Indiana University Bloomington
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Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (SRIFIAS) Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) Summer Language Workshop (SWSEEL)

Kaya Sahin :: Faculty


Assistant Professor, Department of History
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Central Eurasian Studies; Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

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


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

Research Interests

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.

“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

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