Baki Tezcan



  • B.S., International Relations, Bilkent University in Ankara (1994)
  • M.A., Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University (1996)
  • Ph.D., Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University (2001)


Since 2002, Tezcan has been at UC Davis with a joint appointment in the departments of History and Religious Studies. He was one of the founders of the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program (ME/SA). 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 atIstanbul 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.

His research interests include 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 “), as well as writing a book on Ottoman historiography.


Department of History University of California, Davis