Zoe LeBlanc is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of History at Vanderbilt University. Her dissertation is tentatively titled, “Constructing Anti-Colonial Cairo: the United Arab Republic’s role in Pan-Arabism and Pan-Africanism during the Cold War”, and examines the emergence of Cairo as a hub for anti-colonial activism in Africa in the wake of decolonization and the escalation of the Cold War in the late 1950s and early 1960s.Through mapping the political landscape of anti-colonial Cairo, this project traces how the city became a focal point for pan-Arabism and pan-Africanism as a safe haven for radical anti-colonial leaders and intellectuals; a sponsor for intellectual production in support of these movements; and a host for numerous African-Arab conferences and institutions. Zoe’s broad research interests include 20th century diplomatic history of the United States and the Arab World, American Protestant missionaries in the Third World after 1945, and the history of modern Islamic international organizations and Islamic law. Zoe completed in comprehensive examinations in the fields of: United States in the World, Modern Arab and Islamic Worlds; and American History Since 1865.
Zoe is also working two digital projects: one that maps American Protestant missionaries during the 19th and 20th centuries, and one on the rise of International Islamic Organizations in the 20th and 21st centuries, focusing on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Zoe graduated from the University of Toronto in 2010 with her Honours Bachelor of Arts with high distinction. Zoe is fluent in both English and French, with an honours Bilingual certificate from the Ontario government. She is also had advanced competencies in Arabic, and has traveled to Jordan, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Morocco, and Turkey.
In the summer of 2012, Zoe was awarded department funding for Arabic language training in Morocco and a Binkley Award for archival research at Oberlin College. Zoe was also awarded the Rodney G. Dennis Short-Term Visiting Fellowship in the Study of Manuscripts at the Houghton Library, Harvard University for 2013-14 and was selected to attend the Summer Institute for Archival Research at George Washington University in spring 2013. In 2012-13, Zoe was selected as a Vanderbilt HASTAC Scholar and worked with the Center for Teaching to blog about digital humanities at Vanderbilt. Zoe was awarded the Ibn Battuta Merit Scholarship for Peace and Diplomacy from Qalam wa Lawh Language Center and spent the fall of 2013 studying Arabic in Rabat, Morocco and completing archival research. Zoe was also awarded the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award, which will provide funding for the next three years of her doctoral work (2014-2017). For the summer of 2014, Zoe was awarded a Summer Research Award from the Vanderbilt Graduate School, a Weaver Award from the Vanderbilt History Department, and a Research grant from the Association of Scholars of the Middle East and North Africa to complete research in Tel Aviv. Zoe also participated in the Humanities Intensive Learning and Training workshop in August 2014. Zoe is currently a Visiting PhD Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University and a Graduate Fellow at the Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning. Zoe is currently working with Dr. Thomas A. Schwartz, Dr. Paul Kramer, and Dr. Leor Halevi. For a more detailed list of Zoe’s activities, please visit her website zoeleblanc.com or follow her on twitter @Zoe_LeBlanc.