Andrew Robarts

Before joining RISD to teach modern Middle Eastern history, Andrew Robarts taught at the University of California, Riverside and Central Connecticut State University. His research centers on the comparative history of the Ottoman and Russian Empires with a particular focus on disease, public health and quarantines. He is currently developing a project on environment, space and human mobility in the Ottoman Empire.

Robarts was born and raised in the Middle East (Beirut, Lebanon and Cairo, Egypt) and worked for seven years in the refugee and humanitarian relief field for the International Rescue Committee (in New York, east Africa, Azerbaijan and Baltimore) and for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (in Washington, DC).

Academic research/areas of interest

Robarts’ teaching and research interests combine the traditional geography-based and chronology-dissected approach to history with thematic, transnational and world historical approaches. His first book—Migration and Disease in the Black Sea Region: Ottoman-Russian Relations in the late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries (Bloomsbury, 2017)—emphasizes the trans-imperial character of Ottoman-Russian relations in the first half of the 19th century. As an historian of the Ottoman Empire, he is particularly sensitive to the ways in which nationalist historiography, the area-studies canon of US universities and international political regimes have carved up post-imperial spaces. In an attempt to put the Sultanic humpty-dumpty back together again, his current research project examines the lateral commercial, cultural and social connections that linked disparate parts of the Ottoman Empire. At this analytical level, he explores connections among several Ottoman provinces that are currently considered to be located in Europe and the Middle East.

Fall 2017 Courses

  • HPSS-S464-01 Research Seminar
  • HPSS-S441-02 The Middle East: Past and Present


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