Personal profile

Research overview

Why did the Ottoman and Safavid realms rely on the institution of military slavery while the Mughals did not? Rather than in military history, I argue that the answers to this question are embedded in comparative notions of rulership. By bringing concepts of kingship and slavery into dialogue, my proposed study aims to conceptualize how and why certain Islamic realms developed institutions of military slavery – or not. Due to the comparative dearth of studies about military slavery in the Ottoman Empire focusing on the Janissaries versus the ghulam in the Safavid realm, my study aims to bring the three Islamic realms into a dialogue that centres the phenomenon of military slavery.

While kingship has been at the centre of scholarly debates on political and religious change in early modern Islamicate empires, the importance of slavery has not been sufficiently considered when it comes to the evolution of religious politics in this period. My research suggests that rather than focusing only on particular confessional labels like ‘Sunni’ or ‘Twelver Shiʿi’ that gained new importance in this era, we must continue to theorize social dynamics informing the continued “confessional ambiguity,” and seek to understand how these labels were further complicated by the dynamics of military slavery, clientage, and tribal loyalties. Although the sovereigns of the Ottoman and Safavid realms certainly advocated for the confessional unification of their realms, we also know from the study of empires that sovereigns we also know from the study of empires that sovereigns negotiated between groups. In other words, they had to wear multiple ‘crowns’ for different audiences, depending on the nature of their bond to the ruler. This ‘sacral realm’, as I call it, delineates a sacred political topography that explores the relationships with monarchs, be they sultans or shahs, and the ruled in various Islamicate realms.

Academic/Professional Qualification

MA in Comparative History - Central European University, Budapest, Hungary (2020)

BA in History (Hons) - University of Texas, Austin, Texas, United States (2017)

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, Central European University

Award Date: 27 Jun 2020

Bachelor of Arts, University of Texas

Award Date: 19 May 2017

External positions

Doctoral Candidate (cotutelle), University of Bonn

30 Sept 2021 → …