I am a historian of the modern Middle East and North Africa with a research focus on Morocco. My scholarly interests include World War II, decolonization, and the Cold War. At the moment, I am particularly interested in transnational forms of anti-colonial activism across the Arab world during the 1940s and 1950s.
My work puts Middle East and North African studies into conversation, thereby bridging the gap that – regrettably – too often separates these closely related fields. Prior to becoming a Maghrebist in 2009, I conducted field work in Egypt for my Master's thesis, which analyzed how online activists used the internet to create a public sphere in opposition to the authoritarian Mubarak regime.
My current book project, Globalizing Morocco: Transnational Activism and the Post-Colonial State, examines the impact of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party's worldwide propaganda campaign against the French and Spanish protectorates, and how this in turn influenced politics inside the North African kingdom after independence in 1956. It combines private letters, diaries, colonial surveillance records, diplomatic correspondence, newspapers, and biographies in five different languages to tell the story of this fascinating period of international history. The book will be published by Stanford University Press in 2019.
Moreover, I have embarked upon several new projects. First, my next book explores how North Africans experienced World War II in general, and the Holocaust in specific, in order to explain why this pivotal period of world history remains largely absent from regional historiography. It is based on research in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco as well as numerous archives from Berlin to Washington DC. Second, I am studying the country's Arab-language press to understand how the idealized "modern" woman became a site of intra-Moroccan political struggles during the transition from colonial rule to post-independence state-formation. Finally, I am working on another article analyzing how the Moroccan struggle for independence engaged with the emerging discourse of human rights during the early Cold War.
Just like my research, my training as a scholar has been multilingual and transnational. I hold a BA in Semitic Philology and Political Science (2007) as well as an MA in Middle Eastern Studies (2009), both from Uppsala University in Sweden. I also spent a combined eighteen months studying Arabic at the Alexandria Center for Languages in Egypt. Eventually, I relocated across the Atlantic, shifted my research focus to the Maghreb and obtained a PhD in History from UC Davis in June 2015. During the following year, I was the Sultan Visiting Scholar in Arab Studies at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a Lecturer in the International & Area Studies Program at UC Berkeley. Finally, in August 2016, I joined Christopher Newport University in Virginia as Assistant Professor of History.
If you are curious about anything, please send me an email!
david.stenner (at) cnu.edu | Find me on Academia.edu