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Joel Beinin

Joel Beinin

Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus
Department of History

Joel Beinin is the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History , Emeritus. He received his A.B. from Princeton University in 1970, his M.A. from Harvard University in 1974, and his A.M.L.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1978 and 1982. He also studied at the American University of Cairo and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He lived in Egypt in 1969, 1980-81, 1985, 1986, 1994, 2004-05, and 2006-08 and in Israel in 1965-66, 1970-73, 1987, 1988, 1993, and 1993. He has taught Middle East history at Stanford University since 1983. From 2006 to 2008 he served as Director of Middle East Studies and Professor of History at the American University in Cairo. His research and writing focuses on workers, peasants, and minorities in the modern Middle East and on Israel, Palestine, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

Beinin has written or edited ten books, most recently Workers and Thieves: Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2015). His articles have been published in leading scholarly journals as well as The Nation, Middle East Report, The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Le Monde Diplomatique, and others. He has appeared on Al-Jazeera TV, BBC radio, National Public Radio, and many other TV and radio programs throughout North America, and in France, Egypt, Singapore, and Australia, and has given frequent interviews to the global media. In 2002, he served as President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America.


  • Kahn-Van Slyke Award for Distinguished Graduate Mentoring, Department of History, Stanford University, 2016
  • Mentoring Award of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, 2018.

The modern social histories of Egypt, Israel and Palestine have been my principal research areas. However, my interests are broad and eclectic. My intellectual profile has been formed by engagement with political economy, cultural studies, and comparative empire studies. At Stanford I have taught a broad range of courses from the rise of Islam to the present.



Workers and Thieves: Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2015)

Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa; co-edited with Frédéric Vairel (Stanford University Press, 2011; 2nd edition 2013)

The Struggle for Worker Rights in Egypt (Solidarity Center, 2010); Arabic translation Solidarity Center, 2010.

The Struggle for Sovereignty: Palestine and Israel, 1993-2005 (Stanford University Press, 2006); co-edited with Rebecca L. Stein

Workers and Peasants in the Modern Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2001)

The Dispersion of Egyptian Jewry: Culture, Politics, and the Formation of a Modern Diaspora(University of California Press, 1998); Arabic translation, Cairo: Dar al-Shuruq, 2007

Political Islam: Essays from Middle East Report (University of California Press, 1996); co-edited with Joe Stork

Was the Red Flag Flying There? Marxist Politics and the Arab-Israeli Conflict in Egypt and Israel, 1948-1965 (University of California Press, 1990). Arabic translation: al-`Alam al-ahmar: hal kana yurafrif hunak? al-siyasat al-markisiyya wa'l-niza` al-`arabi al-isra'ili (Cairo: Dar al-Thaqafa al-Jadida, 1996)

Intifada: The Palestinian Uprising Against Israeli Occupation (South End Press, 1989); co-edited with Zachary Lockman

Workers on the Nile: Nationalism, Communism, Islam and the Egyptian Working Class, 1882-1954 (Princeton University Press, 1987); co-authored with Zachary Lockman. Arabic translation: al-`Ummal wa'l-haraka al-siyasiyya fi misr: al-wataniyya, al-shuyu`iyya, al-islamiyya , 2 vols. (Cairo: Markaz al-Buhuth al-`Arabiyya, 1992, 1996). 2 nd edition: American University in Cairo Press (1998)

Other publications:

“Arab Liberal Intellectuals and the Partition of Palestine,” in Partitions: A Transnational History of 20th Century Territorial Separatism, Arie Dubnov and Laura Robson eds. (Stanford University Press, 2019), 203-23.

It’s not all about the Benjamins. It’s about the empire too.” Middle East Report Online, Feb. 19, 2019.

“Egypt and its Jews: The Specter of an Absent Minority,” in Laura Robson (ed.), Minorities and the Modern Arab World: New Perspectives (Syracuse University Press, 2016)

“Égypte: Cosmopolites et juifs du pays,” Qantara, 95 (no. 2, Spring 2015):35-38 

“Les ouvriers et les soulèvements arabes de 2011,” Le Mouvement Social (forthcoming 2014)

“Les transformations de la question sociale en Égypte : mouvement ouvrier, luttes syndicales et processus révolutionnaire,” in Soulèvements populaires et recompositions politiques dans le Monde arabe, Michel Camau and Frédéric Vairel, eds. with Marie Duboc (forthcoming).

