Heather J. Sharkey

Photo Of Heather J. Sharkey Standing On College Green

Department ChairProfessor of Modern Middle Eastern and North African History

835 Williams Hall

Heather J. Sharkey is a historian in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations specializing in the study of the modern Middle East and North Africa. Her seminars cover the study of colonial and postcolonial history; nationalism; imperialism; Muslim, Christian, and Jewish relations; food studies and culinary history; migration and mobility; and the history of the University of Pennsylvania and its scholars in the Middle East and the wider world.  She holds degrees from Yale (Anthropology, BA), the University of Durham, England (Middle Eastern Studies, MPhil), and Princeton (History, PhD). She has received many fellowships, including the Marshall, Fulbright-Hays, and Carnegie. 

Sharkey has published six books. These are Living with Colonialism: Nationalism and Culture in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan (University of California Press, 2003); American Evangelicals in Egypt: Missionary Encounters in an Age of Empire (Princeton University Press, 2008); American Missionaries in the Modern Middle East: Foundational Encounters, edited with Mehmet Ali Doğan (University of Utah Press, 2011); Cultural Conversions: Unexpected Consequences of Christian Missionary Encounters in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, edited solo (Syracuse University Press, 2013); A History of Muslims, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2017); and The Changing Terrain of Religious Freedom, edited with Jeffrey Edward Green (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021). She has co-edited special issues of the Canadian Journal of African Studies/Revue canadienne des études africaines on the theme of “Rethinking Sudan Studies” (2015); and the Journal of Presbyterian History on the theme of “The Dynamics of Indigenization: Presbyterian and Reformed Histories on the World Stage” (2021). In addition, Sharkey has published articles in dozens of journals, edited volumes, academic blogs, and reference works. She serves on the editorial boards of several journals and on the advisory board of the Edinburgh University Press series on Middle Eastern Christianity.  She also serves as editor of a book series that she initiated: "Food and Foodways in the Middle East, North Africa, and Their Diasporas," from Edinburgh University Press.