About

Associate Board Members

Mustafa Aksakal
Georgetown University

Mustafa Aksakal is Associate Professor in the Department of History and the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Aksakal received his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He specializes in Near Eastern History, Ottoman and Turkish History, Diplomatic History, and World War I. His dissertation, which won the Bayard and Cleveland E. Dodge Best Dissertation Award and is currently being revised for publication, focuses on the Ottoman decision to enter World War I. Aksakal enjoys teaching courses on the social and political history of the Middle East, especially on the period after 1800. In particular, he is interested in the ways Middle Easterners have responded to the rise of Western global influence in the Modern Age.

He is the author of The Ottoman Road to War in 1914 (2008), a study of internal reasons for the empire's decision to join the war on Germany's side. His current book project, Ottoman Society at War, investigates military and civilian life during wartime in the empire's final decade. Recently he held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He teaches courses in Ottoman and Modern Turkish history.
Elizabeth B. Frierson, Ph.D.
University of Cincinnati

Professor Frierson came to the study of the Middle East and North Africa after beginning to see the wide gap between reality in the Middle East and U.S. perceptions of the region in the early 1980s. She took her B.A. in Comparative Religion from the University of Vermont and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. She has published several articles on late-Ottoman politics and society, and co-edited with Camron Amin and Benjamin C. Fortna, The Modern Middle East: A Sourcebook for History (Oxford University Press). She has received several fellowships and awards for research, development of teaching materials, and acquisition of library materials for UC, and has been an invited speaker and workshop participant in the U.S., Turkey, Israel, and Europe, as well as a visiting fellow at Cornell University, UCSB, and Princeton University. Her Ph.D. students have been Carole Woodall and Lerna Ekmekcioglu of NYU, Julia Phillips Cohen of Stanford, and Ufuk Adak and Ali el-Tarhuni at the University of Cincinnati. She speaks frequently to community groups and the media about the history of the Middle East and North Africa, and current events. Her current research focuses on cities, atrocities, memory, and identity formation, and in 2103-2015 she is serving as Faculty Director of the NEH Summer Institute on WWI and the Arts: Sounds, Visions, Psyches.
Gottfried Hagen
University of Michigan

Gottfried Hagen is Associate Professor of Turkish Studies. He teaches a broad range of courses on Turkish, Ottoman, and Islamicate cultural history, as well as Ottoman language. In his research, he asks how Ottoman culture constructed the globe and the universe, space, self, and others. Hence, he is interested in representations of space such as geographical writing, travelogues, and maps, as well as the narrative representation of the past in chronicles, hagiographies, and other literary texts. These questions hinge on the role of religion, specifically Islam, as a means to understand the order of the cosmos and to attribute meaning to the human experience. His publications include his book Ein osmanischer Geograph bei der Arbeit. Entstehung und Gedankenwelt von Katib Çelebis Gihannnüma (2003), numerous journal articles, and book chapters in volumes such as Evliya Çelebi-An Ottoman Mentality, by Robert Dankoff (2004), Legitimizing the Order: The Ottoman Rhetoric of State Power, ed. by Maurus Reinkowski and Hakan Karateke (2005), and Exploring Other Worlds: New Studies on the Prophet Muhammad's Ascension (Mi'raj) ed. by Christiane Gruber and Frederic Colby (2009). Currently, he is working on a study of Ottoman narratives of the life of the Prophet Muhammad. Other aspects of his work include translations, myths, as well as Western travel and Orientalism.
Selim Sırrı Kuru
University of Washington

Selim Sırrı Kuru is Associate Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Selim S. Kuru finished Samsun Anadolu Lisesi and received his B.A. (1988) and M.A. (1992) degrees in Turkish Language and Literature Department from Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, İstanbul, Turkey. He got his Ph.D. degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization from Harvard University (2000).

Kuru started teaching as an Acting Assistant Professor in 1999 at the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization, University of Washington Seattle. He is the director of the Turkish Studies Program at the UW and actively involved in the Graduate School Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies. Kuru is among the founders of the Ottoman Studies Foundation run Intensive Ottoman and Turkish Summer Program in Cunda, Ayvalık, Turkey, where he has been teaching Ottoman Turkish paleography. Kuru is among the organizers of an annual workshop and linked book series on Classical Turkish Literature since 2005. The tenth session of the workshop was organized by him and his student Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano at the University of Washington in connection with the fifth session of Western Ottomanists Workshop.

