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Robert Vitalis

Fellow

    Term

    September 1, 2008 — May 1, 2009

    Professional affiliation

    Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

    Wilson Center Projects

    "The End of Empire in American Political Science"

    Full Biography

    I received my Ph.D. in political science from MIT in 1989. My graduate work included a three-year residence in Cairo where I studied Arabic and researched the political strategies of Egyptian business firms. My first book, When Capitalists Collide: Business Conflict and the End of Empire in Egypt, was published in 1995.The Organization of American Historians awarded me the Bernath Prize in 1996 for my work on Egypt's political economy. I joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and directed the US/ED Title VI National Resource Middle East Center between 2000 and 2006.I have continued to develop and expand the scope of my interests in historical comparative analysis in my second book, America's Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier, which was published in October 2006 by Stanford University Press, and named a book of the year in the London Guardian. Recent honors include fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation (2003), the International Center for Advanced Study, NYU (2002), and the American Council of Learned Societies (2002). I was a MacArthur Award nominee in 1998. My new book project, The End of Empire in American Political Science, moves away from the Middle East to explore the unwritten history of international relations, development, and area studies and to recover the African-American internationalist tradition. The second of my publications from this new project appeared under the title "Birth of a Discipline" in David Long and Brian Schmidt's edited volume, Imperialism and Internationalism in the Discipline of International Relations, from SUNY Press in 2005. It is a companion piece to my "The Graceful and Liberal Gesture: Marking Racism Invisible in American International Relations," in Millennium, published in September 2000.
     

    Education

    B.A. (1978) Political Science, State University of New York at Stony Brook; M.S (1984) Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ph.D. (1989) Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
     

    Experience

    • Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, July 2008–present
    • Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania, 1999-2008
    • Associate Professor of Government, Clark University, 1996-99
    • Assistant Professor of Government, Clark University, 1991-96
    • Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics, Princeton University, 1990-91, Fall 1992
    • Assistant Professor of Government, UT Austin, 1988-1991
    • Instructor, Government Department, UT Austin, 1987-88

    Expertise

    Saudi Arabia; U.S.-Middle East relations; oil and international relations; history of international relations; history of development theory

    Major Publications

    • America's Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier, Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2006, pb edition (London: Verso, 2009.
    • "The Graceful and Liberal Gesture: Marking Racism Invisible in American International Relations," Millennium, 29, 2, September 2000, pp. 331-356.
    • "The New Deal in Egypt: The Rise of Anglo-American Commercial Competition in World War II and the Fall of Neocolonialism," Diplomatic History, 20, 2 (Spring 1996), pp. 211-240, awarded the Bernath Prize in 1997, reprinted in Walter Hixson, The American Experience in World War II, Volume 12: The United States Transformed, London: Taylor and Francis, 2002.