages of preparing my next project, which will examine American understandings of the Middle East and its people from 1776 until the present and the use of these perceptions in power discourses, both domestically and internationally.