History Department
History Department

Christopher S. Rose

LecturerPhD, History, The University of Texas at Austin

Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer
Christopher S. Rose


  • Phone: 512-475-9515
  • Office: GAR 4.118
  • Office Hours: T 1-1:50, W 10-11 in GAR 3.102, and by appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: B7000


19th and 20th century Egypt & Eastern Mediterranean; social history of public health & disease; history and development of Cairo; food history.


Christopher S. Rose is a historian of the nineteenth and twentieth century Middle East. He earned his doctorate in History from the University of Texas at Austin (UT) in May 2019.

He is a postdoctoral fellow with the Institute for Historical Studies at UT for the 2019-20 year. He is currently (Spring 2020) teaching a course called "World War I: The Colonial Experience" in the Department of History at UT.

Chris has also taught as an adjunct instructor in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas, and as an Assistant Instructor for the UT's Department of Middle Eastern Studies.

Research Interests

His dissertation, On the Home Front: Food, Medicine, and Disease in World War I Egypt, addressed a notable gap in Egyptian history, yielding a wealth of information about the impact of World War I (1914-1918) on the Egyptian civilian population. He is using the postdoctoral year to begin moving his research trajectory from the dissertation’s focus on Egypt to examine transnational connections throughout the Eastern Mediterranean in the monograph, tentatively titled Home Front Egypt: Famine, Disease, and Death during the Great War. Beyond that, he is exploring the broader global colonial experience of the First World War for a second project.

Home Front Egypt analyzes how price control systems intended to ensure an adequate supply of food for the population during the war were neutralized by requisitions of labor and foodstuffs, a situation that resulted in inflation, food shortages, and starvation among civilians. Using demographic and statistical data, Chris argues that malnutrition facilitated the rapid spread of disease throughout the country, killing more people than military action. This culminated in the influenza pandemic of 1918, which on its own claimed over 150,000 lives -- over one percent of Egypt's population (an article about the pandemic in Egypt is forthcoming in the Journal of World History).

His work contextualizes civilian suffering as a “social event,” contending that economic and political consequences of health and disease must be considered as factors in the history of post-war Egypt. When taking these into account as underlying factors of discontent, historians can develop a more complete answer to the question of why the peasantry--usually (if simplistically) considered an apolitical demographic--participated in the nationalist uprising in the spring of 1919.

His other interests include the formative period of Islam from Muhammad until the rise of the Umayyads; the history and development of Fustat/Cairo; Islamic North Africa and Spain (al-Andalus); and the spread of cultural traits outward from the Middle East through trade networks (Silk Route, Mediterranean, Atlantic).


He has taught surveys covering most of the history of the Middle East—from the rise of Islam to the present day—in addition to an introductory survey for the Global Studies program at St. Edward's, and a course on Modern Egypt using literature in translation as the primary course texts. He also designed and taught a comparative global course on terrorism and extremism for St. Edward’s, and is currently developing a course “World War I: The Colonial Experience” for the spring 2020 semester at UT.

In his relatively short teaching career, he has mentored students who have received a variety of accolades and awards, including Boren and Fulbright fellowships. He is also writing a popular series of blog posts called the Grad School Survival Guide (mentioned in episode 77 of Jeremi Suri's This is Democracy podcast!)

Public Scholarship

He is active as a public historian; being a founding co-host of the podcast 15 Minute History, and is immediate past-president (2018 - 2020) of the Middle East Outreach Council.

Chris also has significant experience in educator training, particularly working with world history and world geography educators. He has conducted numerous professional development sessions for educators, co-written several curriculum units for K-12 classrooms, and escorted numerous groups of educators to the Middle East.

He has extensive experience traveling in the Middle East, including Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Uzbekistan and the West Bank, and has done archival work in the UK, the US, and Switzerland.  He speaks Egyptian Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, and Spanish, and reads French and Portuguese.

When not nerding out in archives and contemplating the power implications of knowledge production, he enjoys food, wine, photography, and scratching cats behind the ears.


HIS 366N • World War I: The Colonial Expe

38880 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 1.126
GC (also listed as AFR 374E, ANS 361)

World War I has been described as a “total war,” one in which civilian as well as military populations were expected to participate. However, the war was not just between European nation-states, but also between imperial powers, who drew on the natural and human resources of their colonial holdings for the war effort. British Egypt, Ottoman Syria, and German East and Southwest Africa saw military action in their own territories, while Indians and Indochinese were utilized as sources of both laborers for the front and fighting men by Britain and France in both colony and metropole.

This course will examine the impact of the total war on the colonies and colonial subjects. From the ways that resource provisioning triggered starvation and famine in the countries of the Mediterranean, the recruiting methods used by imperial powers to rally support for the war cause in the colonies, to the challenges of colonial concepts of race posed by Vietnamese soldiers in the streets of Paris, we’ll explore the global nature of World War I in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia.

We’ll end with a discussion of the so-called “Wilsonian moment,” and the tensions that resulted when promised nationalist aspirations were dashed at Versailles in 1919—tensions that would remain unresolved until after the Second World War and the beginning of decolonization. What had these nations-in-waiting expected to happen at Versailles, and why?

This class is appropriate for upper division undergraduates in history, area studies, and related fields; graduate students seeking to do a "bump-up" are welcome.

HIS F306K • Intro M East: Rel/Cul/Hist Fnd

83195 • Summer 2017
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 210
GC (also listed as MES F301K, R S F314K)

This course will focus on the history the Southwest Asia / North Africa region (commonly referred to as the “Middle East”) from the period from prior to the rise of Islam to the rise of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires in the 13th-15th centuries of the Christian Era (CE). Students will be introduced to the political, cultural, and social dimensions of the region framed against a historical narrative in three sections. Each section will feature a short writing component, quizzes, and an examination at the end.

This course will emphasize the concept of history-as-inquiry. High school history survey courses tend to teach history as a set of facts to which there are right answers and wrong answers. This course will not only examine what we know about the Southwest Asia / North Africa region during this pivotal period, but also to ask the questions of how we know what we know about it. What kinds of evidence exist to prove “what happened”? Are historians in agreement on this?

The first section will deal with the Rise of Islam and the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires. Islamic civilization will form a key component of our exploration of this region, and we will spend some time discussing key figures, concepts, and events in its development. Who was Muhammad? What is the Qur’an? What is the difference between Sunni and Shi’a, and when those differences appear?

The second section will look at Everyday Life in the Islamic World. Here, we will examine the lived experience of average people during this period. How did Muslims experience their faith on a practical level? What did one do for fun? What did people eat, and where? What did art and architecture look like? What happened in a medieval university? What did people do when they got sick? What was it like to be a non-Muslim living in these so-called “Islamic” states?

The third section will look at the period From the Abbasids to the Gunpowder Empires. Here, we will examine a couple of turbulent centuries that saw the fall of the Abbasid empire and the Umayyad state in Spain and the new powers that rose to their their places after the Crusades and Mongol invasions. We’ll also examine the impact of the Black Death and the arrival of the Turkic peoples in the region before examining the rise of the two so-called “Gunpowder Empires,” the Ottomans and Safavids.

Curriculum Vitae

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