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Baki Tezcan

Baki Tezcan

Associate Professor

Mailing address:
University of California
Department of History

Davis , CA 95616-8611
Office Phone: (530) 752-9981; Fax: (530) 752-9769


Tezcan is a graduate of Istanbul Lisesi. He got his B.S. in International Relations from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey (1994), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University (1996, 2001). You can find out more about him in Jon Li's "What's Going On?" on Davis Community TV.

Tezcan joined the History Department in 2002 (for the first thirteen years of his career at UC Davis, he was a faculty member in Religious Studies as well). He was one of the founders of the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program (ME/SA), which he directed from 2012 to 2015. In addition to History and Religious Studies, he also taught for ME/SA and Medieval and Early Modern Studies programs, and led the "Last Empire of Islam" Summer Abroad Program in Istanbul in 2007, 2009, and 2011 (for photographs from these summers, see the Facebook group "Baki's Bottle," named after the water bottle Tezcan held up while leading his students in tourist crowds). His advising work in multiple academic units brought him the UC Davis Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award in 2005.

Tezcan held an American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) postdoctoral fellowship funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2001-02. He was a Society for the Humanities fellow at Cornell University in 2005-06. In the fall of 2007, he taught a graduate seminar on early modern Ottoman history at UC Berkeley. During the 2011-12 academic year, he was a TÜBİTAK fellow at Istanbul Şehir University. His research in the summers of 2011 and 2012 was supported by a sabbatical grant from the Institute of Turkish Studies.

Tezcan is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Ottoman Studies since 2010. He served ARIT as a delegate at large (2010-12), the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association as an executive board member (2010-13), and the Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient as a member of its editorial board (2010-12). He is an associate member of the Institute of Turkish Studies, one of the co-founders of the Western Ottomanists' Workshop (WOW) and GIT - North America, and an occasional contributor (in Turkish) to Bianet.

You can watch Tezcan deliver public lectures introducing his book (The Second Ottoman Empire) to audiences in Istanbul (at the History Foundation on June 14, 2012 and at Şehir University on November 30, 2011 and May 31, 2012 [the latter as part of a workshop session]), talk about Ibrahim Müteferrika's treatise on Islam, and join his Turkish colleagues in their protest of a statement by the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan (all five clips in Turkish, the last one with English subtitles). To find out how he sounds in English, you can watch him talk about his book at a panel that was part of a conference held at George Mason University in March 2011 (he starts at 00:41:40). Every once in a while, you might also see him live on stage in Davis.

Research Interests

Mainly pre-modern Middle Eastern history, focusing on such topics as Ottoman political history in the 16th-18th centuries; pre-modern ethnic and racial identities in the Islamic world; Ottoman perceptions of others; Ottoman and modern Turkish historiography; fiscal and monetary history; Islamic law, and the intellectual tradition of Islam with a special emphasis on the relationship between politics, on the one hand, and philosophy and science, on the other.

Currently, Tezcan is revising the Turkish translations of his work, working on two articles ("Muslihiddin Lari (d. 1572): The fate of an immigrant polymath in the sixteenth-century Ottoman Empire," and "From Veysî (d. 1628) to Üveysî (fl. ca. 1630): Ottoman Advice Literature and Its Discontents "), and writing a book on Ottoman historiography.

Selected Publications

Recent articles (from the last five years):

"II. Osman nasıl 'Genç Osman' oldu?" Derin Tarih 33 (December 2014): 74-79. A partial reproduction of “‘Genç’ Osman neden tahttan indirildi? Osmanli tarihyaziminda bir yolculuk.” In Osmanli Imparatorlugu’nda Isyan ve Ayaklanma, translated by Deniz Berktay [revised Turkish translation of “The 1622 military rebellion in Istanbul: a historiographical journey,” in Mutiny and Rebellion in the Ottoman Empire, edited by Jane Hathaway (Madison: University of Wisconsin, Center for Turkish Studies, 2004), pp. 25-43], pp. 43-78. Istanbul: Alkım, 2010.

"İbrâhîm Müteferrika ve Risâle-i İslâmiyye [in Turkish]," in Kitaplara Vakfedilen Bir Ömre Tuhfe: İsmail E. Erünsal’a Armağan, eds. Hatice Aynur, Bilgin Aydın, and Mustafa Birol Ülker, 2 vols., vol. 1, pp. 515-56. Istanbul: Ülke Yayınları, 2014.

"Law in China or Conquest in the Americas: Competing Constructions of Political Space in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire," Journal of World History 24 (2013): 107-34.

"The Memory of the Mongols in Early Ottoman Historiography," in Writing History at the Ottoman Court: Editing the Past, Fashioning the Future, eds. H. Erdem Çıpa and Emine Fetvacı, pp. 23-38. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.

** Turkish translation of "The Memory of the Mongols": "Erken Osmanlı Tarih Yazımında Moğol Hatıraları," translated by Dr. Zeynep Nevin Yelçe, in Journal of Turkish Studies 40 (2013): 385-99; reprinted in Osmanlı Sarayında Tarihyazımı, eds. H. Erdem Çıpa and Emine Fetvacı, trans. Mete Tunçay (Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2014), s. 27-45.

