Jens Hanssen

Professor of Arab Civilization, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern History
Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, 4 Bancroft Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5S 1C1


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Arabic-Islamic Intellectual History
  • Arabic Critical Theory
  • Ottoman and Mediterranean History
  • Colonial and post-colonial Cities
  • Orientalism and Occidentalism

(Professor Hanssen is on leave until the end of August 2026. During this time he serves as the director of the Orient Institute Beirut, Lebanon. The OIB is one of eleven German humanities centres abroad under the umbrella of the Max Weber Foundation. During this time he will not take on any new graduate students but welcomes colleagues and U of T students engaged in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies to consider visiting his institute, applying for grants and fellowships and developing research partnerships. )


Jens Hanssen is Professor of Arab Civilization, modern Middle Eastern Studies and Mediterranean History. Jens’s overall research explores the cultural entanglements between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East since the 19th century which led to explorations of  ‘German theory’ in contemporary Arabic thought as well as the afterlives of Abasid and Andalusian philosophy in German, Jewish and Arabic intellectual debates. He is also interested in the connections between intellectual trends and urban culture, the rationalities of Ottoman rule in the Arab provinces, and translation and travelling theory. His writings have appeared in The New Cambridge History of Islam, Critical Inquiry, Arab Studies Journal, and the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.


DPhil, University of Oxford