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Emrah Sahin

Center for European Studies


Phone: (352) 294-7143

Office Location: 3343 Turlington Hall

Area of specialization: Muslim and Turkish politics and society

Emrah Sahin (Ph.D., McGill University, 2012) is the Turkish Studies Lecturer at the University of Florida’s Center for European Studies. His research and teaching focus on Muslim and Turkish encounters with the modern world since the 19th century. His coming monograph, In Pursuit of Faith: Imperial State, American Missionaries, and Public Order in the Ottoman Empire, analyzes the production of an imperial bureaucratic discourse on American Evangelical missionary activity in Ottoman lands. His next project, envisaged as a book within the next five years, will examine European influence on early Turkish conservatism and its implications for the making of Modern Turkish-Islamist identity. Sahin has edited volumes on early U.S.-Turkish relations and Ottoman administration in Africa, and published articles in the International Journal of Turkish Studies, the Journal of American Studies of Turkey, and the Journal of the Historical Society. His teaching received the Arts Faculty Teaching Award at McGill and competed for the Teacher of the Year award at Florida. His latest article, “Sultan’s America: Lessons from Ottoman Encounters with the United States,” won the Turkish Culture and Art fellowship as best article of the year from the Turkish Cultural Foundation.

Selected Publications

  • Monograph, In Pursuit of Faith. In progress.
  • As editor, Transatlantic Crossings: Culture, Trade, and Politics in Early U.S.-Turkish Relations. Ankara: Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TICDA), in press.
  • “Ottoman Prophecy of a Muslim America.” In Transatlantic Crossings.
  • Invited article, “Sultan’s America.” Journal of American Studies of Turkey 39 (2014): 55-76.
  • “Ottoman Society.” In Andrea Stanton et al., eds., Cultural Sociology of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. California: SAGE, 2012, vol. I, 185-190.
  • As co-author, “Construction of National Identities in Early Republics: A Comparison of the American and Turkish Cases.” Journal of the Historical Society 10 (December 2010): 507-531.
  • “Jewish Emigration to Turkey in the 1930s.” International Journal of Turkish Studies 15 (2009): 115-119.
  • Invited chapter, “Early Turkish Migration to the United States.” In Kemal Karpat, ed., Turkish Migration to the United States: From Ottoman Times to the Present. Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2008, 87-101.
  • Chapter in Turkish, “Faith and Holy Professions.” In İlber Ortaylı, ed., Anadolu’da İslam Kültür ve Medeniyeti [Islamic culture and civilization in Anatolia]. Ankara: Presidency of Religious Affairs, 2007, 28-32.
  • “Thinking Religion Globally, Acting Missionary Locally: Last Century’s American Missionary Experience in the Near East.” World History Bulletin 23 (2007): 33-36.
  • Solicited review of Localizing Islam in Europe by Ahmet Yükleyen. American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 30 (2013): 112-115.
  • Review of From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean by Sebouh David Aslanian. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 56 (2013): 309-311.


Sahin’s research focuses upon modernity and religion in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey since the late 19th century and examines classical themes of diplomacy and culture through newer comparative and interdisciplinary approaches. It seeks to reinvent the ways in which diplomatic and cultural forces have been shaped by, and in many ways dependent upon, commercial and religious encounters taking place beyond Near and Middle Eastern borders in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the United States. His current projects explore three topics, that are paradoxically at once recognized as crucially important and yet under-researched: first, in a monograph project, the treatment of foreign missionaries in the Ottoman Empire; second, in a volume, the complexity of early interactions between Turkey and the United States; and third, in a future book, the emergence of Turkish religious conservatism under Western influence.

The monograph project, to be submitted for consideration by May 2015, is based on Sahin’s doctoral dissertation, entitled “Responding to American Missionary Expansion: An Examination of Ottoman Imperial Statecraft, 1880-1910.” It explains the production of an Ottoman official discourse on American missionary activity in specific parts of the Empire. Imperial, provincial, and judicial records gathered from Ottoman archives provide the core evidence for this work. In it, Sahin takes issue with the existing literature depicting Ottoman imperial authorities as rigid bureaucrats and American Evangelical missionaries as idealistic reformers. Rather, he portrays Ottoman bureaucracy in its complexity and exposes interactions among various stakeholders.

The volume project, to be published by Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency in early 2015, is titled, Transatlantic Crossings: Culture, Trade, and Politics in Early U.S.-Turkish Relations. Whereas most scholarship start U.S.-Middle East relations from the post-World War I period, this work finds the roots of relations within the social and cultural interactions that, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, involved agents of commerce, diplomacy, migration, and missionary activity.

The future project, envisaged in the form of a book, aims to trace modern Islamist norms within the context of European civilizations, and the emergence of Turkish-Muslim conservatism with inspirations from 19th-century France—a topic related to Sahin’s original interest in the transformation of Turkish-Muslim identity. It would explore inconsistent, yet co-existent, foundations of Turkish Islamism in European and Islamic traditions, and present contemporary ascendancy of religious conservatism in Turkey as a reaction to the formative secular changes afoot between the 1870s and 1930s.