Max Weiss studies the social, cultural, and intellectual history of the modern Middle East. His research interests include transformations of law and society, religious culture, history of ideas, and the translation of contemporary Arabic literature into English. He is jointly appointed in the Department of Near Eastern Studies.
His first book, In the Shadow of Sectarianism: Law, Shiʿism and the Making of Modern Lebanon (Harvard University Press, 2010), is a study of the Lebanese Shiʿi milieu during the period of French Mandate rule based primarily on Islamic court records from Beirut and South Lebanon and French colonial archival material. His co-edited publications include: with Jens Hanssen, Arabic Thought Beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and Arabic Thought Against the Authoritarian Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Present (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming); with Michael Laffan, Facing Fear: The History an Emotion in Global Perspective (Princeton University Press, 2012). In addition, he has translated a number of works of modern Arabic literature, including: Hassouna Mosbahi, A Tunisian Tale (American University in Cairo Press, 2011), Samar Yazbek, A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution (London: Haus, 2012) and Nihad Sirees, The Silence and the Roar (New York: Other Press, 2013).
Raised in southern California, Professor Weiss completed a double B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology and History at UC Berkeley (1999) and earned his Ph.D. in modern Middle East history from Stanford University (2007). Prior to joining the faculty at Princeton, he held a postdoctoral fellowship in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton (2007-08) and was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows (2008-10, 2011-12).
Professor Weiss is currently writing an interpretive history of Syria in the twentieth century, with an emphasis on questions of law and society, religion/secularism/sectarianism and the interplay of culture and ideology, under contract with Princeton University Press; in addition, he is translating novels by Syrian writers Fawwaz Haddad and Mamdouh Azzam.