“Communism,” Encyclopedia of Islam Three, (forthcoming)

“The Middle East and North Africa Beyond Classical Social Movement Theory,” (with Frédéric Vairel) and “A Workers’ Social Movement on the Margin of the Global Neoliberal Order, Egypt 2004-2012” (with Marie Duboc) in Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa, 2nd ed. (Stanford University Press, 2013).

“Intellectuals, Socialists, Capitalists and Bi-Nationalism in Mandate Palestine,” Association for Jewish Studies Perspectives, Spring 2013

“Mixing, Separation, and Violence in Urban Spaces and the Rural Frontier in Palestine,” Arab Studies Journal 21 (no. 1, Spring 2013): 10-43.

“Strikes in Egypt Spread from Center of Gravity,” with Hossam el-Hamalawy, in David McMurray and Amanda Ufheil-Somers (eds.) The Arab Revolts: Dispatches on Militant Democracy in the Middle East (Indiana University Press, 2013), 83-99.

“Les ouvriers égyptiens et le 25 janvier: contexte historique d’un mouvement social,” Cahiers de l’Orient no. 108 (Winter, 2012):97-114.

“The Left, the Jews and Defenders of Israel: A Review Essay,” Middle East Report Online, August, 2012.

“Egyptian Workers and January 25th: A Social Movement in Historical Context,” Social Research 79 (no. 2, Summer 2012):323-48.

“The Rise of Egypt’s Workers,” Carnegie Papers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,” June 2012 (Arabic version: “Su‘ud ‘ummal misr”).

“The Working Class and the Popular Movement in Egypt,” in Jeannie Sowers (ed.), The Journey to Tahrir: Revolution, Protest and Social Change in Egypt, 1999-2011 (Verso, 2012), 92-106.

“Soziale Bewegungen und der »Arabische Frühling«: Rolle der ägyptischen Arbeiterbewegungi” in Asiye Öztürk (ed.), Arabische Zeitenwende. Aufstand und Revolution in der arabischen Welt  (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2012), 76-85.

“North American Colleges and Universities and BDS,” in Audrea Lim (ed.), The Case for Sanctions Against Israel (Verso, 2012), 61-75.

“The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and the Arab Awakening,” Palestine-Israel Journal 18 (no. 1, 2012):52-60.

“Workers and Egypt’s January 25th Revolution,” International Labor and Working Class History 80 (no. 1, 2011):189-96.

“The Middle East and North Africa Beyond Classical Social Movement Theory,” and “Afterword” (with Frédéric Vairel) and “A Workers’ Social Movement on the Margin of the Global Neoliberal Order, Egypt 2004-2009” in Social Movements, Mobilization, and Contestation in the Middle East and North Africa (Stanford University Press, 2011).

“The Struggle for Worker Rights in Egypt,” in Immanuel Ness, Amy Offner, and Chris Sturr (eds.) Real World Labor (Boston: Dollars and Sense, 2011)

“A Decade of the Neo-McCarthyite Assault on Middle East Studies,” Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace 4 (no.1, Fall 2010).

“The Karaites of Modern Egypt,” in Norman Stillman, ed. Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World (Brill 2010) Vol. 3, 108-13.

“Knowing the Other: Arabs, Islam, and the Western Cultural Tradition,” in Doing Race: 21 Essays for the 21st Century, Hazel Rose Markus and Paula M. L. Moya, eds. (Norton Press, 2010), 199-215.

“Egyptian Textile Workers: From Craft Artisans Facing European Competition to Proletarians Contending with the State,” in The Ashgate Companion to the History of Textile Workers, 1650-2000, Lex Heerma van Voss, et al, eds. (Ashgate Press, 2010), 172-97.

“Egyptian Workers from Arab Socialism to the Neo-Liberal Economic Order,” in Rabab El-Mahdi and Philip Marfleet, eds. Egypt: The Moment of Change, Zed Press, 2009), 68-86.

“Workers’ Protest in Egypt: Neo-Liberalism and Class Struggle in the 21st Century,” Social Movement Studies 8 (no. 4, Nov. 2009):449–454.

“Neo-Liberal Structural Adjustment, Political Participation and Political de-Mobilization in Egypt,” in Laura Guazzone and Daniela Pioppi (eds.), The Arab State and Neo-Liberal Globalization: The Restructuring of State Power in the Middle East (Ithaca Press, 2009), 19-46.

