Matthew H. Ellis is a Professor of History at Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, NY), where he holds the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation Chair in Middle Eastern Studies and International Affairs. A graduate of Williams College (BA History, 2003), the University of Oxford (MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies, 2005), and Princeton University (Ph.D. History, 2012), Dr. Ellis specializes in the social, intellectual, and cultural history of the modern Middle East. His first book, Desert Borderland: The Making of Modern Egypt and Libya (Stanford University Press, 2018), examines the impact of various state-making projects on local experiences of place and belonging in the desert region linking Egypt and Libya during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
His broader intellectual and teaching interests include: the politics and culture of nationalism, modernity and identity formation in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Arab world, cities and imagined urbanism, nostalgia and the politics of collective memory, popular culture, the historiography of borderlands, comparative British and French empires, and the history of mass media and propaganda. He has published articles in The International Journal of Middle East Studies and History Compass, and contributed a chapter to The Long 1890s in Egypt: Colonial Quiescence, Subterranean Resistance (Edinburgh University Press, 2014).
Ellis has received several fellowships supporting his research, including grants from Fulbright, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Research Center in Egypt. Most recently, Ellis was the recipient of the Paul Mellon/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Rome Prize, awarded by the American Academy in Rome for the 2020-21 academic year.