Structures of Personalized Power in the Modern Middle East: Presidents, Prime Ministers and Party Bosses

2012 Levi Della Vida Award for Excellence in Islamic Studies, honoring the scholarship of Professor Roger Owen.

2012 Levi Della Vida Award

Roger Owen is currently the A.J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History at Harvard University and a former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the same university. He previously taught Middle East political and economic history at Oxford University where he was also many times the Director of the St. Antony's College Middle East Centre.

His books include: Cotton and the Egyptian Economy; The Middle East in the World Economy: 1800-1914; State, Power, and Politics in the Making of the Modern Middle East (3rd revised edition 2004); and Lord Cromer: Victorian Imperialist, Edwardian Proconsul. He is also the co-author (with Sevket Pamuk) of A History of the Middle East Economies in the Twentieth Century.

His most recent book, published by Harvard University Press in 2012, The Rise and Fall of Arab Presidents for Life, examines the origins and dynamics of the monarchical presidential regimes that largely defined the Arab Middle East in the twentieth century and which came to an end, effectively, with the revolutions of the "Arab Spring."

He has written a regular column for the Arabic newspaper, Al-Hayat, since the late 1980s.

Conference Podcasts

The Arab Dark Age, 1974-2011: Sociological Features of the Road to Revolution
A talk by Mohammed Bamyeh, University of Pittsburgh.


The Cult of Personality in the Arab World
A talk by Joseph Sassoon, Georgetown University/Oxford University.


Women, Democracy and Dictatorship
A talk by Sami Zubaida, Birbeck College, University of London.