“Le Marxisme égyptien (1936-52): nationalisme, anti-impérialisme et réforme sociale,” Cahiers d’histoire: revue d’histoire critique, no. 105/106 (July-Dec. 2008):129-43.

“The New Global Economy and the Political Economy of Islamic Social Movements,” Wujhat Nazr (Cairo), Dec. 2008, 20-25 (in Arabic).

“The Egyptian Workers Movement in 2007,” in Hadjar Aouardji and Hélène Legeay (eds.), Chroniques égyptiennes/Egyptian Chronicles 2007 (Cairo: CEDEJ, 2008), 219-40.

“A New Economic Era: Gauging the Winners and Losers,” Wujhat Nazr (Cairo), July 2008, 4-8 (in Arabic).

“Essor et déclin du paradigme marxiste/nationaliste de gauche dans Le Moyen-Orient Arabe,” Cahiers d’histoire: revue d’histoire critique, no. 104 (avril-juin 2008):169-88.

“Anti-Semitism: The Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia,” in Peter N. Stearns, eds., Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World: 1750 to the Present (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

“The New McCarthyism: Policing Thought about the Middle East” in Academic Freedom after 9/11, Beshara Doumani, ed., (Zone Press, 2006), 237-66; earlier version in Race & Class 46 (no. 1, July-September 2004):101-15.

“Egyptian Textile Workers in the Transition to a Neo-Liberal Order,” The Chronicles 1 (no. 3, Jan.-Mar. 2006):16-18.

“Forgetfulness for Memory: The Limits of the New Israeli History,” Journal of Palestine Studies35 (no. 2, winter 2005):6-23.

“Political Islam and the New Global Economy: The Political Economy of an Egyptian Social Movement,” The New Centennial Review 5 (no. 1, spring 2005):111-39.

“Jews as Native Iraqis: An Introduction,” Foreword to Nissim Rejwan’s The Last Jews inBaghdad” (University of Texas Press, 2004), xi-xxii.

“Imposed Normalization and Cultural Transgression: Cultural Politics in Egypt and Israel since the 1979 Peace Treaty,” in John Bunzl (ed.) In God's Name?Islam, Judaism and the Political Role of Religions in the Middle East (Florida Universities Press, 2004), 137-55.

“The Karaites in Modern Egypt,” in Meira Polliack (ed.), Karaite Judaism: A Guide to its History and Literary Sources (Brill Press, 2003), 417-30.

“The United States-Israeli Alliance,” in Tony Kushner and Alisa Solomon (eds.) Wrestling with Zion: Progressive Jewish American Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Grove Atlantic Press, 2003), 41-50.

“Middle East Studies after September 11: Presidential Address to the Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association of North America,” MESA Bulletin 37 (no. 1, Summer 2003):2-18

“The Israelization of American Middle East Policy Discourse,” Social Text 21 (no. 2, summer 2003):125-39

“Is Terrorism a Useful Term in Understanding the Middle East and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict?” Radical History Review no. 85 (winter 2003):12-23.

“Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Jewish Community in Egypt, 1939 to the Present,” Hagar: International Social Science Review 3 (no. 1, 2002):51-66.

“Late Capitalism and the Reformation of the Working Classes in the Middle East” in Histories of the Modern Middle East: New Directions, Israel Gershoni, Hakan Erdem, and Ursula Wökek eds., (Lynne Rienner Press, 2002).

“The Jewish Business Elite in Twentieth Century Egypt: Pillars of the National Economy or Compradors?” Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies 1 (no. 2, Autumn 1999):113-38.

“Remapping the West: Teaching the Middle East in World and Western Civilization Courses,” (revised version; original in AHA Perspectives, December 1992) in Perspectives on Teaching Innovations: World and Global History (American Historical Association, 1999):55-62.

“The Working Class and Peasantry in the Middle East: From Economic Nationalism to Neoliberalism,” Middle East Report no. 210 (Spring 1999):18-22.

“Palestine and Israel: Perils of a Neoliberal, Repressive, Pax Americana,” Social Justice 25 (no. 4, 1998):20-39.

“Society and Economy, 1923-1952,” in The Cambridge History of Egypt, M.W. Daly ed., (Cambridge University Press, 1998) 2:309-33.

“Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Movement” and “Egyptian Revolts (1880-1919)” in The Encyclopedia of Political Revolutions (Congressional Quarterly Books, 1998):149-51.