Kuru's work focuses on Ottoman 14th-16th centuries Anatolian literary history, genres with respect to the topic of love and its place in the elite Ottoman society. His recent publications include a chapter in Cambridge History of Turkey, Vol. 2 on Anatolian Turkish Literature during the period 1453-1600 and another chapter on homoeroticism in Anatolian elite literary traditions which is published in Italian. Kuru is in the editorial board of Journal of Turkish Studies and the book series Sources of Oriental Languages and Literatures.
Christine Philliou
Columbia University

Christine Philliou, associate professor, specializes in the political and social history of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey as part of the post-Ottoman world. Her book, Biography of an Empire: Governing Ottomans in an Age of Revolutions (University of California Press, 2011) examines the changes in Ottoman governance leading up to the Tanzimat reforms of the mid-nineteenth century. It does so using the vantage point of Phanariots, an Orthodox Christian elite that was intimately involved in the day-to-day work of governance even though structurally excluded from the Ottoman state. Her current project, Turkey: A Past Against History (forthcoming, University of California Press), turns to the political and cultural vicissitudes of muhalefet, or opposition, in late Ottoman and modern Turkish history, through the lens of the personal and intellectual/artistic itinerary of one muhalif (opponent), Refik Halit Karay (1888-1965). Her interests and other publications have had to do with comparative empires across Eurasia, various levels of transitions from an "Ottoman" to a "post-Ottoman" world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and political and cultural interfaces in the eastern Mediterranean, Middle East, and Balkans in the early modern and modern eras.
Kent F. Schull
SUNY Binghamton

Kent Schull is Associate Professor in the Department of History at SUNY Binghamton. He received a Doctorate and MA in history from UCLA and a Graduate Diploma in Jewish Studies from the University of Oxford. He is also a twice Fulbright Scholar to Turkey. Schull's general research and teaching endeavors focus on the history of the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East during the 19th & 20th centuries. Research specializations include socio-legal history, state formation, criminal justice, incarceration, identity, and Islamic criminal law in the Ottoman Empire and broader Middle East. His first book, Prisons in the Late Ottoman Empire: Microcosms of Modernity (Edinburgh University Press, 2014), investigates the intersection between Ottoman prison reform and the everyday lives of prisoners and prison officials. His second book, a co-edited volume entitled Living in the Ottoman Realm: Sultans, Subjects, and Elites (Indiana University Press, 2015), looks at the transformation of what it meant to be Ottoman during the empire's long existence as it transformed from a pastoral-nomadic polity, to a conquest state, world empire, and nation-state by the end of its existence. His current research projects include comparative criminal justice between the Ottoman Empire and its Eurasian contemporaries during the long nineteenth century; an investigation of Ottoman POWs and "Enemy Alien" expatriates during WWI; the role of prisons and prisoners in the Ottoman war effort during WWI; and the codification and transformation of Islamic criminal law and practice during the late Ottoman Empire.

Kent Schull is currently the editor of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (JOTSA).
Sultan Tepe
University of Illinois at Chicago

Sultan Tepe is associate professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Political Science at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin (2002). Her fields of interest include comparative politics, democratization, religion and politics, political parties, and politics in the Middle East. She is the author of Beyond Sacred and Secular: Politics of Religion in Israel and Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2008). She has published essays on religious parties in the Middle East, nationalist politics, and democratic movements.

She is the author of Beyond Sacred and Secular: Politics of Religion in Israel and Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2008). Beyond Sacred and Secular: Politics of Religion in Israel and Turkey investigates religious politics and its implications for contemporary democracy through a comparison of political parties in Israel and Turkey.
Baki Tezcan
University of California, Davis

Tezcan is a graduate of İstanbul Lisesi. He got his B.S. in International Relations from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey (1994), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University (1996, 2001).

Since 2002, Tezcan has been at UC Davis with a joint appointment in the departments of History and Religious Studies. He was one of the founders of the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program (ME/SA). In addition to History and Religious Studies, he also taught for ME/SA and Medieval and Early Modern Studies programs, and led the "Last Empire of Islam" Summer Abroad Program in İstanbul in 2007, 2009, and 2011 (for photographs from these summers, see the Facebook group "Baki's Bottle," named after the water bottle Tezcan held up while leading his students in tourist crowds). His advising work in multiple academic units brought him the UC Davis Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award in 2005. Tezcan held an American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) postdoctoral fellowship funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2001-02. He was a Society for the Humanities fellow at Cornell University in 2005-06. In the fall of 2007, he taught a graduate seminar on early modern Ottoman history at UC Berkeley. In 2011-12, he was a TüBİTAK fellow at İstanbul Şehir University.

