Samuel Clark Waugh Distinguished Professor of International Relations & Department Chair Profile Image
Samuel Clark Waugh Distinguished Professor of International Relations & Department Chair History 402-472-2414 612A Oldfather Hall



As a scholar and award-winning filmmaker, I direct films and write books that bring to life my appreciation for cinematic arts and the history of ideas. I moved to UNL from Los Angeles in 2001 and have since taught courses on world intellectual history, decolonization, modern European history, the history of terrorism, the history of radical Islam, and, more recently, filmmaking. I am currently working on three new documentary feature films: Seasons of COVID; Before September; and The Peril of Dissent. My first film, The Art of Dissent (2020), has won several international film festival awards and celebrates the resilience and power of artistic engagement in Czechoslovakia before and after the 1968 Soviet-led invasion. I plan to finish Four Seasons of COVID in fall 2022. I am also working on a trade book about the global history of decolonization and planning a docuseries based on this work.

I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in 1996.

I have been chair of the Department of History since 2016. I have also been a member of the National Press Club since Fall 2020 and a Senior Associate Member of St Antony’s College, Oxford University since 2002.

  • The Art of Dissent, dir. James Dean Le Sueur, co-prod. Czech TV, distr. North America by Gravitas Ventures and the world by DA Films – 2020
  • The Peril of Dissent, dir. James Dean Le Sueur – in development
  • Before September, dir. & writ. James Dean Le Sueur, co-writ. Susan Pahlke, JD – in development
  • Seasons of COVID, a documentary feature film in development with filming underway; expected release is Fall 2022

  • Algeria since 1989: Between Democracy and Terror (London: Zed Books, 2010)
  • Uncivil War: Intellectuals and Identity Politics during the Decolonization of Algeria, Second Edition (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005); first edition (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001)
  • The Decolonization Reader (London: Routledge, 2003)
  • Assassination! July 14 by Ben Abro with historical monographic introduction by James D. Le Sueur (University of Nebraska Press, 2001)
  • Editor and Introducer of Mouloud Feraoun’s Journal, 1955-1962 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000)
  • Introducer of Henri Alleg’s The Question (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005)
  • Introducer and editor of Mouloud Feraoun’s The Poor Man’s Son (University of Virginia Press, 2005)
  • Introducer of Alec Toumi’s play, Madah-Sartre: The Kidnapping, Trial, and Coner(sat/s)ion of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007)
  • Le Sueur, J. D., and William B. Cohen. Guest editors of “France and Algeria: From Colonial Conflicts to Postcolonial Memories.” Special Issue of Historical Reflections/Reflexions historiques, volume 28, number 2 (Summer 2002).
  • “The Art of Dissent”, in Los Angeles Review of Books, 11 July 2020.
  • Essays in The Walrus
  • “The French Are Making a Mistake About the Charlie Hebdo Tragedy,” History News Network, 30 January 2015.
  • “Albert Camus and the Anticolonials: Why Camus Would Not Play the Zero Sum Game,” in South Central Review's Special Issue: A Centennial Celebration of Albert Camus, edited by Robert Zaretsky, vol. 31, no. 3 (Fall 2014): 27-42.
  • “Algeria, the Arab Spring, and the Specter of Jihad” in Algeria Three Years After the Arab Spring Mediterranean Paper Series, January 2014
  • “Postcolonial Time Disorder: Egypt and the Middle East, Stuck in the Past” Foreign Affairs, February 14, 2011 and reprinted in The New Arab Revolt: What Happens, What it Means, and What Comes Next. New York: Council on Foreign Relations/Foreign Affairs, 2012: 119-125. See:
  • “France’s Arabic Educational Reforms in Algeria during the Colonial Era: Language Instruction in Colonial Algeria and Anticolonial Minds before and after Independence” in The French Colonial Mind, edited by Martin Thomas (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, January 2012): 194-218.
  • “Tzvetan Todorov” in Columbia History of Twentieth Century French Thought edited by Lawrence D. Kritzman (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.
  • “A Radical Confrontation with Literature” The Chronicle of Higher Education, October 21, 2005, B19-20. Invited by Chronicle editors.
  • “Decolonizing French Universalism: Reconsidering the Impact of the French-Algerian War on French Intellectuals.” Journal of North African Studies, volume 6, number 1 (2001): 167-86. Reprinted in Maghrib and Beyond, edited by Julia Clancy-Smith (London: Frank Cass, October 2001) and in The Decolonization Reader, edited by James D. Le Sueur (London: Routledge, 2003).
  • “Torture and the Decolonisation of French Algeria: Nationalism, ‘Race,’ and Violence in Colonial Incarceration” in Captive and Free: Colonial and Post-Colonial Incarceration, edited by Graeme Harper (London: Continuum, 2002).
  • “Beyond Decolonization? The Legacy of the Algerian Conflict and the Transformation of Identity in Contemporary France,” in Historical Reflections/Reflexions historiques, volume 28, number 2 (Summer 2002):277-291.
  • upcoming, The Oxford Union Debate on “neocolonialism,” Oxford University, November 3, 2022.
  • upcoming, Havel and Our Crisis and a roundtable on “A Crisis of Truth,” with a showing of The Art of Dissent, Colby College, September 28-30, 2022.
  • "Why I’m making Seasons of COVID: Public Health and the Pandemic,” a conversation with the director, Chadron State College, February 24, 2022.
  • “Between “laïcité” ​and Free Speech,” invited talk at the National Press Club for media panel “Muslims Respond to Charlie Hebdo​: Understanding the Roots of Radicalization,” January 22, 2015, Washington, D.C.
  • “Between Terror and Democracy: Algeria's Path to Reconciliation,” Invited Distinguished Lecture in Communities in Conversation Series, Rhodes College, November 13, 2014, Memphis, Tennessee.
  • “Albert Camus and the Anticolonials” at Albert Camus and Algeria Conference, The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, Boston College, November 2013.
  • “No Revolution without Contemporary History: The Legacy of the ‘Civil War’ in Algeria,” The Arab Spring One Year Later: Assessments and Projections Conference, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, Nebraska, April 2012.
  • “Postcolonial Time Disorder and the Arab Spring One Year On,” for Great Plains National Security Educational Consortium, University of Nebraska, March 2012.
  • “War and Imperialism: The Case of the French in Algeria,” April 2011, University of South Carolina History Center.
  • “Nasr Abu Zyad: Egyptian Exile in the Netherlands,” Yale University, October 2010.
  • “Muslim Resistance to French Colonialism in Algeria,” Islamic Society of North America (Annual Conference) Chicago, June 2010.
  • “Muslim Exiles in the New Europe,” the University of Iowa’s Center for European Studies, April 2010.
  • “When the Insurgents Won: Algeria after 1962,” West Point Symposium on the History of Irregular Warfare, November 2009. Gave lectures to US Military Academy and served as a Cadet Mentor and Visiting Scholar at West Point.
  • “Terrorism, State Violence, and Exile in France: The Transformation of Contemporary Algerian Intellectuals Across the Mediterranean,” The Peter Morris Lecture (a plenary talk for ASMCF Conference), for “France and the Mediterranean, Representations, Policy Transnationalism,” the France and Africa Conference at University of Portsmouth, England, September 2009.
  • “The Death of Revolutionary Mystique: What Happened to Revolutionary Nationalism during the Carnage of the 1990s in Algeria?” Conference on the History and Future of Revolutions, Northeastern Illinois University, March 2009. Invited keynote speaker.
  • “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life and Death: Terrorism, National Reconciliation, and the Politics of Amnesty in Contemporary Algeria.” The Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement Lecture, Colby College, Waterville, Maine, September 2007.
  • “Stripping Islam out of Arabic: Why and How the French Tried to Democratize Arabic in Algeria during Decolonization.” Invited speaker for the “French Empire” conference, Exeter University, Centre for the Study of War, Exeter, England, April 2007 “Sociology in the Era of Decolonization, Or Decolonizing Revolutionary Sociology? The Bourdieu-Fanon Debate.” Invited speaker for international conference on Pierre Bourdieu, hosted by the University of Michigan and Berkeley, Ann Arbor, MI September 2006

