Khalidi, Rashid I(Smail) 1948-
Khalidi, Rashid I(Smail) 1948-
PERSONAL: Born November 18, 1948, in New York, NY; son of Ismail Raghib (a diplomat) and Selwa (Jeha) Khalidi; married Mona Tadros (a university administrator), December 14, 1972; children: Lamya, Dima, Ismail. Ethnicity: Middle Eastern Education: Yale University, B.A., 1970; Oxford University, D.Phil., 1974. Politics: Democrat.
CAREER: Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon, assistant professor of history, 1974-77; American University in Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon, assistant professor, 1976-83, associate professor, 1983-85; Columbia University, New York, NY, associate professor, 1985-87; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, associate professor, 1987-95, professor of modern Middle Eastern history, 1995-2002, associate director of Center for Middle Eastern Studies, 1988-91, director of Center for International Studies, 1991-95; Columbia University, New York, NY, director of Middle East Institute and Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies, 2003-. Adjunct professor of Arab politics, Georgetown University, 1983-84. Guest on radio and television programs, including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Nightline, and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Center for Palestine Research and Studies, trustee, 1995; member of American Committee on Jerusalem, 1997; American Foundation for Jerusalem University, secretary, 1998.
MEMBER: Middle East Studies Association (member of board of directors, 1988-91; president, 1993-94), American Historical Association, Arab American University Graduates.
AWARDS, HONORS: Ford Foundation grant, 1983-84; Woodrow Wilson International Center fellowship, 1984-85; American Research Center in Egypt fellowship, 1987; Fulbright scholar, 1991-93; Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio fellowship, 1995; Albert Hourani Book Award, Middle East Studies Association, 1997, for Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness.
British Policy toward Syria and Palestine, 1906-1914, Ithaca Press, 1980.
(Editor, with Camille Mansour) Palestine and the Gulf, Institute for Palestine Studies (Beirut, Lebanon), 1982.
Under Siege: P.L.O. Decision-making during the 1982 War, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1986.
(Coeditor) The Origins of Arab Nationalism, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1991.
Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East, Beacon Press (Boston, MA), 2004.
Member of advisory board, Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East. Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, Boston Globe, and Nation.
SIDELIGHTS: Rashid I. Khalidi is a noted Middle East scholar who has attracted considerable attention because of his criticism of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Khalidi was born in New York City, where his father, a Palestinian, worked at the United Nations. His mother was Lebanese, and he grew up hearing ongoing discussion of world events over the daily meals. "My father worked in the political and Security Council affairs division of the Secretariat," he was quoted as saying in a New York Times profile by Chris Hedges. "We would often begin by talking about what happened in the Security Council that day. I learned to see the difference between what we knew to be true and what was reported to be true." Khalidi later spent a few years living in Libya with his family and then returned to the United States to study at Yale University, where future U.S. president George W. Bush was also a student at the time. Moving on to Oxford University for his doctorate, Khalidi wrote his thesis on British policy in Syria before World War I. He lived in Lebanon for some time, but eventually left because of the ongoing civil war. He returned to the United States to teach Middle East history at the University of Chicago and at Columbia University.
Khalidi's in-depth knowledge of Middle Eastern history affords him special insight into modern tensions in the region. He spoke out against a U.S. invasion of Iraq, believing that U.S. troops there would not be welcomed as liberators any more than were the British troops who came with a similarly stated purpose in the early twentieth century. Khalidi has also spoken out about unfair treatment of the Palestinian people, who were driven from their ancestral lands in 1948 so that the state of Israel might be established. World War II and the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust were fresh in the public consciousness, and the sufferings of the Palestinians were frequently ignored in an attempt to establish a sanctuary for the many European Jews who fled to Palestine in the aftermath of the war. Khalidi details the history and development of Palestinian nationalism in his book Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness.
Geoffrey D. Schad, a reviewer for Middle East Policy. noted in his review of Palestinian Identity that discussing Palestinian nationalism is "a project fraught with perils both political and analytical." Despite this, Schad credited Kahlidi with providing "a substantial understanding of the roots of this nationalism and of why its claims must be considered in any solution of this conflict." Benny Morris, writing in Israel Studies, found some flaws in the book, but he also noted that it "is chockfull of interesting facts and quotations, and is refreshing because of the kernel of intellectual honesty at its core. One senses a real effort to avoid propaganda, and the book contains a measure of criticism of the successive Palestinian national leaderships."
In Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East Khalidi offers readers a better understanding of how historical forces, many of them influenced by the United States and other Western nations, have combined to create the modern Middle East. Most of these historical trends are unknown to average Americans, Khalidi notes. "There are all sorts of accepted wisdoms about the Middle East that are not true," he was quoted as saying in the New York Times. "There is little awareness of the long liberal and democratic movements, especially in the 20's and 30's, the way the Western powers sabotaged these movements in places like Egypt and Iran. We assume Iraqis do not have a national identity or that they are uncivilized, forgetting that they established a legal code 3,800 years ago, when most Europeans were illiterate. We need to learn a little humility and a little history."
Reviewing Resurrecting Empire in Reason, Michael Young faulted the author as being "unimaginative when it comes to seeing the possible advantages of American power in the Middle East." Other reviewers assessed the book more positively. Library Journal contributor Nader Entessar found it to be "highly readable, robustly argued, and timely," while Warren I. Cohen, a contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review, mused in his review: "Confronting the question of why the United States is so unpopular in the Middle East, Khalidi insists it is not because of who we are. Many of the region's people admire American freedom and democracy and yearn to have it for themselves. Their hostility derives from misguided American policies and these can be changed."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Arab Studies Quarterly, summer, 1994, Salwa Ismail, review of The Origins of Arab Nationalism, p. 86.
Chicago Sun-Times, January 29, 2003, "Two Professors Leaving U. of C.," p. 4.
Foreign Affairs, May-June, 1997, William B. Quandt, review of Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness, p. 141.
International Migration Review, winter, 1998, Joseph Chamie, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 1090.
Israel Studies, spring, 1998, Benny Morris, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 266.
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, October, 1999, Ann M. Lesch, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 747.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 1997, Sanford R. Silverburg, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 76; March 1, 2004, review of Resurrecting Empire: Western Footprints and America's Perilous Path in the Middle East, p. 211.
Library Journal, May 15, 2004, Nader Entessar, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. 101.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, September 5, 2004, Warren I. Cohen, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. R4.
Middle Eastern Studies, July, 2000, Baruch Kimmerling, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 250.
Middle East Policy, February, 1999, Geoffrey D. Schad, review of Palestinian Identity, p. 196.
New York Times, April 20, 2004, "Casting Mideast Violence in Another Light," p. B2; July 14, 2004, Ivo H. Daalder, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. E8.
Reason, January, 2005, Michael Young, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. 50.
Tikkun, November-December, 2004, J. C. Meters, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. 75.
Washington Post, May 13, 2004, Philip Kennicott, review of Resurrecting Empire, p. C1.