Ali Yaycioglu is an historian of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. He was born and raised in Ankara, Turkey. He studied International Relations at the Middle East Technical University, Ottoman History at Bilkent University, and Islamic legal history and Arabic at McGill University. After completing his Ph.D. in History and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard, he carried out a post-doctoral study in Greek and Hellenic Studies at Princeton and joined the History Department at Stanford in 2011. Dr. Yaycioglu is also an associate member of the Centre d'études turques, ottomanes, balkaniques et centrasiatiques at L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris. Dr. Yaycioglu's fields of interest include the transformations of the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth and ninteenth centuries in the broader context of transition from early-modern to modern world; restructring of economic and political institutions and ideas, and changes in social and religious life during this transformative time; Ottoman spatiality, spatial imaginations of life, nature and power, and digitial geo-spatial analysis; cultural history of Modern Turkey.
BOOKS AND ONGOING PROJECTS
His first book, Partners of the Empire: Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions (Stanford University Press, 2016) offers a radical rethinking the Ottoman Empire within the global context of the revolutionary age in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Partners of the Empire uncovers the patterns of political action—the making and unmaking of coalitions, forms of building and losing power, and expressions of public opinion. Countering common assumptions, the book argues that the Ottoman transformation in the Age of Revolutions was not a linear transition from the old order to the new, from decentralized state to centralized, from Eastern to Western institutions, or from pre-modern to modern. Rather, it was a condensed period of transformation that counted many crossing paths, as well as dead-ends, all of which offered a rich repertoire of governing possibilities to be followed, reinterpreted, or ultimately forgotten.
Dr. Yaycioglu's current book project, Power, Wealth and Death: The Moral Economny of State-Society in the Ottoman Empire, analyzes how people acquired wealth and power, how they sustained their wealth and power, how they lost them, and what happened when they lost their wealth, power and sometimes their lives roughly between late seventeenth to mid-ninteenth centuries. The book focuses on issues such as accumulation of capital in the hands of various actors, forms of debt and credit, topographies of property, possession and financial webs, confiscations and executions, as well as resistance to them in the Ottoman Empire. I challenge the old but persistent assumption that the Ottoman hypertrophied state tradition prevailed through systematic seizure and political eliminations. Instead, I argue that expropriations and executions were often part of intra-state competition between different groups, especially in times of crises. Since power and wealth were structured through complex ties of loyalties, patronage, debts, and credits, however, confiscations and executions had a dramatic influence on large groups and communities, which were linked to one another through political and fiscal webs that were often empire-wide.
Mapping Ottoman Epirus is a project designed and coordinated by Ali Yaycioglu and Antonis Hadjikyriacou of Bogazici University, Istanbul, with the technical assistance of CESTA with the collaboration of National Hellenic Research Foundation in Athens. The main aim of the project is to create a digital map, based on Geographic Information System and other digital tools, and visualize economic and political integration in Epirus (today in Western Greece and Southern Albania) within the Ottoman Empire in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
Dr. Yaycioglu is also working on an edited volume with Professor Cemal Kafadar (Harvard University), entitled Ottoman Topologies: Production of Space in an Early-Modern Empire, on spatiality, spatial orders and imaginations in the Ottoman World to be published in 2019.