Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Florida State University
Website URL
Ottoman Empire, Kurdistan, Kurdish history, Armenian history, Middle East
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Personal Info

About Me

I am a historian of the Ottoman Empire and the Modern Middle East.  As a historian of this gigantic empire that ruled over three continents for six centuries, I am fascinated by the diversity, complexity, and dynamism of imperial structures. My research revolves around the questions of modern state-making, property regimes, and intercommunal conflict and coexistence in the borderlands of modern empires. I focus specifically on the history of Ottoman Kurdistan whose history has long been pushed to the margins of historical narratives on the Ottoman Empire.

My current manuscript provides a multi-actor socio-historical analysis of the transformation and eventual dissolution of the Kurdish principalities in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. The imperial Ottoman policy towards Kurdistan involved confiscating the lands of the Kurdish nobility and establishing a small, tax-paying peasantry on these lands. My book demonstrates that the destruction of the autonomous Kurdish principalities in this way led to the dissolution of deep-rooted local power configurations and the region gradually descended into a spiral of violence by the end of the nineteenth century. My work stands at the junction of interconnected Ottoman, Kurdish, and Armenian histories, and as opposed to dominant nationalist renderings of this period, I approach the conflict between the Ottoman (and later the Turkish) state and the Kurdish nobility not solely as an ethnic dispute but as a struggle for sovereignty over the autonomous economic and political realms of the Kurdish rulers.

Recent Publications

“Can One Save the Voices of the Ordinary Kurds from the Enormous Condescension of Posterity? An Agenda for Social History in Kurdish Historical Writings.” In Ümit Kurt, & Ara Sarafian (Eds.), Armenians, Greeks, and Kurds: A People’s History of the Ottoman Empire. Fresno: Press at California State University, 2020.

“Counting the Population in an “Unruly” Land: Census-making as a Social Process in Ottoman Kurdistan, 1830-1850. “Journal of Social History. Journal of Social History, 53, 2020,  763–791.

“The Archive as a “Collective Project”. International Journal of Middle East History, 49(3), 529-533.

Recent Op-eds

The Discursive Power of Calls for Papers: Observations of an Ottoman-Kurdish Historian, Jadaliyya, April 5, 2019

Kurdish Studies in North America: Decolonizing a Field that Does Not Quite Exist, Yet? June 20. 2018









Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Middle East
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, Early Modern, Modern
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Economic History, Local & Regional