Kristen Alff

Assistant Professor

Picture of Kristen Alff


Alff specializes in the history of the Middle East and North Africa and the political economy of the global south. She is interested in explorations of gender, race and the environment in the history of capitalism. Alff is at work on her first book, Capitalism around the Mediterranean: Levantine Companies and Landed Property, 1850-1925. It traces the business practices of joint-stock companies which led to the commodification of land in the late 19th and early 20th century Levant. Her second book project investigates the petroleum product bitumen in the Dead Sea, Syria and the Sinai Peninsula.

Teaching and Research Interests

Alff is interested in global history, international studies, political economy of the global south, modern Middle East history, business history, gender studies, environmental history, disaspora studies, and the history of the company


Book Chapters

“Landed Property, Capital Accumulation, and Polymorphous Capitalism in Egypt and the Levant, 1850-1920” in eds. Joel Beinin, Bassam Haddad, Sherene Seikaly, Critical Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa, (Forthcoming, Stanford University Press, 2021).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

“Levantine Joint-Stock Companies, Trans-Mediterranean Partnerships and Nineteenth-Century Capitalist Development,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 60:1, (January 2018).

“The Business of Property: Land, Law, and Capitalism Around the Mediterranean,” Enterprise and Society (Forthcoming, Sept. 2020).

Manuscripts in Preparation

“Gendering the Company: Changing Gender Norms and the Creation of the LLC in Lebanon,” 1880-1920”


  • PhD in Modern Middle East History from Stanford University , 2019
  • MA in History from Stanford University , 2014
  • MA in Middle East Studies from American University in Cairo, 2009
  • BA in British and American Literature from Boston University , 2001
  • BS in English Education from Boston University, 2000