The film festivals presentations for The Art of Dissent:

  • Official Selection at Rhode Island International Film Festival (Providence, Rhode Island, August 2020)
  • Official Selection at Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (Vermont, September 2020)
  • Official Selection at Newburyport Documentary Film Festival (Massachusetts, September 2020)
  • Official Selection at AFIN International Film Festival (Australia, November 2020)
  • Official Selection at Big Apple Film Festival (New York City, November 2020)
  • Official Selection at KARAMA Human Rights Film Festival (Amman, Jordan, December 2020)
  • Official Selection at Vancouver Independent Film Festival (Canada, January 2021)
  • Official Selection at Black Hills Film Festival (South Dakota, February 2021)
  • Official Selection at Front Range Film Festival (Longmont, Colorado, February 2021)

Awards from 2020 for The Art of Dissent

  • Social Spotlight Award, Rhode Island International Film Festival
  • First-Time Filmmaker Award, Newburyport Documentary Film Festival
  • Semi-Finalist at AFIN International Film Festival
  • Best Feature Documentary at Big Apple Film Festival
  • Feather Award for Best Documentary Film at KARAMA Human Rights Film Festival

Creative Work of the Year Award from NUtech Ventures, University of Nebraska in December 2020

  • 2002 Appointed Senior Associate Member of the Middle East Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford University
  • 2013 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Parents Association 5 Year Recognition for Contribution to Students
  • 2005 College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Award
  • 2003 University of Nebraska-Lincoln Mortar Board Distinguished Teaching Award
  • 2001 September Professor of the Month (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Students Award)

I teach “Algeria and France,” “The History of Decolonization since 1919,” “The History of Terrorism,” “The History of Radical Isalm,” “Western Civilization,” “Contemporary Europe,” and courses on post-colonial literature.

  • 2014 NEH Summer Institute on North Africa - Faculty (at Oregon State University)
  • 2009-10 Layman Award (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  • 2005 Arts and Humanities Research Enhancement Award (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  • 1999 NEH Summer Summer Fellowship at Georgetown University’s “Islam in the Twenty-First Century”
  • 1994-5 Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation-Year Fellowship
  • 1993-4 Lurcy Fellowship/Fulbright for Dissertation Research in France (University of Chicago) to work with Pierre Bourdieu and Francois Furet in Paris
  • 1992 University of Chicago Scholarship to Study Arabic
  • 1990 DAAD Fellowship to Study German in Freiburg, Germany
  • 1985 University of Montana Scholarship to Study French at la Sorbonne in Paris

Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1996
M.A., University of Chicago, 1990
Harvard University from 1987-1989
B.A., University of Montana, 1986


Filmmaking, World Decolonization, Modern France, Modern Algeria, Terrorism