Heather J. Sharkey

Associate Professor



Heather J. Sharkey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC) at the University of Pennsylvania. 

She received her Ph.D. in History from Princeton University after conducting research abroad on a Fulbright-Hays fellowship. As the recipient of a Marshall scholarship from the British government, she earned an M.Phil. degree in Modern Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Durham in England.  She also earned a B.A. in Anthropology, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Yale University.  Before joining the Penn faculty in 2002, she taught at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Trinity College in Connecticut.


B.A., Yale Univ. (1990); M.Phil., Univ. of Durham (1992); Ph.D., Princeton Univ.(1997)


Arabic, French, German

Research Interests:

Modern Middle Eastern and African History; History of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Relations; Anglo-American Evangelical Missions; Nationalism, Colonialism, and Postcolonialism

Overseas Research Experience:

Egypt, Sudan, Israel, United Kingdom, Norway

Recent Publications:
  • American Evangelicals in Egypt: Missionary Encounters in an Age of Empire (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008)
  • Living with Colonialism: Nationalism and Culture in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003)
  • American Missionaries and the Middle East: Foundational Encounters, eds. Mehmet Ali Doğan and Heather J. Sharkey (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2011).
  • Unexpected Consequences of Christian Missions in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, ed. Heather J. Sharkey (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, forthcoming
  • Current project:  Identity and Community in the Modern Middle East, in preparation for Cambridge University Press.

The Middle East Through Many Lenses (NELC 036)

Food in the Islamic Middle East (NELC 235)

Migration in the Middle East (NELC 239)

Iraq, Egypt, Algeria: Case Studies from the Arab World (NELC 331/531)

North Africa: History, Culture, Society (NELC 332/632)

Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Relations: Historical Perspectives (NELC 335/535)

Nationalism and Communial Identity in the Middle East (NELC 336/536)