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Arnab DeyKent F. Schull

Associate Professor
Editor of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (JOTSA)
Ph.D., UCLA, 2007
Ottoman History, Modern Middle East History, Crime & Punishment, Islamic Criminal Law, Muslims in North America & Europe.
Office: LT 802
Phone: (607) 777-6202

My general research and teaching endeavors focus on the history of the late Ottoman Empire and the Middle East during the 19th & 20th centuries. Research specializations include socio-legal history, state formation, criminal justice, incarceration, identity, and Islamic criminal law in the Ottoman Empire. I also conduct research on Muslim and Middle East diaspora populations in North America and Europe. My first book Prisons in the Late Ottoman Empire: Microcosms of Modernity (Edinburgh University Press, 2014) explores the transformation of the Ottoman Criminal Justice System (particularly prisons) during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and argues that the Ottoman prisons function as microcosms of imperial transformation. Many of the pressing questions of Ottoman modernity played out within these prisons. They include such issues as national identity, administrative rationalization and centralization, the transformation of Islamic criminal law, gender and childhood conceptualizations, the rehabilitation of prisoners, the government's expanding role in the lives of the population, the professionalization of the bureaucracy, and industrialization and economic development. In other words, prisons act as windows into broader imperial and social issues throughout the late Ottoman Empire that are comparable to other contemporary states in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.

My second book Living in the Ottoman Realm: Sultans, Subjects, and Elites (Indiana University Press, forthcoming 2015) is a co-edited with Dr. Christine Isom-Verhaaren. It investigates the transformation of what it meant to be Ottoman during the empire's long existence as it transformed from a pastoral-nomadic polity, to a conquest state, world empire, and nation-state by the end of its existence. The twenty-four contributors to this volume demonstrate how the central state, subjects, groups, allies, enemies, and the indifferent projected, adopted, contested, and negotiated their identities in relation to the Ottoman state.

My new major research project concerns the transformation of the Ottoman Criminal Justice System during the long nineteenth century to include the codification of criminal codes, the creation of criminal courts and new police forces, and criminal punishment. Similar to my first book I juxtapose imperial reform with the reality of practice. One central aspect of this project involves placing Ottoman criminal justice within a comparative Eurasian imperial context including Qing China, Qajar Iran, Czarist Russia, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This project has already received funding support from the Institute of Turkish Studies.

Closely related to this new research project is a new project I'm working on with Dr. M. Safa Saraçoğlu. This project involves the transliteration, translation, and analysis of the corpus of Ottoman laws and legislation during the nineteenth century known as the Düstur. The goal is to make these documents and their translations open source and accessible to scholars and the public in order to facilitate global comparative legal studies with the Ottoman Empire. This is a long-term project and we are seeking NSF and NEH funding for it. We have already received seed funding from Binghamton University and Bloomsburg University in Pennsylvania in support of this project.

In January 2014, I became editor of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (JOTSA). This journal is published twice annually with the plan to have it fully digital by spring 2015 issue. This journal represents the revivification of the Turkish Studies Association Journal. Binghamton University is supporting this journal with office space, computer, and a graduate research assistant.

In conjunction Gottingen University, the German Orient-Institut Istanbul, and Binghamton University I've established a Joint Summer Institute for Turkish Studies with funding support from SUNY Global and the Lois B. DeFleur International Innovation Fund. As part of this summer institute I'm leading a study abroad program to Turkey during the summer of 2015.

Undergraduate Courses:

• 20th Century Middle East
• Revolutions in the modern Middle East
• History of the Ottoman Empire, 13th-20th Century
• Palestine, Zionism, and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
• World War One and the Middle East
• Modern Iran
• Islamic Civilizations
• Istanbul: Imperial City
• Muslims in America
• History of Religion

Graduate Courses:

• Major Topics in Ottoman History
• Major Topics in Modern Middle East History
• Egypt since the Arab Conquest
• The United States and the Middle East

Select Publications:


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Last Updated: 8/22/14