Benjamin Fortna

Director, School of Middle Eastern & North African Studies
Professor, History of Modern Middle East & Ottoman Empire

On sabbatical for the 2023-24 academic year.

Benjamin C. Fortna is a historian of the Modern Middle East with a particular research focus on the late Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish Republic.  His publications include Imperial Classroom: Islam, Education and the State in the Late Ottoman Empire (Oxford University Press, 2002), The Modern Middle East: A Sourcebook for History, co-edited with C. M. Amin and E. B. Frierson (Oxford University Press, 2005), Learning to Read in the Late Ottoman Empire and the Early Turkish Republic (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), Childhood in the Late Ottoman Empire and After, ed. (Brill, 2016) and The Circassian: A Life of Eşref Bey, Late Ottoman Insurgent and Special Agent (Hurst and Oxford University Press, 2016).

After completing degrees at Yale, Columbia and the University of Chicago, he taught at the School of Oriental & African Studies at the University of London for eighteen years.  During his time in London, he served as series editor with Professor Ulrike Freitag (Berlin) of the SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East and several editorial boards, including the Turkish Historical Review and Middle Eastern Studies.  He has appeared on such BBC programs as Who Do You Think You Are? and The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Neighbours.