Background and education
Hourani was born in Manchester
, the son of Soumaya Rassi and Fadlo Hourani,
immigrants from Marjeyoun
in what is now South Lebanon
(see Lebanese diaspora
). Fadlo had studied at what later became the American University of Beirut
and settled in Manchester as a cotton merchant.
Albert's brothers were George Hourani
, philosopher, historian, and classicist, and Cecil Hourani
, economic adviser to President of Tunisia Habib Bourguiba
. His family had converted from Eastern Orthodoxy
to Scottish Presbyterianism
and his father became an elder of the local church in Manchester. Hourani himself, in turn, converted to Catholicism
in adulthood. Fadlo had extensive business contacts with the Levantine community both in Manchester and in the Ottoman Empire, and Cecil Hourani commented on the household's mixed Anglo-Levantine culture:
"... to my earliest memories in Manchester there were two faces: the one Near Eastern, Lebanese, full of poetry, politics, and business; the other partly Scottish Presbyterian, full of Sunday church-going and Sunday school, partly English through an English nanny and a succession of English and Irish cooks and maids." 
He began his academic career, which would occupy the rest of his life, in 1948, teaching at Magdalen College
, St. Antony's College
(where he created and directed the college's Middle East Centre), the American University of Beirut
, the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard. He ended his academic career as Fellow of St. Antony's and Reader in the History of the Modern Middle East at Oxford. Hourani trained more academic historians of the modern Middle East than any other university historian of his generation. Today his students can be found on the faculties of LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, MIT and the University of Haifa, among others. He was appointed CBE in the 1980 Birthday Honours
Influence on Middle Eastern studies
Hourani's most popular work is A History of the Arab Peoples
(1991), a readable introduction to the history of the Middle East
and an international best seller. Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age 1789–1939
(1962) is one of the first scientific attempts at a comprehensive analysis of the nahda
, the Arab revival of the 19th century, and the opening of the Arab world to modern European culture; it remains one of the major works on this subject. Syria and Lebanon
(1946) and Minorities in the Arab World
(1947) are other major works. He also wrote extensive works on the orientalist
perspective on Middle Eastern cultures through the 18th and 19th centuries, and he developed the influential concept of the "urban notables
" – political and social elites in provincial Middle Eastern cities and towns that served as intermediaries between imperial capitals (such as Istanbul under the Ottoman Turks
) and provincial society.
In 1955 Hourani married Christine Mary Odile Wegg-Prosser (born 1914), while teaching at Magdalen College, Oxford. He died in Oxford in 1993 at the age of 77. His widow died in 2003 at the age of 89. Both are buried in Wolvercote Cemetery
- ^ "The Horany / Hourani Connection". The Mahfood Family Site. Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
- ^ Marmura, Michael E. (1984). Islamic Theology and Philosophy: Studies in Honor of George F. Hourani. New York: SUNY. p. Introduction.
- ^ Hourani, Albert (1 January 2013). A History of the Arab Peoples: Updated Edition. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571302499.
- ^ Seddon, Mohammad Siddique. "Muslim and Jewish Communities in Nineteenth Century Manchester" (PDF). Royal Holloway, University of London.[dead link]
- ^ "Hourani, Albert Habib". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 8 October 2009. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/38365. Retrieved 12 May 2019. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- ^ Al-Sudairi, Abdulaziz (1991). A Vision of the Middle East: An Intellectual Biography of Albert Hourani. I.B.Tauris. p. 21.
- ^ Joel Beinin, 'Arab Liberal Intellectuals and the Partition of Palestine', in Arie M. Dubnov and Laura Robson, eds, Partitions : A Transnational History of Twentieth-Century Territorial Separatism, Stanford University Press, 2019, pp.203-223
Al-Sudairi, Abdulaziz A. A Vision of the Middle East: An Intellectual Biography of Albert Hourani
. London: I.B. Tauris.
Last edited on 18 April 2021, at 02:32
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