6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.-Middle East Relations in the 1970s

Salim Yaqub argues that the 1970s were a pivotal decade in U.S.-Arab relations—a time when each society came to feel profoundly vulnerable to the political, economic, cultural, and physical encroachments of the other. Such perceptions aroused sharp antagonism between the United States and the Arab world. Meanwhile, however, elements of the U.S. intelligentsia grew more respectful of Arab perspectives, and Arab Americans became more visible and accepted. These patterns left a contradictory legacy of estrangement and accommodation that remains with us today.

Salim Yaqub is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Director of UCSB’s Center for Cold War Studies and International History. He is the author of Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine and the Middle East (University of North Carolina, 2004) and of several articles and book chapters on U.S. involvement in the Middle East. His second book, Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.-Middle East Relations in the 1970s, was published by Cornell University Press in September 2016.

The seminar is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center. It meets weekly during the academic year. See www.nationalhistorycenter.org for the schedule, speakers, topics, and dates as well as webcasts and podcasts. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.


  • Salim Yaqub

    Associate Professor of History, University of California, Santa Barbara