Dr. Martin Bunton

Dr. Martin Bunton

On leave

Office: CLE B223

BA (UBC), MA, DPhil (Oxon)

Area of expertise

Modern Middle Eastern History, World History, Colonial Land Policies


The bulk of my teaching has been in the field of modern Middle Eastern history, and I am especially interested in studying the history of the region in its global context. My first book focused on the making and remaking of colonial land policies in Palestine during the interwar period. The book is organised around two main themes: the legacy of previous imperial administrative practices and the comparison with policies concurrently developed elsewhere in world. These same themes also frame my organisation of the nine-volume collection of primary sources on land legislation in Palestine and my more recent articles on Palestine in the interwar period, and a forthcoming co-authored book, End of the Ottoman Empire and Forging of the Modern Middle East: A Short History with Documents. Recent books also include: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford); the co-authored (with the late William Cleveland) A History of the Modern Middle East, 7th edition; and The Contemporary Middle East: Foreign Intervention and Authoritarian Governance Since 1979 (Wiley Blackwell). I am currently researching how ideas of a shared state of Palestine were envisioned during the mandate period.

Selected publications


The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction A History of the Modern Middle East
  • Colonialism and the Modern World:  Selected Studies (co‑edited with G. Blue and R. Croizier). M.E. Sharpe, 2002. 
  • Colonial Land Policies in Palestine, 1917-1936. Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Land Legislation in Mandate Palestine (8 Volumes with Map Box edited set of primary sources). Cambridge University Press, 2009.
  • The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • A History of the Modern Middle East, 7th edition  (co-authored with the late William L. Cleveland). Taylor & Francis, 2024.
  • The Contemporary Middle East: Foreign Intervention and Authoritarian Governance Since 1979. Wiley Blackwell, 2024.

Selected Publications:

  • “Inventing a Tradition: Conformation to Ottoman Land Laws in British Palestine, 1917‑1936” in International History Review (March 1998).
  • “Demarcating the British Colonial State: Land Settlement in the Jiftlik Villages of Sajad and Qazaza” in Roger Owen, ed., New Perspectives on Property and Land in the Middle East (Harvard University Press, 2001).
  • “Mandate Daze: Stories of British Rule in Palestine, 1917‑1948”. Review essay in International Journal of Middle East Studies (August 2003).
  • “From Developmental Nationalism to the End of Nation-State in Iraq?” in Third World Quarterly, 29/3, 2008. 
  • "L'Enquête de Cadastre Britannique des Terres Agricoles  Égyptiennes (1897-1907)” in Maghreb-Machrek, N° 205 (Automne 2010).
  • "Après Nous le Déluge: Britain and the 1947 UN Palestine Partition Plan” in Journal of Modern Hellenism (2015).
  • "Seeing Like A Sound: Property Rights and Resource Management in Clayoquot Sound" in A Subtle Balance: Expertise, Evidence and Democracy in Policy and Governance, 1970-2010 (McGill-Queen’s, 2015).
  • “Arab Spring”, in Oxford Bibliographies, ed. Andrew Rippin (OUP, 2015).
  • "’Home,' ‘Colony,' ‘Vilayet': Frames of reference for the study of land in mandate Palestine” in Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, 21/1, 2020.
  • “Government Land Policies in Occupied Enemy Territory: the case of British rule in Ottoman Palestine, 1917–1920,” in Historyka Studia Metodologiczne, 2022.


HSTR 277A History of the Middle East, 1789 - WWII
HSTR 277B History of the Middle East since WWII
HSTR 377 History of Modern Egypt
HSTR 378 History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
HSTR 477 History of the Arab Spring

Special topics include:

Land and colonialism: a comparative study of the history of property rights

Grad students

Matthew Redmond, "The Nigerian adoption of Gandhi's discourse of colonial resistance"

Stephen Russo, "Land legislation, gender and families in Palestine during the 1920s"

Lesley Scowcroft, "The influence of Sir Reginald Coupland on the Peel Commission"

Chris Dawson, "Neo-liberalism and the Rule of Law: The Cairo housing market in the 1970s"

Amber Ayers, "Official debates on agricultural co-operatives in Palestine"

Adam Rasmi, "British efforts to survey the lands of Egypt, 1878-1907"

Martin Hoffman, “'The Consequential Existence of Indigenous People': Zionist Settlement in 1920s Palestine"' 

Ezra Karmel,"'We Are All Jordan': The Dynamic Definition of ‘We' in the Hashemite Kingdom" 

Jonathan Ballin, “Stopping the 'World’s Greatest Threat': Canadian Policy and Rhetoric towards the Iranian Nuclear Program during Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government, 2006-2015”