Reilly, James A.

Phone: 416-978-8147
Location: Room F305, University College

EducationJR_2014 Reilly New Photo

Ph.D. Department of History, Georgetown University, 1987.
M.A. Department of History and Archaeology, American University of Beirut, 1981.
B.A. College of Arts and Sciences, Georgetown University, 1976. Major: History.


University of Toronto, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, July 2003-present.
Department Chair July 2001-June 2006.

University of Toronto, Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, July 1992-July 2003.

University of Toronto, Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies, July
1987-June 1992.

American University of Beirut, Department of History and Archaeology, 1979-1980.

Research Specialization

History of Ottoman Syria between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. Research and writing have focused on the social and economic history of Damascus and Hama, plus recent historiography of Syria and Lebanon during the Ottoman period.


NMC 278H “Introduction to the Modern Middle East”
NMC 378H “Modern Arab History”
NMC479H “Histories of Nationalism in the Arab World”
NMC 2170H “Topics in Modern Arab History I ”
NMC 2171H “Topics in Modern Arab History II”



  • A Small Town in Syria: Ottoman Hama in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Bern and London: Peter Lang, 2002.


  • “Sharî’a Court Registers and Land Tenure around 19th-Century Damascus,” MESA Bulletin 21 (1987): 155-169.
  • “Status Groups and Propertyholding in the Damascus Hinterland, 1828-80,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 21 (1989): 517-539.
  • “Properties around Damascus in the Nineteenth Century,” Arabica 37 (1990): 91-114.
  • “Rural Waqfs of Ottoman Damascus: Rights of Ownership, Possession and Tenancy,” Acta Orientalia 51 (1990): 27-46.
  • “Property, Status and Class in Ottoman Damascus: Case-Studies from the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 112 (1992): 9-21.
  • “Damascus Merchants and Trade in the Transition to Capitalism,” Canadian Journal of History 27 (1992): 1-27.
  • “From Workshops to Sweatshops: Damascus Textiles and the World Economy in the Last Ottoman Century,” Review 16 (1993): 199-213.
  • “Women in the Economic Life of Late-Ottoman Damascus,” Arabica 42 (1995): 86-113.
  • “Inter-Confessional Relations in 19th-Century Syria: Damascus, Homs and Hama Compared,” Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations 7 (1996): 213-224.
  • “Past and Present in Local Histories of the Ottoman Period from Syria and Lebanon,” Middle Eastern Studies 35 (1999): 45-65.
  • “Regions and Markets of Ottoman Syria: Comparisons and Transformations,” Chronos no. 10 (2004), pp. 111-144.
  • “Rafeq’s Ghazza: An Early Exploration of a Secondary Town,” in Peter Sluglett with Stefan Weber (eds.), Syria and Bilad al-Sham under Ottoman Rule (Leiden: Brill, 2010): 91-97.
  • “Ottoman Beirut: Crisis, History, and Sectarian Memory,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 31 (2011):164-171.
  • “Ottoman Saida and Problems of a Lebanese ‘National’ Narrative,” in Jørgen Nielsen (ed.), Religion, Ethnicity and Contested Nationhood in the Former Ottoman Space (Leiden: Brill, 2012): 173-186.
  • “Ottoman Syria: Social History through an Urban Lens,” History Compass 10, no. 1 (2012): 70-80.
  • “The End of an Era: Pre-Reform Damascus in the 1820s,” Bulletin d’études orientales 61 (2012): 209-222.
  • “The Universal and the Particular: A View from Ottoman Homs ca. 1700.” The Journal of Ottoman Studies 44 (2014): 341-356.
  • “Town and Steppe in Ottoman Syria: Hostility, Exploitation and Cooperation in the Late Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Der Islam 92, 1 (2015): 148–160.


  • “Elites, Notables and Social Networks of Eighteenth-Century Hama,” in Islamic Urbanism in Human History: Political Power and Social Networks, pp. 211-232. Edited by Tsugitaka Sato. London: Kegan Paul International, 1997.
  • “The Islamic Middle East,” in Echoes from the Past: World History to the 16th Century, pp. 226-257. Edited by Garfield Newman. Toronto: McGraw Hill Ryerson, 2001.
  • “The ‘Azms of Hama: Patricians in an Ottoman Town,” in Qasr al-‘Azm: Ein osmanischer Gouverneurspalast in Hama/Westsyrien, pp. 15-22. Edited by Karin Bartl and Abdelqader Farzat. Darmstadt: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 2013.