Ali Yaycioğlu

Assistant Professor of Middle East History

At Stanford Since

B.S., Middle East Technical University, Ankara; M.A., Bilkent University, Ankara; Ph.D. Harvard University.
Headshot of Ali Yaycioglu

Research Interests

My work examines a wide range of practices, institutions, and political imaginations in the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. My forthcoming book, Partners of the Empire: Notables, Communities, and the Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions, 1760-1820, engages with new debates about the global age of revolutions beyond Western Europe and North America. In Partners of the Empire, I illustrate how the Ottoman story contributes to our understanding of the age of revolutions as a global phenomenon, and how discussions of the age of revolutions contribute to our understating of the Ottoman Empire in this transitional period. I argue that, like in many other polities, Ottoman political culture and public life produced several coalitions, institutions, and texts to cope with the challenges presented by dramatic developments in this radical age. I challenge the modernization narrative based on the binary between centralization and decentralization as the two only options for understanding Ottoman political culture and society. The Ottoman experience illustrates the viability of imperial integration based on partnerships and collective participation, without top-down centralization.

Currently, I am working on two different projects. The first one is on capital accumulation and imperial confiscations in the Ottoman Empire, roughly from the 16th to the early 19th centuries. In this project, I focus on economic and social implications of imperial confiscations and examine how some individuals and families developed strategies to maintain their wealth and power and to escape from the constant threat of imperial seizure or property. I also analyze how this instability of property rights affected attitudes towards inheritance, life and mortality in Ottoman society. My other project is on Ottoman spatial history. In this project, I focus on themes and problems such as (i) the transformation of spatial logic of Ottoman administration from the 15th to the early 19th centuries; (ii) the gradual consolidation of early-modern Ottoman territoriality; and (iii) coexisting spatial configurations that challenge or complement Ottoman imperial space, such as localisms and regionalisms, the medieval but enduring notion of Abode of Islam, the Chingissid idea of trans-regional nomadic space, and trans-imperial networks of merchant, religious, and diasporic communities.  



  • The Making of the Islamic World, 600-1300
  • Islamic Eurasia: Nomads, Merchants and Empires, 1300-1850
  • Empires, Markets and Networks: Early Modern Islamic World and Beyond, 1500-1800
  • The Ottoman Empire: 1300-1920
  • Research Seminar in History of the Ottoman Empire
  • Communities and Empire: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in the Ottoman Empire
  • Modern Turkey
  • Istanbul: History, Memory and Global Experience (Bing seminar)
  • Istanbul: Space, Memory and Protest  



Partners of the Empire: Communities, Notables and the Crisis of the Ottoman Order (1700-1820), completed manuscript, under review at Stanford University Press. 

Edited volume

With Cemal Kafadar, Ottoman Topologies: Spatial Experience in an Early Modern Empire and Beyond, in progress, to be submitted to Stanford University Press. 


Révolutions de Constantinople:  The French and the Ottoman Worlds in the Age of Revolutions,” in: French Mediterraneans: Transnational and Imperial Histories, edited by Patricia M.E. Lorcin and Todd Shepard (Lincoln, NE: Nebraska University Press, forthcoming in 2014).

“Rahova 1784: 18. Yüzyıl Osmanlı Balkanlarında Katılım, Bilgi ve Güç,” [Rahova 1784: Participation, Information and Power in the 18th-century Ottoman Balkans], in: Prof. Dr. Özer Ergenç’e Armağan, edited by Ümit Ekin (Istanbul: Bilge Kültür Sanat, 2013), pp. 458-76.

“Provincial Elites and the Empire in the Late Ottoman World: Conflict or Partnership?” in: The Ottoman World, edited by Christine Woodhead (London: Routledge Press, 2012), pp. 436-52.

 “Sened-i İttifak (1808): Bir Entegrasyon ve Ortaklık Denemesi.” [Deed of Agreement (1808): An Attempt of Integration and Partnership], in: Nizam-ı Kadimden Nizam-ı Cedide: III.Selim ve Dönemi, edited by Seyfi Kenan (Istanbul: İSAM, 2010), pp. 667-709.

“Rumeli’nde Geraylar ve Cengiz Mehmed Geray Sultan’ın Hikayesi,” [Gerays in Rumelia and Cengiz Mehmed Geray’s Story] XV. Türk Tarih Kongresi, Ankara: 11-15 Eylül 2006  vol. 2, (Ankara, 2010), pp. 489-494. (with Hakan Kırımlı).

 “Ottoman-Turkish Manuscripts in the Islamic and other Libraries of McGill University.” Fontanus 10 (1998), pp. 41-64.  (with Adam Gacek)

Articles in Progress

“Heirs of Genghiz Khan in the Age of Revolutions: The Gerays and Cengiz Mehmed Geray Sultan between the Ottoman and Russian Empires in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.” With Hakan Kırımlı. (Will be Work in Progress to be submitted for review in October 2014)

“Between Enlightened Despotism and Oriental Republicanism: The Ottoman Political Culture in Habsburg Diplomatic Reports, 1806-1808.”

“Wealth, Power and Death: Capital Accumulations and Imperial Confiscations in the Ottoman Empire, 1450-1830.”

The Janissaries: Moral Economy of Urban Radicalism in Early-modern Ottoman Empire

“The Shadow of Chinggis Khan on Istanbul: The Ottoman Empire in the Early-Modern Asian Context.

Encyclopedia Entries
“Ayan,” Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, edited by Gabor Agoston (Washington DC, 2008).

Fellowships and Awards

  • Mary Seeger O’Boyle Fellowship, Princeton University, 2008-09
  • Aga Khan Postdoctoral Fellowship for Islamic Art and Architecture, Harvard University, 2008
  • Harvard University - Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2006-07
  • Harvard University Merit Fellowship, 2004-05 
  • KRUPP Foundation Fellowship of Center for European Studies, 2003-04
  • ARIT (American Research Institute in Turkey) Fellowship, 2003-04      
  • Harvard University, Graduate, Fellowship, 1998-2002
  • McGill University, Islamic Studies Fellowship, 1996-98
  • Bilkent University Graduate Fellowship, 1994-97