M. Safa Saraçoğlu, professor of history

M. Safa Saraçoğlu, professor of history

M. Safa Saraçoğlu

Dr. Saraçoğlu is a professor of history focusing on Middle East and Islamic Studies with a particular focus on the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans. He serves as the Director of the Digital Humanities Initiative and the chair of the Middle East Studies Minor at Bloomsburg University.

2018 Scholarship
• Dr. Saraçoğlu’s book Ninteenth-Century Local Governance in Ottoman Bulgaria: Politics in Provincial Councils was published by Edinburgh University Press. The book’s cover features an artwork by Sue O’Donnell, associate professor of Graphic Design at Bloomsburg University, who kindly designed the book cover. The book launched Edinburgh Studies on the Ottoman Empire. Saraçoğlu wrote a blog entry that appeared on the EUP site to explain the motivation behind the volume.

2017 Scholarship
• In July Dr. Saraçoğlu presented “Introducing CRIOS: A Database Focusing on the Codification Movement and the Rhetoric of Law in the 19th century Ottoman Empire,” at the 14th International Congress of Ottoman Social and Economic History (ICOSEH) in Sofia, Bulgaria.
• He was granted a Research and Scholarship Fellowship, ($4,000) to conduct research in Bulgaria and Turkey.

2016 Scholarship
• Dr. Saraçoğlu coedited Law and Legality in the Ottoman Empire and Republic of Turkey (Indiana University Press) with Kent Schull and Robert Zens. This was a slightly expanded reprint of a special issue of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association (also co-edited by Kent Schull). Dr. Saracoglu co-wrote the introduction and one of the chapters in the volume. Contributors of Law and Legality argue that Ottoman Islamic/customary law represents a dynamic but formal normative order. The formalization of law is a political process necessitating negotiations among different groups, requiring justification and legitimization. Legitimacy, in this context, becomes a negotiated political understanding dealing with a particular political/moral question: “What gives this (or any) particular law‐maker the right to demand what one should obey?” Too often the Euro‐centric accounts of the Ottoman Empire fail to understand the normative consistency in the Ottoman legal system. The authors aim to undo this by questioning “how law was legitimized” in the Ottoman Empire between 16th and 19th centuries. This book was a result of a multi‐session panel that Dr. Saracoglu designed and organized in 2013. Before Indiana University Press decided to publish it as a separate volume, it was published as a special issue of Journal of Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association’s Spring 2015 issue.
• In August he presented “Using Drupal for Establishing a Collaborative Research Initiative in Ottoman Sociolegal Studies” at the annual conference of the Association for Documentary Editing in New Orleans.
• In November, he presented “Corruption, Ottoman Style: Problematization of Provincial Governance in the 19th Century Ottoman Empire,” at Middle East Studies Association’s 50th annual meeting in Boston.
• He worked with students BU students Ameerah Muhammad and Ozlem Yilmaz who presented “Advocating for a Better Environment for Muslim Students” at the PASSHE State System Summit 2016
• He gave two public talks on the Syrian refugee crisis: “Syrian Refugee Debates,” (the keynote address for a conference organized by the Consortium for Educational Resources on Islamic Studies [CERIS] at University of Pittsburgh in April); and “Refugees and Governance: An Assessment of the Current Refugee Crisis” (in November for the Refugee Working Group, Indiana PA)
• He was granted a Margin of Excellence Scholarship ($10,000) to expand his digital humanities project Collaborative Research Initiative in Ottoman Sociolegal Studies (CRIOS)

2015 Scholarship
• Dr. Saraçoğlu published “Provincial Politics, Economic Liberalism and Government in 19th Century Ottoman Empire” as part of a special issue of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association that he co-edited with Kent Schull (SUNY Binghamton).
• In addition he published two book reviews in International Journal of Turkish Studies: a review of Frederick Anscombe, State, Faith, and Nation in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Lands (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014) and a review of John K. Bragg, Ottoman Notables and Participatory Politics: Tanzimat Reform in Tokat, 1839-1876 (New York: Routledge, 2014).
• He presented a paper titled “From Ihtisab to Provincial Councils: Control of Markets and Urban Governance in the 19th Century Ottoman Empire” as an invited participant of the workshop “Ottoman Municipalities – Governing the late Ottoman Cities” organized by Petar Todorov of Istanbul Sehir University. Also in Istanbul Sehir University he gave a public lecture focusing on his digital humanities project on Islamic Law: “Pick and Choose: Editing of and the Commonplaces within Düstur-ı Atik.”
• In June, he attended Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents, organized by the Association for Documentary Editing, in Lincoln, NE. This workshop was designed to train a limited number of scholars in developing digital humanities projects focusing on historical documents.
• In November, he presented “Corruption and Markets in 19th Century Ottoman Laws” at Middle East Studies Association’s 49th annual meeting in Denver.
• He was granted a Research and Scholarship Fellowship, ($5,000) to conduct research in Turkey for his digital humanities project Collaborative Research Initiative in Ottoman Sociolegal Studies.
• He gave a public talks on the refugee crisis: “Understanding the Syrian Refugee Crisis,” at Bloomsburg Public Library

2014 Scholarship
• In April Dr. Saraçoğlu gave a lecture, “People and Property in 19th Century Transjordan,” at University of Pittsburgh, Global Studies Center.
• He was granted two grants for his digital humanities project Collaborative Research Initiative in Ottoman Sociolegal Studies: a Research and Scholarship Fellowship, ($5,000) to collect sources/obtain copyright clearances and a Margin of Excellence Grant ($10,000) to contract server-space, purchase necessary software for the development of a database.

2013 Scholarship
• Dr. Saraçoğlu, organized a four-panel discussion on Legitimizing Law in the Ottoman Empire at the 47th annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association in New Orleans, from Oct. 10 to 13. The session reflected a select group of responses to a call for papers Saraçoğlu issued in January. The mini-workshop involved 24 scholars from a variety of countries including Hungary, Israel, Turkey, United Kingdom and U.S. Saraçoğlu presented his research, “Düstur Before “Birinci Tertib:” Liberalism, Codification and Government in Nineteenth Century Ottoman Empire” in one of these panels.
• In addition he published two book reviews: a review of Isa Blumi, Foundations of Modernity: Human Agency and the Imperial State (New York: Routledge, 2012) in International Journal of Middle East Studies and a review of Ebubekir Ceylan, The Ottoman Origins of Modern Iraq: Political Reform, Modernization and Development in the Nineteenth Century Middle East (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2011) in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient.

2012 Scholarship
• During the 2012-2013 academic year, Dr. Saraçoğlu was a research fellow at Nantes Institute for Advanced Studies. During his tenure there he explored transformation of Islamic law and 18th and 19th centuries, delivered a working paper, attended the seminars at the Institute and presented a paper at a workshop that took in May 2013.