“Political Economy and Public Culture in a State of Constant Conflict: 50 Years of Jewish Statehood,” Jewish Social Studies 4 (no. 3, 1998):96-141.

“The Israeli Peace Movement” (review essay), Middle East Report no. 205 (Oct.-Dec. 1997):45-46.

“I am Jewish because I am Egyptian.  I am Egyptian because I am Jewish.” (interview with Jacques Hassoun), MERIP Newsletter (Winter 1997):2-3.

“The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict after Oslo” (review essay), Middle East Report no. 201 (Oct.-Dec. 1996):45-47.

“Nazis and Spies: Representations of Israeli Espionage and Terrorism in Egypt,” Jewish Social Studies 2 (no. 3, 1996):54-84.

“On the Modernity, Historical Specificity and International Context of Political Islam” (co-author, Joe Stork), in Joel Beinin and Joe Stork (eds.), Political Islam: Essays from Middle East Report (University of California Press, 1996):3-31.

“Egyptian Jewish Identities: Communitarianisms, Nationalisms, Nostalgias,” Stanford Humanities Review 5 (no. 1, 1995):92-119; reprinted in Goshen: Bulletin des juifs d’Egypte en Israël no. 16 (January 2000):14-22.

“Law, Ideology, and Social Change in Israel: Response to Roselle Tekiner,” Contention 4 (no. 2, Winter 1995):175-81.

“The Holocaust and the Politics of Memory” (review essay) Radical History Review no. 60 (Fall 1994):217-23.

“Writing Class: Workers and Modern Egyptian Colloquial Poetry (Zajal),” Poetics Today 15 (no. 2, Summer 1994):191-215.

“Arms Transfers, the New Structure of U.S. Hegemony, and Prospects for Democratic Development in the Gulf,” in War and its Consequences: Lessons from the Persian Gulf Conflict, John O'Loughlin, Thomas Meyer, and Edward S. Greenberg, eds. (HarperCollins, 1994):87-104; partial German translation in Inamo: Berichte & Analysen zu Politik und Gesellschaft des Nahen und Mittleren Ostens 2 (Winter 1996):8-11.

“Will the Real Egyptian Working Class Please Stand Up?” in Workers and Working Classes in the Middle East: Struggles, Histories, Historiographies, Zachary Lockman, ed. (State University of New York Press, 1994), 247-70.

“Becoming a Jew without Borders,” Stanford Humanities Review 3 (no. 1, 1993):137-42.

“Gamal Abdel Nasser” and “Nasserism” in Oxford Companion to Politics of the World (Oxford University Press, 1993):612-14.

“Jawanib min al-muqawama al-madaniyya al-misriyya: Markaz Ibn Khaldun” [Aspects of civil resistance in Egypt," translation of a review article from Middle East Report No. 179], al-Mujtama‘ al-madani no. 13 (January 1993):42-43.

“Money, Media and Strategic Consensus: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy,” Middle East Report, no. 180 (January-February 1993):10-15; Arabic translation in Ru'a mughayyira no. 1 (Feb. 1997):30-38.

"New History, New Politics: A Revisionist Historical View," in The Struggle for Peace: Israelis and Palestinians, Elizabeth W. Fernea and Mary E. Hocking, eds. (University of Texas Press, 1992), 80-86.

“Exile and Political Activism: The Egyptian-Jewish Communist Emigrés in Paris, 1950-1959” Diaspora 2 (no. 1, 1992):73-94.

“Yanayir 1977: al-tabaqa al-‘amila wa'l-yasar al-misri” [January 1977: The Working Class and the Egyptian Left], in Ishkaliyyat al-takwin al-ijtima‘i wa'l-fikriyyat al-sha‘biyya fi misr: buhuth wa-munaqashat al-nadwa al-muhdah ila Ahmad Sadiq Sa‘d, 3-5 mayu 1990 (Nicosia: Dar Ibal, 1992):305-16.

“1919: Labor Upsurge and National Revolution,” chapter from Workers on the Nile, in The Modern Middle East: A Reader, Albert Hourani, Philip Khoury and Mary Wilson, eds. (I.B. Tauris, 1992; University of California Press, 1994):395-428.

“Egypt and its Jews: The Specter of an Absent Minority,” in Laura Robson (ed.), Minorities and the Modern Arab World: New Perspectives (Syracuse University Press, 2016).