I am a historian of the modern Middle East and North Africa with a research focus on Morocco. My scholarly interests include the history of colonialism, decolonization, and the Cold War, as well as nationalism, state formation, and Social Network Analysis (SNA). I am particularly interested in transnational forms of anti-colonial activism across the Arab world during the 1940s and 1950s.
Most importantly, my work puts Middle East and North African studies into conversation, thereby bridging the gap that – regrettably – too often separates these closely related fields of study. Prior to becoming a Maghrebist in 2009, I conducted field work in Egypt for my Master's thesis, which analyzed how online young activists used the internet to create a public sphere in opposition to the authoritarian Mubarak regime.
My current book project, Networking for Independence: The Moroccan Nationalist Movement’s Global Campaign Against Colonialism, 1943-1958, examines the impact of the Istiqlal (Independence) Party's worldwide propaganda campaign against the French and Spanish protectorates, and how this in turn influenced post-independence politics inside the North African kingdom. Based on my PhD dissertation, 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.
Moreover, I have embarked upon several new projects. First, I am working on a monograph on North African memories of the Second World War in general, and the Holocaust in specific, that investigates why this pivotal period of world history remains almost completely absent from regional historiography. Second, in order to map out the ideational landscape of the Istiqlal Party, I am looking at how the nationalist press imagined the new modern Moroccan woman during the colonial era. Finally, I am working on an article analyzing how the population of northern Morocco under Spanish control thought of, and engaged with, the Axis powers – especially Nazi spies – from 1939 until 1942.
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) from Uppsala University in Sweden. Throughout this period, I also spent a combined eighteen months studying Arabic at the Alexandria Center for Languages in Egypt. Afterwards, I relocated across the Atlantic, shifted my research focus to Morocco, 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