"The Many Lives of the First Non-Western History of the Americas: From the New Report to the History of the West Indies," Journal of Ottoman Studies 40 (2012) [Part II of Other Places: Ottomans traveling, seeing, writing, drawing the world: Essays in honor of Thomas D. Goodrich. A special double issue, 39-40 (2012) in honor of Thomas D. Goodrich, co-edited by Gottfried Hagen and Baki Tezcan]: 1-38.

"Who Gets to Write History? Contemporary Texts on the Regicide of Osman II and their Impact on Ottoman Historiography," in Political Initiatives "From the bottom up" in the Ottoman Empire: Halcyon Days in Crete VII -- A Symposium Held in Rethymno, 9-11 January 2009, ed. Antonis Anastasopoulos, pp. 251-62. Rethymno: Crete University Press, 2012.

"Kadızadeli," and "Racism," in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, eds. Gerhard Bowering et al., pp. 292-3, 457-8. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.

"Ottoman Historical Writing." In The Oxford History of Historical Writing, vol. 3: 1400-1800, edited by Jose Rabasa, Masayuki Sato, Edoardo Tortarolo and Daniel Woolf, pp. 192-211. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

"Karanlığı Dağıtmak: Molla Ali’nin Yaşamı ve Eserleri Işığında 17. Yüzyıl Başlarında Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda 'Irk' Siyaseti." In Osmanlı Dünyasında Kimlik ve Kimlik Oluşumu: Norman Itzkowitz Armağanı, edited by Baki Tezcan and Karl K. Barbir, translated by Dr. Zeynep Nevin Yelçe [revised Turkish translation of “Dispelling the Darkness: The politics of ‘race’ in the early seventeenth century Ottoman Empire in the light of the life and work of Mullah Ali.” In Identity and Identity Formation in the Ottoman World: A Volume of Essays in Honor of Norman Itzkowitz, edited by Baki Tezcan and Karl K. Barbir, pp. 73-95. Madison: University of Wisconsin, Center for Turkish Studies, 2007], pp. 91-116. Istanbul: İstanbul Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayınları, 2012.

"Bilim Üzerinden Siyaset: Erken Modern Osmanlı Bilimi Üzerine Düşünceler." In Hakim Paradigmaların Ötesinde: Rifa'at Abou-El-Haj'a Armağan, edited by Donald Quataert and Baki Tezcan, translated by Aytek Sever [revised Turkish translation of “Some Thoughts on the Politics of Early Modern Ottoman Science.” In Beyond Dominant Paradigms in Ottoman and Middle Eastern/North African Studies: A Tribute to Rifa'at Abou-El-Haj, edited by Donald Quataert and Baki Tezcan, pp. 135-56. Istanbul: İSAM, 2010], pp. 169-94. Ankara: Tan Kitabevi Yayınları, 2012.

“Ethnicity, Race, Religion and Social Class: Ottoman Markers of Difference.” In The Ottoman World, edited by Christine Woodhead, pp. 159-70. London: Routledge, 2012.

“The New Order and the Fate of the Old: The historiographical construction of an Ottoman ancien régime in the nineteenth century.” In Tributary Empires in Global History, edited by Peter F. Bang and Christopher A. Bayly, pp. 74-95. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

“Hanafism and the Turks in al-Tarasūsī’s Gift for the Turks (1352).” Mamluk Studies Review 15 (2011): 67-86.

“The ‘Frank’ in the Ottoman Eye of 1583.” In The Turk and Islam in the Western Eye (1453-1750): Visual Imagery before Orientalism, edited by James Harper, pp. 267-96. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2011.

“‘High’ and ‘low’ literature as alternative media for different messages in the Ottoman world of letters in the first half of the seventeenth century.” Journal of Turkish Studies / Türklük Bilgisi Araştırmaları 35 (2011) [Festschrift for Walter Andrews, Part 3]: 263-7.

** Turkish translation of "'High' and 'low' literature": “On yedinci yüzyılın ilk yarısında Osmanlı edebiyat dünyasında farklı mesajların alternatif ortamları: ‘yüksek kültür’ ve ‘halk kültürü,’” translated by Dr. Zeynep Nevin Yelçe. Journal of Turkish Studies / Türklük Bilgisi Araştırmaları 35 (2011) [Festschrift for Walter Andrews, Part 3]: 269-73.

“Tarih Üzerinden Siyaset: Erken Modern Osmanlı Tarihyazımı.” In Erken Modern Osmanlılar: İmparatorluğun Yeniden Yazımı, edited by Virginia H. Aksan and Daniel Goffman, translated by Güneş Ayas [revised translation of “The Politics of Early Modern Ottoman Historiography.” In The Early Modern Ottomans: Remapping the Empire, edited by Virginia H. Aksan and Daniel Goffman, pp. 167-98. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007], pp. 223-66. Istanbul: TİMAŞ, 2011.

For articles that were published before 2011, see Tezcan's page.

Course History

Introduction to the Middle East; World History, c. 1350-1850; Middle Eastern History III: The Ottomans, 1401-1730; undergraduate proseminars on such topics as Holy War in Comparative Perspective and modern Turkey; honors thesis advising on such topics as the Armenian Genocide and British Imperialism in Arabia; graduate seminars on race in pre-modern Islamic world and early modern Ottoman history; graduate reading courses on late medieval and early modern Middle Eastern history; undergraduate courses on Islam, the Qur’an, Islamic law, politics and religion, and pilgrimage (in Religious Studies Program) on Middle East and South Asia (in the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program), and on late medieval and early modern history of Europe (in the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program).