Tolga U. Esmer

Academic rank: 
Assistant Professor
Position (magyar): 
Department of History
Nador u. 11
1995 - BA/BA- Hampden-Sydney College (Virginia), Departments of Economics and History - Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude
2000 - MA University of Washington, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
2009 – PhD University of Chicago, Department of History
Academic/Professional Experience and Achievements: 

I am a social and cultural historian who teaches classes on Ottoman, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Mediterranean history as well as broader thematic issues such as comparative empires, history of violence and state-building, social discontent and rebellion, Muslim-Christian relations, Islam in the Balkans, as well as everyday life history.  I have also taught classes on Islam and Islamic history at Northwestern and Pennsylvania State University.  Since coming to CEU in 2009, my MA students have placed in top PhD programs such as Princeton, Harvard, Chicago, and Michigan, and my PhD students have also been awarded very competitive research and write-up grants.

In terms of my research interests, I work on the imbrications of criminality, imperial governance, and their broader implications on inter- and intra-confessional relations and nation state-formation in the Ottoman world and its successor states.  I have a number of articles that will be coming out this year in journals such The Journal of Ottoman Studies (İSAM, İstanbul), the European Journal of Turkish Studies (L’Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales), as well as Past & Present (Oxford University).

I am currently working on a book that re-conceptualizes the phenomenon of banditry central to the narratives of disorder and disintegration that dominate the historiography of the late Ottoman Empire and its successor states by exploring how trans-regional networks of violence mediated social relations and drew together vast groups of society together.  The book approaches banditry and its attendant economies of violence as politicized sites of contestation in which socio-economic, moral, legal, and religious concerns of various groups in Ottoman society converged to highlight new tensions and define new relations at the eve of national revolutions.  These are processes that the fields of Ottoman, Balkan, and Middle Eastern history have studied separately yet were intimately connected and contingent. 

Fellowships and Awards

April 2009 American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) & National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) – Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2009-2010. April 2006 International Turkish Studies Association – Dissertation Write-Up Grant, 2006-2007. March 2006 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) – Dissertation Write-Up Fellowship, 2006-2007. May 2005 Fulbright-Hayes – Dissertation Research Grant, Bulgaria and Turkey (Declined). April 2005 German Marshall Fund – Dissertation Research Grant, Bulgaria and Turkey, 2005-2006. April 2005 American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) – Dissertation Write-Up Grant, 2005-6 (Declined). March 2005 International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX)- Dissertation Research Grant in Bulgaria and Turkey, 2005 – 2006. February 2005 American Research Institute of Turkey (ARIT) – Dissertation Research in Turkey, 2005-2006 April 2004 Fulbright IIE Grant – Dissertation Research in Bulgaria 2004-2005 April 2004 Council of American Overseas Research Centers Dissertation Research Grant (Declined).

Department of History
Academic/research topics: 
Ottoman Empire
Islamic and Balkan History
Frontier and Bordeland Studies