Dr Hana Sleiman

Lecturer in Modern Middle Eastern History


I am a historian of the modern Middle East whose research focuses on on the history of historiography in the Levant, with a focus on archive building and record keeping in the twentieth century. Before joining the University of Edinburgh, I was an Early Career Research Fellow in History at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge (2020-2022).

My PhD dissertation, completed in May 2021, is titled “History Writing and History Making in Twentieth-Century Beirut”. I earned an MA from Columbia University (2013) working on archive creation and appropriation in modern Palestinian history. This project resulted in an article published in the Arab Studies Journal and an exhibition at the Qalandiya International biennale, Beirut.

My archival work focuses on visual culture and oral history archives. Previously, I was Special Collections Librarian at the American University of Beirut Archives (2014 – 2016), working on the Constantine Zurayk Archive and co-leading the Palestinian Oral History Archive.  I currently serve on the BL’s Endangered Archives Programme’s Advisory Panel.

Responsibilities & affiliations


Deputy Programme Director, MSc in History (on- campus)


External Affiliations:

  • British Society for Middle East Studies (BRISMES), Council Member
  • Endangered Archives Programme, the British Library, Member of Advisory Panel
  • Arab Oral History Archive, American University of Beirut, Affiliate Researcher
  • Institute for Palestine Studies, Senior Fellow
  • Arab Council for the Social Sciences, Member.

Undergraduate teaching

Revolution and Reform in the Modern Middle East (HIST10489) - Honours elective

Historical Skills & Methods II (Posters of Global Solidarity pathway)

Global Connections since 1450, Middle East Nationalisms

Postgraduate teaching

The Politics of History in the Arabic-Speaking World (c.1750-present)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary


  • Mediterranean
  • Near East


  • Gender
  • Ideas
  • Material Culture


  • Nineteenth Century
  • Twentieth Century & After

Research interests

I am interested in how knowledge production in the humanities and the social sciences has shaped the modern Arab world, focusing on twentieth-century Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

As a historian—and previously an archivist—I have maintained a long-standing interest in the construction of archives and meta-narratives in the modern history of the Eastern Mediterranean. This interest has materialised in published writing, exhibitions, and archive-building projects.

My book project History Writing and History Making in Twentieth Century Beirut retraces Beirut’s historiographical ecosystem in the twentieth century. It interrogates the professions of record keeping and history writing and the dichotomous and gendered nature in which they were developed.

My upcoming project follows the development of this historical thought in the world of publishing radical children’s books starting the 1970s. It retraces the career of Dar al-Fata al-Arabi, a revolutionary publishing house based in Beirut and Cairo, which produced anti-colonial children’s books widely read across the Arab world.

Project activity

History Writing and History Making in Twentieth Century Beirut (book project)

Dar al-Fata al-Arabi Oral History Archive (part of the American University of Beirut's The Arab Oral History Archive: Gender, Alternative Histories, and the Production of Knowledge)

Sleiman, Hana. ‘History as a Cautionary Tale’. History of the Present (Champaign, Ill.) 13, no. 1 (2023): 133–35. https://doi.org/10.1215/21599785-10253369.

———. ‘L’histoire par omission: Des archives perdues, pillées, détruites’. In Ce que la Palestine apporte au monde. Araborama. Paris: Éditions du Seuil : Institut du monde arabe, 2023.

———. ‘The Paper Trail of a Liberation Movement’. Arab Studies Journal 24, no. 1 (2016): 42–67.

Sleiman, Hana, and Kaoukab Chebaro. ‘Narrating Palestine: The Palestinian Oral History Archive Project’. Journal of Palestine Studies 47, no. 2 (2018): 63–76. https://doi.org/101525/jps.2018.47.2.63.

Sleiman, Hana, and Nadi Abusaada. ‘Atlas of Palestine 1871-1877’. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 155, no. 2 (3 April 2023): 177–82. https://doi.org/10.1080/00310328.2023.2201077.


Non Academic Writing:

Sleiman, Hana & Girma, Beza. ‘The Place Is Not the Place’. The Derivative, 2022. https://thederivative.org/the-place-is-not-the-place/.

Sleiman, Hana. 'Three Palestines (or more)'. History Workshop. 7 September, 2023. https://www.historyworkshop.org.uk/museums-archives-heritage/three-palestines-or-more/