I am interested in the social and cultural life of the modern Middle East. Specifically, I look at how historically resonant markers of identity in Arab and Islamic societies (e.g., genealogy, religious affiliation) have been updated or transformed in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I try and understand what happens when oral and/or nomadic traditions meet the "high" textual culture of urban Islamic life under conditions of modern state formation.
"A Guest on this Earth: Humām al-Balawī and the Birth of Jihadist Fiction," The Hedgehog Review, no. 1 (2017): forthcoming.
"Daʿwa, Dynasty, and Destiny in the Arab Gulf," Comparative Studies in Society and History, no. 4 (2016): 935-954.
Of Sand or Soil: Genealogy and Tribal Belonging in Saudi Arabia (Princeton University Press, 2015).
-2016 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize, First Runner-Up.
“Our Ancestors, Our Heroes: Saudi Tribal Campaigns to Suppress Historical Docudramas,” British Journal of Middle East Studies, no. 3 (2014): 266-286.
“The Bleak Romance of Tahliya Street” (with P. Menoret), Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, no. 2 (2013): 213-228.
“Kafāʾa fī l-Nasab in Saudi Arabia: Islamic Law, Tribal Custom, and Social Change,” Journal of Arabian Studies, no. 2 (2012): 109-126.
Works in Progress
Wahhabism Beyond the Text (monograph).