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Omar Cheta

Omar Cheta

Contact Information:


511 Eggers Hall

Omar Cheta

Assistant Professor, History Department

Senior Research Associate, Middle Eastern Studies Program


  • 2024 Spring
    • HST 496 Distinction Thesis in History
    • HST 122 Global History 1750 to Present
    • HST/MES 209 Modern Middle East

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., New York University, 2014


Omar Cheta is a historian of the modern Middle East. His primary research interests are the histories of law and capitalism in nineteenth-century Egypt. He is currently writing a book on the subject with the working title “How Commerce Became Legal: Merchants and Market Governance in Late Ottoman Egypt.”

Cheta’s academic publications have appeared in Past & Present, International Journal of Middle East Studies and History Compass. His research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, the Social Science Research Council, among others.

Prior to joining Syracuse University, he taught at Bard College, and was among the team that founded the Economic and Business History Research Center in Cairo. Cheta earned a B.A. in economics from the American University in Cairo, an A.M. in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern & Islamic studies, and history from New York University.

Areas of Expertise

Modern Middle East, Late Ottoman Empire, Egypt, capitalism, legal history

Selected Publications

  • Journal Articles
    • Cheta, O., Schwartz, K., "A Printer’s Odd Plea to Reform Legal Pluralism in Khedival Egypt." Past and Present, 2021.
    • Cheta, O., "A Prehistory of the Modern Legal Profession in Egypt, 1840s-1870s." International Journal of Middle East Studies , 2018.
    • Cheta, O., "The Economy by Other Means: The Historiography of Capitalism in the Middle East." History Compass , 2018.
  • Book Chapter
    • Cheta, O., "Hostages of Credit: The Imprisonment of Debtors in the Khedival Period." In The Oxford Handbook of Modern Egyptian History. Baron, B., Culang, J. (eds.) Oxford University Press, 2024.

Honors and Accolades

SU Art Museum Faculty Fellowship, Syracuse University (2023 - 2023)

Appleby-Mosher Grant, Syracuse University (2022)

Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society (2016)

Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities (2016)

Middle Eastern Studies Program
100F Eggers Hall