Associate Professor of History, IGS Co-chair 2016-2017; Chair 2017-2019
B.A., Carleton College; M.A., University of Chicago; Ph.D. New York University

Nicholas E. Roberts teaches classes on the Middle East, Islam, and imperialism in the History Department and the International and Global Studies Program.

Nicholas E. Roberts received his B.A. in Religion from Carleton College, a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies/History from New York University. His scholarly interests include the history of European imperialism in the Middle East, the history of Israel/Palestine, modern Islamic movements, and Arab nationalism in the Middle East. He has received several awards including a James D. Kennedy III fellowship from Sewanee and a Fulbright fellowship to conduct research in Israel.

At Sewanee, he offers the following courses about the Middle East: Middle East History I (until 1800), Middle East History II (post-1800), Jerusalem: Histories of the Real and Imagined City, The History of Islam, The Arab-Israeli Conflict, Modern Iraq and the US-Iraq Conflict, Revolutions and Revolutionaries in the Middle East, and Political Islam.

Most recently Roberts has published Islam Under the Palestine Mandate: Colonialism and the Supreme Muslim Council (London: I.B.Tauris, 2016), which analyzes the controversial establishment of the Supreme Muslim Council (SMC) in British Palestine and considers the politicization of the council under its infamous president, Hajj Amin al-Husayni. Based on research conducted in Israel and Britain, the book uses the fascinating history of the SMC as a lens for understanding how Islamic politics, Palestinian nationalism, and colonialism intersected in mandate Palestine. Arguing against the conventional belief that British experiences in Palestine were sui generis, the book shows how British policies in the mandate were informed by approaches towards Islam developed elsewhere in the empire.


- Islam Under the Palestine Mandate: Colonialism and the Supreme Muslim Council (London: I.B. Tauris, 2016).


- “Dividing Jerusalem: British Urban Planning in the Holy City,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 42, No. 4 (Summer 2013): 7-26.
- “Re-remembering the Mandate: Historiographical Debate and Revisionist History in the Study of British Palestine,” History Compass, Vol. 9, Issue 3 (March 2011): 215-230.
- "Palestine on Display: The Palestine Pavilion at the British Empire Exhibition of 1924,"Arab Studies Journal, Vol. XV, No. 1 (Spring 2007): 70-89.

Book Reviews
- “Review of Laura Robson, Colonialism and Christianity in Mandate Palestine,”International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 45, Issue 1 (February 2013): 87-89.
- “Review of The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948, Ed. Eugene L. Rogan and Avi Shlaim,” Arab Studies Journal (Fall 2002/Spring 2003): 151-153.


Islam under the Palestine Mandate: Colonialism and the Supreme Muslim Council by Nicholas E. Roberts

Areas of Expertise

Middle Eastern History
Islamic History
History of Imperialism
The History of Palestine
The History of Jerusalem