Keith David Watenpaugh

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Keith David Watenpaugh (October 8, 1966-) is Professor of Human Rights Studies at the University of California, Davis. A leading American historian of the contemporary Middle East, Human Rights, and modern Humanitarianism, he is an expert on the Armenian Genocide and its denial, and the role of the refugee in world history.[1]

Watenpaugh is founding director of the UC Davis Human Rights Studies Program, the first academic program of its kind in the University of California system.[2] He has been a leader of international efforts to address the needs of displaced and refugee university students and professionals, primarily those affected by the wars and civil conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.[3]


In addition to publishing in the American Historical Review, the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of Human Rights, Humanity, Social History, The Huffington Post and the Chronicle of Higher Education,[4] Watenpaugh is author of two major books, Being Modern in the Middle East: Revolution, Nationalism, and Colonialism and the Arab Middle Class. (Princeton: Princeton University Press 2006), and Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015).

He is co-editor of Karnig Panian's Goodbye, Antoura: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2015). Panian was an Armenian Genocide child survivor who was held in the Ottoman orphanage at Antoura, Lebanon, where he was subjected to violent attempts at Turkification. [5]

Refugee University Students and Scholars[edit]

Following the 2003 American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, he led the first investigation of conditions facing universities and research centers in Baghdad. His team's findings appear in “Opening Doors: Academic Conditions and Intellectual Life in Post-War Baghdad,”[6] which was highly critical of early American cultural and education policies in post-invasion Iraq, especially those adopted by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

Since 2013, Watenpaugh has directed a joint University of California, Davis-Institute of International Education project to assist refugee university students and scholars from the war in Syria. The project has documented how refugee higher education is neglected by traditional governmental and intergovernmental refugee agencies, and has proposed new methods and techniques for their assistance, including ways to increase their mobility.[7]

Awards and honors[edit]

Watenpaugh has been a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (2013),[8] a Senior Fellow in International Peace at the United States Institute of Peace (2008–2009)[9] and has served on the editorial board of the International Journal of Middle East Studies.[10] In addition, before joining the UC Davis faculty in 2006 he was the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Tanner Humanities Center, University of Utah (2005–2006).[11]

He has also had the Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, Social Science Research Council, Will Rogers and the American Academic Research Institute in Iraq fellowships; he was the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow in Middle East Studies at Williams College in 1998-2000.

His scholarship has won multiple awards from professional organizations, including the American Historical Association's Pacific Branch,[12] and his most recent book, Bread from Stones, is an Ahmanson Foundation Book in the Humanities.[13]

Selected Publications and Interviews[edit]

"A Fragile Glasnost on the Tigris" Middle East Report 228: Fall 2003.[1]

"Middle East Brain Drain," National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation - 11/22/2006 [2]

Being Modern in the Middle East. Princeton University Press, 2006. [3]

"The League of Nations' Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism, 1920-1927," American Historical Review, 115:5, (December 2010).[14]

"Syria's Lost Generation" Chronicle of Higher Education, (June, 2013).[15]

“We Will Stop Here and Go No Further: Syrian University Students and Scholars in Turkey” (2014)[16]

Ottoman History Podcast, Syrian University Students and the Impacts of War (2014)[17]

Bread From Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015)[18]

Ottoman History Podcast Interview with Chris Gratien The Middle East in the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (2015)[19]

"Why Trump’s Executive Order Is Wrongheaded and Reckless," Chronicle of Higher Education, (January, 2017) [4]


External links[edit]

Official Website