Adam Mestyan

Adam Mestyan

Assistant Professor of History

External address: 
Office 318; 114 Campus Drive, Carr Building (East Campus), Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 684-2343
Office hours: 

Wednesday 4-5 pm or by appointment.


On leave in 2018-2019.

Adam Mestyan is a historian of the modern Arab world, specializing in the history of nationalism and government since the late Ottoman Empire until today. Methodologically, he is interested in historical anthropology, legal history, global urban history, and global microhistory. A graduate of CEU and ELTE (Budapest), he taught at Oxford University and was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows, Harvard University.

His most recent monograph, Arab Patriotism: The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt (Princeton University Press, 2017), offers the first scholarly investigation of the Egyptian khedivate, a semi-autonomous Ottoman regime type in the late nineteenth century. The book argues that in this polity there was a non-colonial mode of elite patriotism in Arabic in the Ottoman context. Further following the intertwined history of nationalism and government, his current book project, Modern Arab Kingship (under contract), traces the rise of Arab monarchies from the late nineteenth century until the 1950s in the former Ottoman territories. In the global framework of capitalist imperialism, this study unearths ideas and practices of sovereignty in Arabic, the interaction between Muslim theology and pan-Arab nationalism, and legal and aesthetic modes of imagining the national kingships. 

Finally, Mestyan is preparing a project on the history of private wealth and business in global Cairo. He remains committed to the nineteenth-century history of Egypt and the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. In this regard, his next scheduled major publication is Primordial History, Khedivial Power, and Egyptology in Modern Cairo (Cairo: Ifao, 2020). He also supervises an online bibliography project on Arabic periodicals: Jara'id: A Chronology of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals in Arabic.

He welcomes research students interested in any aspect of modern Arab history in the global context who wish to carry out research based on primary sources in the languages of the region.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Eotvos Lorand University (Hungary) 2011

  • Ph.D., Central European University (Hungary) 2011

  • M.A., Central European University (Hungary) 2007

  • M.A., Eotvos Lorand University (Hungary) 2005

  • M.A., Eotvos Lorand University (Hungary) 2004

Mestyan, A. Arab Patriotism - The Ideology and Culture of Power in Late Ottoman Egypt. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2017. (Monograph)

Mestyan, A. "“I Have To Disguise Myself”: Orientalism, Gyula Germanus, and pilgrimage as cultural capital, 1935–1965." In The Hajj and Europe in the Age of Empire, 217-239. Leiden: Brill, November 2016. (Essay) Open Access Copy

Mestyan, A. "Sound, Military Music, and Opera in Egypt during the Rule of Mehmet Ali Pasha (r.1805-1848)." In Ottoman Empire and European Theatre Vol. II – The Time of Joseph Haydn. From Sultan Mahmud I to Mahmud II (r.1730-1839),edited by M Hüttler and H Weidinger, 539-564. Vienna: Hollitzer, 2014. (Essay) Open Access Copy

Mestyan, A. "Sound, Military Music, and Opera in Egypt during the Rule of Mehmet Ali Pasha (r.1805-1848)." In Ottoman Empire and European Theatre Vol. II – The Time of Joseph Haydn. From Sultan Mahmud I to Mahmud II (r.1730-1839),edited by M Hüttler and H Weidinger. Vienna: Hollitzer, 2014. (Essay)

Mestyan, A. "Cultural Policy in the Late Ottoman Empire? The Palace and the Public Theatres in Nineteenth-Century Istanbul." In Kulturpolitik und Theatre - Die kontinentalen Imperien in Europa im Vergleich. Oldenburg: Böhlau, 2012. (Essay)

Mestyan, A. "Domestic Sovereignty, A'yan Developmentalism, and Global Microhistory in Modern Egypt." Comparative Studies in Society and History 60, no. 2 (April 1, 2018): 415-445. (Review) Full Text Open Access Copy

Mestyan, A. "Upgrade?: Power and sound during Ramadan and ‘Id al-fitr in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Arab provinces." Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 37, no. 2 (January 1, 2017): 262-279. Full Text

Mestyan, A. "“Muḥammad Yūsuf Najm – A Maker of the Nahḍa”." Al-Abhath 64 (October 1, 2016): 97-118. Open Access Copy

Mestyan, A. "ARABIC THEATER IN EARLY KHEDIVIAL CULTURE, 1868–72: JAMES SANUA REVISITED." International Journal of Middle East Studies 46, no. 01 (February 2014): 117-137. Full Text Open Access Copy

MESTYAN, A. "Power and music in Cairo: Azbakiyya." Urban History 40, no. 04 (November 2013): 681-704. Full Text Open Access Copy

Mestyan, A. "ARABIC LEXICOGRAPHY AND EUROPEAN AESTHETICS: THE ORIGIN OF FANN." Muqarnas Online 28, no. 1 (January 1, 2011): 69-100. Full Text Open Access Copy

Spring 2018

Violent Jihad In 20Th Century (HISTORY 359)
East Duke 204B, TuTh 08:30 AM-09:45 AM
Rdngs Empr/colonial Encounters (HISTORY 790S-10)
Carr 229, W 08:30 AM-11:00 AM

Fall 2017

The Modern Middle East (HISTORY 214)
Carr 103, TuTh 10:05 AM-11:20 AM

Spring 2017

Radical Islam (HISTORY 359)
Biddle 101, TuTh 03:05 PM-04:20 PM

Fall 2016

The Modern Middle East (HISTORY 214)
Languages 211, TuTh 04:40 PM-05:55 PM