Tezcan is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Ottoman Studies since 2010. He served ARIT as a delegate at large (2010-12), the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association as an executive board member (2010-13), and the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orientas a member of its editorial board (2010-12). He is one of the co-founders of the Western Ottomanists' Workshop (WOW) and GIT - North America, and an occasional contributor (in Turkish) to Bianet.
Berna Turam
Northeastern University

Berna Turam is an associate professor of Sociology and International Affairs at Northeastern University. She received two BAs (1994) in sociology and political science at Bosphorus University in İstanbul and an MA (1996) and Ph.D. (2001) from McGill University's Department of Sociology. She is a political sociologist with an abiding interest in conducting ethnography on ordinary Muslim people, religion and politics, state and society, politics of space, place, and neighborhood in the Middle East and spatiality of power in international affairs. Her ethnographic work theorizes everyday interactions between Muslim actors and the state in a global context. In addition to her book Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement (2007), she has published many book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the British Journal of Sociology, Nations and Nationalism, International Feminist Journal of Politics, and the International Journal of Middle East Studies. She co-edited a special issue entitled "Secular Muslims?" of Comparative Studies of South America, Africa and the Middle East. Presently, she is working on a book manuscript that explores the ways space, power and Muslim politics interlock, which is based on ethnographic research that she has been conducting in Turkey and United States since 2007. She is a collaborator in an NSF-funded comparative research project on Darwin and creationism in the Muslim world.
Nicole F. Watts
San Francisco State University

Nicole F. Watts is an associate professor in the Dept. of Political Science, where she teaches on comparative politics, the politics of the Middle East and North Africa, and social movements. Her research interests include ethnopolitical and national movements, state-society relations, protest and dissent, and Kurdish politics and mobilization, particularly in Iraq and Turkey. She is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London (1992) and the University of Washington in Seattle (2001).

Watts is the author and editor of books, chapters, and articles. Most recently, she co-edited Negotiating Political Power in Turkey: Breaking up the Party (Routledge, 2012). Her book, Activists in Office: Kurdish Politics and Protest in Turkey, was published by the University of Washington Press in 2010. She is currently working on a book manuscript on dissent and state-society relations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. Her work has appeared in refereed journals, including the International Journal of Middle East Studies; Comparative Studies on South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East; New Perspectives on Turkey; and Ethnopolitics. She has also made a short documentary entitled "Campaigning with Osman: An Alternative Kurdish Struggle" (2006). The film documents a pro-Kurdish election campaign for mayor in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey.

Watts is an associate editor of the European Journal of Turkish Studies (EJTS), a refereed, on-line scholarly journal. She is a former co-director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies minor at SFSU, and still closely involved with the group and its activities. Watts makes regular visits to the Kurdistan region of Iraq and to Turkey and has presented papers at many conferences and centers around the world.
Fariba Zarinebaf
University of California at Riverside

Fariba Zarinebaf obtained her BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Islamic history. Before coming to the UCR, Fariba Zarinebaf taught at the University of Virginia, Northwestern University, Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also taught at the University of Chicago.

She is interested in the social and urban history of the Ottoman Empire and Iran. Filling an important gap in Ottoman studies, Crime and Punishment in İstanbul, 1700-1800, published by the University of California Press in 2010, examines the history of violence, criminality, policing and punishment in İstanbul from the eighteenth to the early nineteenth centuries.

Her next two projects will focus on cosmopolitanism and modernity in İstanbul during the nineteenth century. She is also working on expanding her dissertation to study Azerbaijan between two empires (the Safavid and Ottoman) and examine the history of a borderland region in the early modern period. She is also writing a Memoir of growing up in Pre-Revolutionary Iran.

Her other interests include Islamic history and civilization; The Ottoman Empire and Iran; Gender in Middle Eastern history; Islamic Legal history; Urban and social history of the Ottoman empire and Iran; Crime and policing in İstanbul; Ottoman Greece; Inter-communal relations in İstanbul; Azerbaijan and the Caucasus; History of women's charity and philanthropy in the Middle East; Modernity and Sexuality in the Middle East; Persian literature.