I am a historian working on the 19th and 20th century history of French colonies in North Africa and the Middle East. I also work on the history of drinks, in particular tea, coffee, Fanta/Coca-Cola, Orangina, wine and absinthe, both in the MENA region and without.
I have published peer-reviewed, academic articles, as well as popular history articles and online articles on these topics, in German and English. Among the publications I have written for are the NZZ Geschichte, the history blog of the Tages-Anzeiger, Geschichte der Gegenwart, Gastro Obscura and History Today.
I was born in Morocco to a Swiss and French family, and have been fascinated with the rich history of the Maghreb since my earliest childhood. Being multilingual – English, German, French, standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, and Latin, as well as a working knowledge of Spanish and Italian – has proven to be very useful in my research, which has focused on different aspects of the history and agency of North African women, as well as on the medical and psychiatric history of the Maghreb and its postcolonial consequences.
I studied at the University of Zürich and was a visiting student at the University of Oxford. During my time studying in Zürich I had prolonged stays for Arabic language courses in Egypt and Morocco. I was awarded a PH.D. in 2012 for my research on French colonial psychiatric reports on North African women both within and without colonial institutions. My Ph.D. was published with Böhlau in November 2015 and is now available via Open Access. Since then, I have conducted research and taught at the Universities of Zürich, Marburg, Bern, Heidelberg, Hamburg and Basel.
I aim to translate my passion for the history of the MENA region into my teaching, introducing my students to such varied topics as colonial medicine and psychiatry, the origins of Arab women’s movements, Islam in Africa and the history of alcohol drinking in Muslim communities.