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Dr Guillemette Crouzet

Guillemette Aline Crouzet

Marie Curie Sklodowska Individual Research Fellow


Faculty of Arts Building, 6 University Road
University of Warwick
Coventry CV4 7EQ


Academic Profile

I am a historian of the British Empire and the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with a particular focus on the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean World. More generally, my research explores the entangled histories of globalization, imperialism and terraqueous environments in the modern Indian Ocean World and Eurasia.

I am currently a Marie Curie Sklodowska Individual Research fellow at the University of Warwick, where I was previously a Newton postdoctoral fellow. I studied History and Geography in France at Sorbonne Université, where I also completed my doctorate. My previous positions include a postdoctoral fellowship at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva (2016–17), a Max Weber Fellowship at the European University Institute (2015–16), and Temporary Lectureships in History at the Université Paris-Sorbonne (2013–15) and at Sciences Po, Paris (2014–15). I have also taught some courses for the University of Chicago in Paris and for Sorbonne Université in Abu Dhabi.

My first book, Genèses du Moyen-Orient. Le Golfe Persique à l'âge des impérialismes (c.1800-1914), challenges the conventional notion that the geographical concept of the “Middle East” was created by Western powers only in the twentieth century. It argues instead that the notion of a “Middle East” was invented by the expansively-minded British empire in India through a process whose origins can be traced back to the late 1700s under the auspices of the East India Company (EIC). The book has received a series of major French book prizes, namely the Sophie Barluet book prize (Centre National du Livre, 2016) and the Guy Lasserre prize (Académie de Bordeaux, 2017).

A substantially revised and updated English-language version of the book, Inventing the Middle East: Britain and the Persian Gulf in the Age of Global Imperialism, will be published by McGill-Queen’s University in October 2022.

I am a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Postdoctoral Fellowships and Employment

  • From April 2019: Marie Curie Sklodowska Individual Research Fellow, Department of History, Warwick University
  • 2017-2019: Newton International Fellow, Department of History, Warwick University
  • 2016-2017: Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of International History, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva
  • 2015-2016: Max Weber Fellow, Department of History and Civilization, European University Institute, Florence
  • 2013-2015: Temporary Lecturer in History, Department of History, Sorbonne University
  • 2014: Temporary Lecturer in History, Department of History, Sciences Po

Short-term/Visiting positions

  • Forthcoming, 2023: The Huntington Library, Los Angeles, California, Mayers Fellowship (one-month).

  • April 2021; May 2022: Université Toulouse-II-Jean-Jaurès, invited scholar, to give a series of guest lectures.
  •  2012–13: Visiting PhD student, University of Cambridge (John Knox studentship).
  • 2011–12: Visiting PhD student, King’s College London.


Crude Empire: British Oil Imperialism and the Making of the Modern Middle East (c.1901–1935)

In my postdoctoral work to date, I have extended the chronological purview of my research while deepening my interest in the role of trade and commodities — encompassing raw materials, objects, people, and ideas — as fulcrums of globalization and imperialism in the Indian Ocean World. In my current research project, funded by the European research program Horizon 2020, I seek to analyse the role played by oil in a renewed British imperialism in the Middle East in the decades around 1900, while assessing local social, political and environmental consequences in the region. Charting interactions and conflicts between different ecological regimes in the Middle East, this project highlights the connections between the British empire, the search for oil and its role in what is now termed the Anthropocene, or a deleterious shift in man's relationship to geology, fossil fuels and the wider natural world.

I am presently working on a history of the largely nomadic Bakhtiari tribe in Persia and their engagements with successive British figures, from representatives of the EIC to independent travellers to the agents of petroleum companies, at what was the first major site of Middle East oil exploitation.

Teaching at Warwick


  • Books

2022 Inventing the Middle East: Britain and the Persian Gulf in the Age of Global Imperialism (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2022), 326pp.

2016 Vincent Lemire, Guillemette Crouzet, François Dumasy and Matthieu Rey, Le Moyen–Orient de 1876 à 1980 (Paris: Armand Colin, 2016), 256pp.

2015 Genèses du Moyen-Orient: le Golfe Persique à l’âge des impérialismes (Ceyzerieux: Champ Vallon, 2015), 670pp.

  • Winner of the 2016 Sophie Barluet Book Prize awarded by the Centre National du Livre.
  • Winner of the 2017 Guy Lasserre Book Prize awarded by the Académie Nationale des Sciences, Belles-Lettres et Arts of Bordeaux
  • Articles (selection)

2020: "Arms Trafficking and the Globalization of the Persian Gulf in the Late Nineteenth Century", Journal of Levantine Studies Vol. 10, No. 1 ( 2020), pp.69-89.

2019: "The British Empire in India, the Gulf pearl and the making of the Middle East", Middle Eastern Studies, 55:6 (2019), pp. 864-878.

2019: “A Second Fachoda? Franco-British relations in Oman at the end of the nineteenth century”, in James R. Fichter, ed., Connected Empires: British and French Colonialism in Africa, Asia and the Middle East from the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Centuries (London: Palgrave, 2019), pp. 133–52.

2017: '"For England everything centres round India and Arabia". La guerre anglo-allemande dans le golfe Persique : impérialismes, politique tribale et jihad (1914–1915)', Revue des Mondes Musulmans et de la Méditerranée, 141 (2017), pp. 85–103.
2016: 'Un Fachoda en mer d’Oman a la veille de l’Entente Cordiale? L’affaire du dépôt de charbon (1898–1899)', Relations Internationales, 166:2 (2016), pp. 53–68.
2016: 'Les Britanniques et l’invention du Moyen-Orient: essai sur des géographies plurielles', Esprit, 424 (2016), pp. 31–46.
2015: 'Between Imperial Rivalries and Cooperation: Epidemic Diseases and Health Policies in the Arabo-Persian Gulf in the Long Nineteenth Century', special issue Gateways of Disease. Public Health in European and Asian Port Cities at the Birth of the Modern World in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries, Düsseldorfer Texte zur Medizingeschichte, 7 (2015), pp. 28–41.
2014: '"A Right to Interfere": lutte contre la traite et création d’un espace régional de droit dans le Golfe Arabo-Persique sous domination britannique (vers 1820–vers 1880)', Histoire, Economie et Société, 33:2 (2014), pp. 79–94.