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Matthew Jacobs

Department of History


Phone: (352) 273-3371

Office Location: 206 Keene-Flint Hall

Areas of Specialization: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East

Matthew Jacobs is Associate Professor of U.S. and International History in the Department of History at the University of Florida and serves as Director of the International Studies Program for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Director of Undergraduate Academic Programs for the University of Florida International Center. He received his Ph.D. in 2002 in U.S. History with a specialty in Foreign Relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his M.A. in 1996 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his B.A. in 1993 from Cornell University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on twentieth-century international history and U.S. foreign relations, particularly with the Middle East.


He has received the Department of History’s John K. Mahon Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2004-2005), the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teacher of the Year Award (2009-2010), and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Faculty Advisor/Mentor of the Year Award (2013-2014).

Published Works

Professor Jacobs first book, entitled Imagining the Middle East: The Building of An American Foreign Policy, 1918-1967, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in summer 2011. An Arabic language edition (Sutour Publications) and an English language edition (American University of Cairo Press) were released simultaneously in the Middle East, and a paperback edition came out in summer 2014. The book examines the ways in which an informal network of specialists in academia, business, the government and the media interpreted the Middle East and the United States role there through the middle half of the twentieth century. He published an early version of a portion of this work that focused on interpretations of Islam in Diplomatic History (September 2006).


Professor Jacobs is working on several projects. The first, tentatively titled Islam and US, investigates official and unofficial U.S. responses to the rise of Islamist political movements as a global phenomenon since 1960. Thus, the work will deal with U.S. involvement in Africa and Asia as well as the Middle East. A second place U.S. responses to the various uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East since late 2010 in the broader historical context of U.S. relations with the region over the past several decades. Finally, a third project uses sports as a vehicle to examine critical issues in post-1945 international history (i.e., colonialism/post-colonialism, the international economy, sports as an arena for the prevention and/or extension of international conflict, etc.).