Professor Benjamin Fortna
BA (Yale), MA (Columbia), PhD (Chicago)
Professor Fortna is an historian of the Modern Middle East with a particular research focus on the late Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish Republic. His publications include Imperial Classroom: Islam, Education and the State in the Late Ottoman Empire (Oxford University Press, 2002), The Modern Middle East: A Sourcebook for History, co-edited with C Amin and E Frierson (Oxford University Press, 2005) and Learning to Read in the late Ottoman Empire and the Early Turkish Republic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010). His current research explores the final years of the Ottoman Empire through the life story of an Ottoman special operations officer active in various wars between 1911 and 1920.
He serves as series editor with Professor Ulrike Freitag (Berlin) of the SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East and on several editorial boards, including the Turkish Historical Review and Middle Eastern Studies. He has appeared on such BBC programmes as Who Do You Think You Are? and The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Empire.
Previous PhD Students
Sultonbek Aksakolov, 'Islam in Soviet Tajikistan: State Policy, Religious Figures and the Practice of Religion (1943-1991)', 2014
Rose Esber, 'War in Mandate Palestine: 29 November 1947 to 15 May 1948', 2002
Florian Riedler, 'Opposition to the Tanzimat State: Conspiracy and Legitimacy in the Ottoman Empire, 1859-1878', 2003
Otto Pohl, 'Shallow Roots: The Exile Experiences of the Russian-Germans, Crimean Tatars and Meskhetian Turks in Comparative Perspectives', 2004
Nazan Çiçek, 'The Eastern Critics of the "Eastern Question": The Young Ottomans 1866-1871', 2005
Sotirios Dimitriadis, 'The Making of an Ottoman Port City: The State, Local Elites and Urban Space in Salonica, 1870-1912', 2013.
Halil Ibrahim Erbay, 'Teaching and Learning in the Madrasas of Istanbul During the Late Ottoman Period', 2009
John Harte, 'Contesting The Past in Mandate Palestine: History Teaching for Palestinian Arabs under British Rule', 2009
Antonis Hadjikyriacou, 'Society And Economy on an Ottoman Island: Cyprus in the Eighteenth Century', 2011
Stefano Taglia, 'The intellectual's dilemma: The Writings of Ahmet Riza and Mehmet Sabahettin on Reform and the Future of the Ottoman Empire', 2012
Pheroze Unwalla, 'Re-Imagining Gallipoli: Imperial Pasts and Foreign Presence in a History of Turkish National Remembrance, 1923-2013', 2014.
Melania Savino, 'Archaeology and its Representation in the Turkish Republic, 1923-1960', 2013
Michael Hadley Talbot, 'British Diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire during the Long Eighteenth Century', 2013
Philipp Christian Wirtz, '"Image of a Past World": Depictions of the late Ottoman Empire in Turkish Autobiographies', 2013
PhD Students supervised
- Ayca Baydar, The Hybrid Identity of the Karamanlis
- Caner Yelbasi, From the Empire to the Nation State; Circassians in Turkey (1908-1938)
- Cihan Celik, The Nature of the Turkish Autoritarianism, 1930-1945
- Ferah Contopoulos-Engin, The Role of the Media in Greek-Turkish Relations since 1999.
- Marie Tomb,
- Umit Eser , Ottoman Bureaucrats in the Greek-Occupied Zone of Asia Minor, 1919-22: Forms of Collaboration and Resistance
ResearchHistory of the Ottoman Empire; modern Middle East; History of Education
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- Special Study Programmes
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Fortna, Benjamin C (2010) Learning to Read in the late Ottoman Empire and the Early Turkish Republic. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
Fortna, Benjamin (2002) Imperial Classroom. Islam, Education and the State in Late Ottoman Empire. Oxford University Press.
Edited Books or Journal Volumes
Fortna, Benjamin C. and Katsikas, Stefanos and Kamouzis, Dimitris and Konortas, Paraskevas, eds. (2013) State-Nationalisms in the Ottoman Empire, Greece and Turkey: Orthodox and Muslims, 1830-1945. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. (SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East)
Amin, C. M. and Fortna, Ben and Frierson, E. B., eds. (2005) Modern Middle Eastern History: A Sourcebook. Oxford University Press (Oxford).
Fortna, Benjamin C (2011) 'Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire and After.' In: Cummings, Sally N and Hinnebusch, Raymond, (eds.), Sovereignty After Empire: Comparing the Middle East and Central Asia. Edinburgh University Press. (Forthcoming)
Fortna, Benjamin C (2010) 'The Ottoman Educational Legacy.' In: Kerslake, Celia and Öktem, Kerem and Robins, Philip, (eds.), Turkey's Engagement with Modernity: Conflict and Change in the Twentieth Century. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 15-26.
Fortna, Benjamin (2008) 'The reign of Abdülhamid II.' In: Kasaba, Resat, (ed.), The Cambridge History of Turkey. Volume 4: Turkey in the Modern World. Cambridge University Press, pp. 38-61.
Fortna, Benjamin (2007) 'Reading, Hegemony and Counterhegemony in the Late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic.' In: Chalcraft, J. and Noorani, Y., (eds.), Counterhegemony in the Colony and Postcolony. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 141-54.
Fortna, Benjamin (2007) 'Emphasizing the Islamic: Modifying the Curriculum of Late Ottoman State Schools.' In: Kreiser, Klaus and Georgeon, François, (eds.), Enfance et jeunesse dans l'islam – Chilhood and Youth in the Muslim World. Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, pp. 193-209.
Fortna, Benjamin (2002) 'Turkey - Education System.' In: Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 547-549.
Fortna, Benjamin (2000) 'The Kindergarten in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic.' In: Wollons, R., (ed.), Kindergartens and Cultures: The Global Diffusion of an Idea. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 251-273.
Fortna, Benjamin C (2011) 'Reading between Public and Private in the Late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic.' Comparative Studies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 30 (3). pp. 563-573. (Forthcoming)
Fortna, Benjamin (2004) 'Change in the School Maps of the Late Ottoman Empire.' Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography, vol. 5 . pp. 17-28.
Fortna, Benjamin (2001) 'Education and Autobiography at the End of the Ottoman Empire.' Die Welt des Islams, 41 (1). pp. 1-31.
Fortna, Benjamin (2001) 'Learning to Read in the Late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic.' Comparative Studies of South Asia Africa and the Middle East, 21 (1-2). pp. 33-41.
Fortna, Benjamin (2000) 'Remapping Ottoman Muslim Identity in the Hamidian Era: The Role of Cartographic Artifacts.' Yearbook of the Sociology of Islam, 3 . pp. 45-56.
Fortna, Benjamin (2000) 'Islamic Morality in Late Ottoman “SECULAR” Schools.' International Journal of Middle East Studies, 32 (3). pp. 369-393.