I completed my doctorate in Near Eastern History at UCLA in 2007 and joined the History department here at St. Lawrence in the Fall of 2009. Research My primary research in on the Late Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. My book manuscript is on the development of Turkish nationalism, in which I argue that Turkish nationalism was defined both by a strong identification with the state and a growing sense of "ethnicized" Muslim identity. In addition, I write on a variety of issues related to modern and contemporary Turkish politics.
Each semester, I teach an introductory class, HIST/GS 160, The Islamic World, which aims to give students a basic introduction not only to major themes in Islamicate civilization, but to expose them to basic intellectual questions that all scholars of the Islamic Civilization must wrestle with, including changing norms and practice over time and the place of the Islamic World within global historical trends. I also teach more advanced courses on subjects ranging from the Ottoman Empire, to Modern Iran, to Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. At least once per year, I experiment with a new materials through "topics courses" such as "Debating Muslims" (which explored Muslim responses to modernity) and "The Historiography of the Armenian Genocide." Teaching about the Middle East in a time of war and terror holds special challenges and responsibilities. It also holds particular pleasures: my students tend to be engaged, energetic and eager to understand. I work hard to give them the context – and the tools – to do so. One of the many joys of my life as a teacher is that, alongside the brutal realities of warfare, ethnic cleansing, and political repression, I can also share some of the joyful or less well-known elements of Middle Eastern culture: the Sufi rituals of the Mevlevi, the pleasures of Islamic calligraphy (hatt), the energy of the Istanbul hip hop scene.
In addition to my purely scholarly work, I speak regularly to government officials, the press, and community groups regarding issues related to Turkey and the Middle East. I have also served as a Country Specialist on Turkey for Amnesty International - USA since 2006.