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Dr Peter Hill

VC Fellow

Department: Humanities

Peter is a historian of the modern Middle East, specialising in the Arab world in the long nineteenth century. His research focusses on political thought and practice, the politics of religion, and translation and intercultural exchanges. He also has a strong interest in comparative and global history.

Before joining Northumbria University in 2019, Peter was Junior Research Fellow at Christ Church, University of Oxford. He currently teaches on the modules 'Cultures, Structures and Ideas: Making Sense of Historical Concepts', and 'Humanities Portfolio: Skills for University'.

Peter's first book, Utopia and Civilisation in the Arab Nahda, will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2020. He has published a number of articles on translation and political thought in the Middle East, in journals such as Past & Present, the Journal of Arabic Literature, and Intellectual History Review.

Peter Hill

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Peter's main research interests are in the cultural and intellectual history of the Middle East in the long nineteenth century. He is also interested in global history and histories of capitalism, and in the place of the Middle East within wider historical processes.

Peter's monograph, published in 2020, is a study of the Arab literary and cultural 'revival' (Nahda), looking at the earlier phase of the movement in the 1830s-1870s. The book places the utopian imaginings of Arab intellectuals, in Beirut, Cairo, and Aleppo, within the contexts of expanding capitalism and the building of modern states. Peter has also published articles on literary aspects of the Nahda movement in journals such as PMLA and the Journal of Arabic Literature.

A related strand of his research is on the history of political ideas and forms in the Arab-Ottoman world, and their relationships with European and global trends in the 'age of revolutions' and mid-nineteenth century 'age of capital'. He has published articles on these themes in Past and Present and the Journal of Global History.

Peter has an interest in collaborative research into global history and histories of capitalism, which he has pursued through the Political Economy and  Culture in Global History project, which he co-convenes. He recently co-edited a virtual issue of Past and Present on 'Capitalism in Global History', which emerged from these discussions.

His current major project explores the changing notations of reason and religion in the nineteenth-century Arab-Ottoman world, via a microhistorical study of a Syrian notable and polymath and his changing religious views. This builds, in part, on his earlier work on the first translations into Arabic of European Enlightenment literature. He is a member of the British Society for Middle East Studies (BRISMES) and the Raymond Williams Society.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Mount Lebanon and Greece: Mediterranean Crosscurrents, 1821-1841, Hill, P. 7 Jan 2022, In: Historein
  • Asad Rustum and the Egyptian Occupation of Syria (1831-1841): Between Narratives of Modernity and Documentary Exactitude, Hill, P. 9 Dec 2021, In: Philological Encounters
  • How Global Was the Age of Revolutions? The Case of Mount Lebanon, 1821, Hill, P. 1 Mar 2021, In: Journal of Global History
  • Capitalism in Global History, Edwards, A., Hill, P., Neves-Sarriegui, J. Nov 2020
  • Utopia and Civilization in the Arab Nahda, Hill, P. 16 Jan 2020
  • Translation and the Globalisation of the Novel: Relevance and Limits of a Diffusionist Model, Hill, P. 1 May 2019, Migrating Texts, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press
  • The Arabic Adventures of Télémaque: Trajectory of a Global Enlightenment Text in the Nahdah, Hill, P. 4 Sep 2018, In: Journal of Arabic Literature
  • Arguing with Europe: Eastern Civilization versus Orientalist Exoticism, Hill, P. 22 Mar 2017, In: PMLA
  • Ottoman despotism and Islamic constitutionalism in Mehmed Ali's Egypt, Hill, P. 30 Oct 2017, In: Past and Present
  • Early translations of English fiction into Arabic: The Pilgrim's Progress and Robinson Crusoe, Hill, P. 1 Apr 2015, In: Journal of Semitic Studies


  • DPhil June 01 2016
  • MSt June 20 2012
  • BA (Hons) June 20 2010
  • Associate Fellow (AFHEA) Higher Education Academy (HEA) 2019

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