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John Meloy

  • Position: Professor and Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Department: Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations
  • Email: john.meloy@aucegypt.edu
Brief Biography

John Meloy is the dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and a professor at the Department of Arab and Islamic Civilizations at The American University in Cairo (AUC). Meloy taught in the Department of History and Archaeology at the American University of Beirut (AUB) from 1998 until 2021. At AUB, he also served as  chairperson of the Department of History and Archaeology, director of the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies, and,  from 2010 until 2016, associate dean in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Meloy’s research has centered on the political economy of the Mamluk sultanate of Cairo and the sultanate’s relations with the sharifs of Mecca. He is currently working on a project that addresses fifteenth-century understandings of economic crises. While his current research investigates problems chiefly of interest to pre-modem historians, his interests are generally more interdisciplinary in scope. Islamic archaeology was his first interest in Middle East studies and he also developed an interest in the emergence of area studies in the modern Arab world.

Research Interest
  • Mamluk History
  • Late medieval political economy
  • Islamic archaeology


2015 Grant-in-aid, Rockefeller Archives Center, Sleepy Hollow, New York

2007 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and Scholar-in-Residence, American Research Center in Egypt, Cairo.

2002 Hewlett Foundation Junior Faculty Research Grant, American University of Beirut

2000 Mellon Foundation Summer Research Grant, Center for Behavioral Research, American University of Beirut.

  • PhD, Department of History, University of Chicago, 1998
  • MA, Department of History, University of Chicago, 1990
  • BA, Department of Anthropology, Occidental College, Los Angeles, 1981

Publications: Monograph and edited volumes

  • Imperial Power and Maritime Trade: Mecca and Cairo in the Later Middle Ages. Chicago Studies on the Middle East (Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Chicago). Chicago: Middle East Documentation Center, 2010. Revised paperback edition, 2015.
  • Co-Editor with M. Haddad, A. Heinemann, and S. Slim. Towards a Cultural History of the Mamluk Era. Beiruter Texte und Studien, 118. Beirut and Würzburg: Orient-Institut and Ergon-Verlag in Kommission, 2010.
  • Co-Editor with A. Heinemann, T. Khalidi, and M. Kropp. Al-Jahiz: A Muslim Humanist for Our Time. Beiruter Texte und Studien, 119. Beirut and Würzburg: Orient-Institut and Ergon-Verlag in Kommission, 2009.

Publications: Refereed journal articles, book chapters, and reference articles

  • “The Judges of Mecca and Mamluk Hegemony.” Trajectories of State Formation across Fifteenth-Century Muslim West-Asia: Eurasian Parallels, Connections, and Divergences, ed. J. Van Steenbergen. Leiden: Brill, 2020.
  • “Mecca, 1000-1500.” The Encyclopedia of Islam. Third edition, Part 2020-2. Leiden: Brill, 2020.
  • “Mecca Entangled.” In The Mamluk Sultanate from the Perspective of Regional and World History, ed. R. Amitai and S. Conermann. Bonn: Bonn University Press/V&R Unipress, 2019.
  • “‘Aggression in the Best of Lands’: Mecca in Egyptian-Indian Diplomacy in the Ninth/Fifteenth Century.” In Mamluk Cairo, a Crossroads for Embassies: Studies on Diplomacy and Diplomatics, ed. F. Bauden and M. Dekkiche. Leiden: Brill, 2019.
  • “Ibn Fahd.” The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Third edition, Part 2017-2, . Leiden: Brill, 2017.
  • “Arab and Middle East Studies at AUB: Between Local Concerns and Global Pressures.” In One Hundred and Fifty, edited by N. El-Cheikh, et al.,. Beirut: AUB Press, 2016.
  • “Al-Fasi.” The Encyclopaedia of Islam. Third edition, Part 2015-2, . Leiden: Brill, 2010.
  • “Money and Sovereignty in Mecca: Issues of the Sharifs in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, vol. 53,  2010.“Overland Trade in the Western Islamic World, Eleventh through Fifteenth Centuries.” In The New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 2: The Western Islamic World, Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries, edited by Maribel Fierro. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,2010.