I specialize in the Ottoman Empire before 1800, with a particular focus on the Arab provinces. Until recently, my research focused on Egypt and, to a lesser extent, Yemen. My current research project is a book-length study of the office of Chief Harem Eunuch of the Ottoman Empire. I received my Ph.D. from Princeton's Near Eastern Studies department in 1992; my advisor was Cemal Kafadar, who by the time I finished had already been "stolen" by Harvard. My B.A. (1982) and M.A. (1986) are from the University of Texas at Austin; my M.A. thesis was directed by Abraham Marcus.
I have also published numerous articles on related topics, and on Ottoman historiography and the repercussions in Egypt and Yemen of the movement of the 17th-century Jewish messianic figure Sabbatai Sevi. I am currently working on a book-length study of the office of Ottoman Chief Harem Eunuch.
I regularly offer undergraduate courses on the Ottoman Empire, 1300-1800; intellectual and social movements in the Muslim world; and Jewish communities under Islamic rule. I offer graduate courses on the Ottoman provinces, medieval Islamic history, chronicles as sources for Islamic history, and the Mamluk sultanate and its neighbors.
I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, and of the Comite International d'Etudes Pre-Ottomanes et Ottomanes (CIEPO). I have also served as president of the Turkish Studies Association and as a member of the American Historical Association's Professional Division.
I received the Harlan Hatcher Distinguished Faculty Award for 2013-14, only the second time a History Dept. faculty member has won this award.