I am a historian of the modern Arab world specialized in decolonization. My work puts Middle East and North African studies into conversation, thereby bridging the gap that too often separates these closely related fields. In 2008, prior to turning towards the Maghreb, 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 first book, Globalizing Morocco: Transnational Activism and the Post-Colonial State (Stanford University Press, 2019) examines the Moroccan nationalist movement's worldwide anti-colonial campaign against the French and Spanish protectorates, and how this in turn influenced politics inside the North African kingdom after independence in 1956. This fascinating episode of Cold War history elucidates the contributions made by non-state Third World actors to the formation of the post-1945 global order.
My second book project analyzes how ordinary North Africans experienced World War II. It is based on archival research in all three Maghrebi countries as well as oral histories, fiction literature, movies, popular music, and much more. Despite the tremendous suffering caused by the war years – ranging from authoritarian Vichy rule to widespread famines and concentration camps – this pivotal period of modern North African history remains all but absent from regional public memory as well as academic historiography. My work brings together the experiences of Muslims, Jews, and European settlers into a single narrative that shows how the war years created a shared historical experience that both brought the different communities together and accelerated the social polarization that would lead to the region's decolonization after May 1945.
Just like my research, my training as a scholar has been multilingual and transnational. I hold a BA in Semitic Philology as well as an MA in Middle Eastern Studies, 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 North Africa, 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 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