Penny Sinanoglou
Penny Sinanoglou
Assistant Professor
Office: Tribble B-2
Phone: 336.758.5522
Region: Europe, Middle East, World
Theme: Cultural and Intellectual History, Global/Transnational History, International Relations and Military History, Politics, Governance, and Law


Penny Sinanoglou received her Ph.D. in History from Harvard University, and her B.A. in History and Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University. She has published on twentieth-century British policy-making in the Middle East, and works more broadly on questions of empire, nationalism, ethnic identity, and decolonization.


B.A. Columbia University 2000
Ph.D. Harvard University 2008

Academic Appointments:
Harvard University 2008-2010
Princeton University 2010-11
Wake Forest University 2011-

Click here for the complete CV.


  • HST 102: Europe and the World in the Modern Era
    This course offers an introduction to the history of Europe from the Old Regime to the early twenty-first century. We explore social, economic, political, cultural and intellectual history, engaging with themes such as the structures and functions of government and society, the role of international relations in shaping domestic, regional and global politics, the relationship of people to modes of production and consumption, the influence of ideas on political, economic and social life, and the position of individuals in relation to communities and states.
  • HST 224: Great Britain Since 1750
    This course covers Britain's development from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present, examining its place at the forefront of many of the trends that we think of as constituting modernity: representative government, rapid and urbanizing population growth, industrialization, financial and commercial globalization and imperialism, mass culture, and the rise, fall and reemergence of liberalism. Throughout we explore Britain’s transnational relationships, both within the United Kingdom, and between Britain, its Empire, its European neighbors, and its former colony, the United States.
  • HST 309: European International Relations Since World War I
    This course covers European international relations, broadly construed, from the lead-up to the First World War through to the fallout from the Euro and immigration crises. The course takes seriously the notion that international relations are more than just diplomatic relations; course readings and class discussions cover the roles of state and non-state actors, ideologies, economies, and socio-cultural forces in international relations. Although the course is arranged chronologically, it also seeks to make thematic connections, focusing in particular on the role played in international relations by the collapse of empires; domestic politics; popular mobilization on both the right and left; challenges to the nation-state in the form of transnational ideologies; sovereignty in both new and old forms; and currency, trade, investment, and financial settlements.
  • HST 389: The British Empire in the Middle East
    This course covers the eighteenth- to twentieth-century history of the British Empire in the diverse area commonly referred to as the Middle East: the Arabian peninsula, Egypt, Sudan (the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium) and portions of the former Ottoman Empire that fell under British mandate after World War One, namely Iraq, Palestine and Transjordan. It also places British interest in the Middle East in a broader global context, paying particular attention to intra-European imperial rivalries as well as to Britain’s presence in the Eastern Mediterranean, Persia and India. Themes include scholarly theories of imperialism; techniques of imperial rule; local collaboration and resistance; social and cultural facets of imperialism; economic, environmental, and legal foundations and impacts of British rule in the Middle East; decolonization; memories of imperialism; and the historical roots of contemporary relations between the Middle East, Britain, and its most significant post-war ally, the US.
  • HST 390: Decolonization in the Twentieth Century
    At the start of World War II in 1939, approximately one-third of the world’s population lived under European colonial rule. By the end of the twentieth century, that number had dropped to less than one percent. This research seminar takes as its focus the process of decolonization in the twentieth century, comparing and contrasting the end of European empires in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. Themes addressed in the readings include the roles of violent and non-violent resistance, European domestic politics and international agreements, cultural imperialism and post-colonial immigration. We ask why decolonization was sudden in some places and protracted in others, consensual and relatively peaceful in certain territories and explosively divisive in others. The course includes an examination of the legacy of empire and decolonization in the contemporary world, and of the persistence of imperialism in the twenty-first century.
  • FYS 100: Explorers, Travelers, Tourists: Europeans Abroad in the Age of Empires
    From fifteenth-century explorers who set foot in the New World to the masses of tourists taking EasyJet holidays for weekends in North Africa, European travelers have had a tremendous impact on the development of a truly global world that is interconnected environmentally, politically, economically and culturally. This seminar focuses on Europeans traveling abroad from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries and asks how travel changed over this period, and what its impact was on the travelers themselves, on European life at home, and on the people with whom the travelers came in contact.

Articles and Essays

  • “League of Nations Mandates,” in The Encyclopedia of Empire, John MacKenzie, ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016)
  • “The Peel Commission and Partition, 1936-1938,” in Britain, Palestine and Empire: The Mandate Years, Rory Miller, ed. (Ashgate, 2010), pp. 119-140.
  • “British plans for the partition of Palestine, 1929-1938,” The Historical Journal, 52, 1 (2009), pp. 131–152.