Springing from a somewhat unorthodox and never legalized union between an Anglo-Irish petty lord and his governess, Thomas Edward Lawrence combined an elite Oxford education, wartime opportunity, and an impressive knack for self-promotion to emerge as one of the most famous characters of the Great War. Symbolic of Britain’s imperial ambitions in the Arab World, Lawrence successfully used his liberal arts education in history, archaeology, and Oriental Studies to provide key contributions to the negotiation process which shaped today’s Middle East. After the war, with the help of American journalist Lowell Thomas’ promotion efforts, Lawrence’s reputation grew steadily, until the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia” ensured a continuing mythical status.
Nabil Al-Tikriti received his doctorate in Ottoman History from the University of Chicago in 2004 and joined the UMW faculty the same year. Having previously earned a bachelor’s degree in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, he has also studied at Boğaziçi Üniversitesi in Istanbul, the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad in Cairo, and the American University in Cairo. Dr. Al-Tikriti is the recipient of several grants and scholarships, including two Fulbrights, a U.S. Institute of Peace Fellowship, and a NEH/American Research Institute in Turkey grant. A member of the MSF/Doctors Without Borders USA Board of Directors since 2011, he has also served as a consultant, election monitor, and relief worker at a number of field locations in Europe, Asia, and Africa. With scholarly interests that include Ottoman History, the modern Middle East, and Humanitarian Affairs, Prof. Al-Tikriti is primarily responsible for the University of Mary Washington’s offerings in Middle East History.