School of Global and International Studies

Central Eurasian Studies

Kaya Şahin

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Associate Professor, Department of History
Academic Director, IU Eurasia Gateway
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Central Eurasian Studies
Adjunct Associate Professor, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Office: Ballantine Hall 814
Phone: (812) 856-0309


Ph.D. in History, University of Chicago, 2007

Research Interests

  • The institutional and ideological foundations of the Ottoman imperial praxis
  • Comparative studies of early modern Eurasian empires
  • Ottoman and modern Turkish historiography
  • The Ottoman-Safavid rivalry
  • Inter-cultural and inter-religious exchanges in early modern Eurasia

Personal Statement 

I am a historian of the early modern Ottoman Empire, with a particular interest in history writing, governance, religious/confessional identity, and the construction of discourses/fictions around the question of what it meant to be an Ottoman.
My first book revolves around the life and writings of an Ottoman career bureaucrat, Celalzade Mustafa (ca. 1490-1567), and discusses the rise of a new Ottoman bureaucracy, the emergence of a new historical consciousness, and the creation of an Ottoman imperial culture that saw itself in direct competition with the Habsburgs and the Safavids. I argue that Ottoman attempts at empire-building in the first half of the sixteenth century reflect the general trends of a world-historical moment, and that the Ottomans have to be evaluated together with a host of other polities extending from Tudor England to Mughal India and beyond.
I see early modern Eurasia as a relatively unified ecological, political and cultural zone; and early modernity as a crucial period that allows us to critically re-evaluate modernity. Without ignoring the specificity of any local/regional experiences, I continue to use a comparative approach in my current research projects, which deal with issues such as the cultural and religious aspects of the Ottoman-Safavid rivalry in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the European views/representations of the early modern Sunni-Shiite divide, and the fabrication of consent and legitimacy in early modern Eurasian empires.


Empire and Power in the Reign of Süleyman: Narrating the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman World. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

Turkish translation: Kanuni Devrinde İmparatorluk ve İktidar: Celalzade Mustafa ve 16. Yüzyıl Osmanlı Dünyası. Trans. Ahmet Tunç Şen. Istanbul: Yapı Kredi, 2014.

“Courtly Connections: Anthony Sherley’s Relation of his Trauels into Persia (1613) in a Global Context,” Renaissance Quarterly, 69, 1 (2016): 80-115, co-authored with Julia Schleck.
“Imperialism, Bureaucratic Consciousness and the Historian’s Craft: A Reading of Celalzade Mustafa’s Tabakatu’l-memalik.” In Editing the Past, Fashioning the Future: Historiography of the Ottoman Empire, edited by Erdem Çıpa and Emine Fetvacı. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.
“Constantinople and the End Time: The Ottoman Conquest as a Portent of the Last Hour.” Journal of Early Modern History 14 (2010): 317-54.

Honors and Awards
NEH Summer Institute Co-organizer, “Beyond East and West: the Early Modern World, 1400-1800,” Indiana University, June-July 2017.
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship, 2015-16
Renaissance Society of America, elected Discipline Representative, the Islamic World, 2015-
NEH Summer Institute Participant, “Empires and Interactions across the Early Modern World, 1400-1800,” St. Louis University, June 2013
SSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship for Transregional Research: Inter-Asian Contexts and Connections, 2012-2013
Sherman Emerging Scholar, 2011-2012, University of North Carolina-Wilmington
The Newberry Library, Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, 2010-2011
NEH Summer Seminar Participant, “Re-Mapping the Renaissance: Exchange between Early Modern Islam and Europe,” University of Maryland, June-July 2011.
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Middle Eastern Studies, Northwestern University, Department of History, 2007-2008

Department of Central Eurasian Studies
Global and International Studies Building 3024
East Building, 3rd Floor
355 North Jordan Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-1105

Phone: (812) 855-2233
Fax: (812) 855-7500