Omer Topal

4th-year Ph.D. student
Jones Hall

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Prior to my arrival at Princeton, I completed my B.A. degree at TOBB University of Economics and Technology (Ankara, Turkey) and my M.A. degree at Binghamton University (Binghamton, USA), where my primary focus was the history of modern Middle East. My research interests include social and political history of the Middle East, Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf, and Ottoman modernization.

At Princeton, I focus on establishment of Ottoman authority in eastern Arabia during the nineteenth century. I aim to incorporate this region into the Ottoman historiography and extend the literature on the Ottoman modernization and centralization to this region. I also aim to add another layer to the literature on the state-making in Arabia by demonstrating the Ottoman influence on the Saudi state-making. The thin literature on the Ottoman presence in the Najd and Al-Ahsa generally examines the historical developments from the perspective of the Ottoman state, the Saudi dynasty, and the British Empire, so that I attempt to include the voice of the ordinary people by examining the agency of neglected groups.

Selected Publications

Academic Publications:

Omer Topal. “The politics of male circumcision in the late Ottoman Empire.” Middle Eastern Studies.

Omer Topal. “Friday Sermons and Complexities of Standardization in the Late Ottoman Empire.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (forthcoming, 2019).

Omer Topal and Hakan Ovunc Ongur. “Bridging the Gap Between the Particular and the Universal: An Intervention by Cemil Meriç.” Turkish Studies 18 (2017): 729-751.

Omer Topal. 2016. “Beşşar Esed Döneminde Toplumsal Muhalefet ve İç Savaş.” In Bağımsızlıktan Arap Baharı’na Suriye: İç ve Dış Politika edited by Mehmet Akif Okur and Nuri Salık, 67-99. Ankara: Nobel Yayınları.