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Sami Jiryis Sweis

Assistant Professor of International Studies

Offices & Programs


BA - Centre College, History and Government (2010)
MA - The University of Chicago, Middle Eastern Studies (2012)
PhD - The University of Chicago, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (2020)


Sami Jiryis Sweis joined the Centre College faculty in 2018. He is Assistant Professor of International Studies.

He is a historian specializing in the history of  Arab nationalism and the transregional politics of the Arabian Peninsula during the 19th and 20th centuries.  His dissertation focuses on the political evolution of the Hashemite dynasty, a family of Arab Ottoman notables in Mecca, and examines the intersections of their imperial and cultural identities–loyalty to the Ottoman Empire, aspirations for an Arab Caliphate, and the Arabization of the Islamic faith–during the 1916-1918 Arab Revolt.

Besides his doctoral research, Sweis also studies and teaches on the history of Islamic civilization, the development of the Modern Middle East, and the history of non-Muslim communities in the Islamic world.  In particular he specializes on the history of the British Mandates of Transjordan and its development into the independent Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan with a focus on state-tribe relations.

Before arriving at Centre College, Sweis taught history and Arabic language courses at the University of Chicago and at The University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.

Sweis received a B.A. in history and government from Centre College in 2010 and a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at the University of Chicago in 2012, and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations.


  • Elementary Arabic
  • Intermediate Arabic
  • Arabic Literature and Culture
  • Middle East History and Society
  • World War I in the Middle East
  • The Colonial Middle East

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