Reuven Amitai is Eliyahu Elath Professor for Muslim History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and currently Dean of the Faculty of Humanities there (from 1 September 2010). He studies and teaches the history of the pre-modern Islamic world, specializing in the following fields: the coming of the Turks and Mongols to the Middle East, Muslim responses to the Crusades, the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt and Syria, the Ilkhanate (the Mongol state in the Middle East), medieval Palestine, the military history of the pre-modern Muslim world, and conversion to Islam.
Born in Philadelphia, USA, in 1955, Reuven Amitai has been living in Israel since 1976. He studied for his B.A. at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, his M.A. and Ph.D. (1990) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and was a visiting post-graduate student at the School of Oriental and African Studies, the University of London, in 1985-86. He has been a visiting fellow at Princeton University (1990-91) and St. Antony’s College (1996-97) in Oxford, and has also been a visiting researcher at the Central Asian Seminar of the University of Bonn (2004), and a Professeur invité at the l’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Section des Sciences Religieuses, at the Sorbonne in Paris (2007).
Reuven Amitai has served as Head of the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University (1997-2001) and was twice the director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies (2001-4, 2008-2010). He was also the founding Director of the Nehemia Levtzion Center for Islamic Studies at the Hebrew University (2004-2007).
His writings include Mongols and Mamluks: The Mamluk-Ilkhanid War, 1260-1281 (Cambridge University Press, 1995; Mongolian translation, Ulaanbaatar, 2006), The Mongols in the Islamic Lands: Studies in the History of the Ilkhanate (“Variorum Collected Studies Series,” Ashgate, 2007), and Holy War and Rapprochement: Studies in the Relations between the Mamluk Sultanate and the Mongol Ilkhanate (1260-1335) (Brepols, forthcoming), and he has co-edited The Mongol Empire and its Legacy (with David Morgan, Leiden, 1999), Mongols, Turks and Others: Eurasian Nomads and Their Sedentary Neighbors (with Michal Biran, Leiden, 2005), and Islam in Europe: Case Studies, Comparisons & Overviews (with Amikam Nahmani, Jerusalem, 2007).
In addition, he has written more than sixty scholarly articles, as well as several dozen book reviews and many shorter academic and popular pieces. Currently, he is working on a study of Syria and Palestine under the Mamluks (1260-1516).