Jamie Pelling

7th-year Ph.D. student
Jones Hall

I came to Ottoman history determined to study the neglected middle-centuries and investigate closely ideas of "decline" through the 1700s. I was led astray, however, by the alluring object of the post-Tanzimat era as I increasingly chose to question how the Ottoman Empire stood in relation to theories of progress and modernisation given its somewhat distinct position on the edge of Europe and on the brink of colonialism. Having previously worked on the Ottoman diplomatic approach to the Seven Years War at the University of London and then a comparative history of Methodism and early Wahhabism for my MA at the University of Chicago, I have played around with different research ideas during my time at Princeton. In all these separate projects I noted a common thread of anxiety that drove Ottoman engagements with modernity and the consequent importance of moral concerns to ideas of modernity in the late-Ottoman Empire. My dissertation project, "Anxiety and Optimism: Morality in the late-Ottoman Empire" examines different sites, from large infrastructural projects to the aims of urban policing, to follow this thread of morality across the discourse of Ottoman modernity. 

Apart from my research, I am currently the Humanities and Social Sciences Fellow at the Prison Teaching Initiative, I help run the graduate colloquium in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and I am deeply allergic to cats.  

I welcome emails from prospective graduate students!