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Ugur Pece portrait

Uğur Zekeriya Peçe

Assistant Professor

Room 347 - Maginnes Hall

PhD, History, Stanford University, 2016

MA, Southeast European Studies, University of Athens, Greece, 2008

MA, History, Sabanci University, Turkey, 2007

BA, Economics, Bogazici University, 2003

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Additional Interests

  • Ottoman Empire
  • Modern Middle East
  • History of Emotions and Senses
  • Violence and displacement

Research Statement

A historian of the Ottoman Empire and modern Middle East, I research and write on the histories of violence, displacement, protest, emotions and senses. My book manuscript in progress, Island and Empire: Civil War, Displacement, and Protest in the Ottoman Mediterranean, explores the connections between displacement and protest in the late Ottoman Empire. Drawing on archival work in multiple countries and languages, Island and Empire examines the trans-nationalization of a civil war on the geostrategic island of Crete and investigates how the ensuing displacement of Muslims eventually shaped the vocabulary and performance of protest in the Ottoman Empire. In my second book project, I expand on my current interest in displacement and explore the last hundred years of the Ottoman Empire through the lens of mobility and migration. Through a focus on multiple cases of displacement involving diverse populations, I seek to situate the eastern Mediterranean within the global narrative of uprooting and mobility of people. With a temporal scope from the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830) to the internationally sanctioned ethnic cleansing known as the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey (1923-24), this project analyzes border-making, resettlement of refugees, and trans-imperial public opinion surrounding the displacement of Ottoman populations.


Born and raised in Turkey, Uğur Zekeriya Peçe received his PhD degree in History from Stanford University in 2016. Before making it to California for doctoral work, Uğur was busy experiencing life in the eastern Mediterranean world. Prior to his joining the History Department at Lehigh in 2018, he taught at Bard College (History & Middle Eastern Studies) and Harvard University (History & Literature). 

Island and Empire: Civil War, Displacement, and Protest in the Ottoman Mediterranean (book manuscript under review)

“Louder than Death: Sounds of Protest in the Ottoman Empire” (article under review)

“The Conscription of Greek Ottomans into the Sultan’s Army, 1908-1912,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 52, no. 3, 2020: 433-448.

“An Island Unmixed: European Military Intervention and the Displacement of Crete’s Muslims, 1896-1908,” Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 54, no. 4, 2018: 575-591.

Recent Presentations

“Words and Deeds: The Cretan Factor in the Ottoman Empire,” Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Denver, December 3, 2022.

“The Myth of Islamic Fatalism: How Ottoman Peasants Became the Unwanted of Europe in a Climate of Conflict,” The 12th Nordic Conference on Middle Eastern Studies, The Middle East in Myth and Reality, University of Iceland, September 22-24, 2022.

“Sound of Protest, Color of Displacement: Cretan Refugee Protestors in the Late Ottoman Empire,” New Perspectives on Middle East Migrations, The Khayrallah Center at North Carolina State University, July 11-13, 2022.

“Protest in Exile: Experiencing Displacement in Ottoman Sites of Popular Assembly,” Narrating Exile in and between Europe and the Ottoman Empire/Modern Turkey, University of Amsterdam, November 11-12, 2021.

“Breaking Bread in the Barracks: The Making of a Multi-Religious Army in the post-Revolutionary Ottoman Empire,” Middle East Studies Association (MESA), October 7, 2020 (online).


HIST 495 – Readings in Transnational Ottoman History 
HIST 398/498 – Leaving Home: Migrants and Refugees of the Middle East 
HIST 090 – America Goes to the Middle East 
HIST 095 – Empire, War, and Resistance in the Middle East 
HIST/GS 101 – Histories of Globalization