Robert W. Zens

Robert Zens

Associate Professor

Reilly Hall 406
Le Moyne College
1419 Salt Springs Road
Syracuse, NY 13214


(315) 445-4474


Associate Professor of History; Ottoman Empire, Middle East, Islam, Balkans

I received my B.A. in History with a concentration in Medieval and Renaissance Studies from the University of Dallas. As an undergraduate I had the pleasure of studying abroad in Rome, allowing me to experience the Mediterranean world first hand.  My time in Rome spurred my interest in further exploring this area of the world.  This interest eventually led me to the study of the Ottoman Empire.  I received an M.A. and Ph.D. (2004) in Ottoman History with subfields of Byzantine, Imperial Russian, and Spanish history as well as South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin­, Madison.  Prior to teaching at Le Moyne College, I taught at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for three years.  I was drawn to the Jesuit liberal arts tradition of Le Moyne which is very similar to the undergraduate institution I attended because of the emphasis on providing a wide ­ranging education and the close student ­teacher relationship.  It is my desire to create in the classroom a passion for acquiring knowledge. My research interests lie within the eighteenth and early nineteenth­ century Ottoman Empire.  Presently I am working on a monograph on Ottoman provincial elites. I conduct most of my research at the Ottoman archives in Istanbul, Turkey.  Additionally, I am the managing editor of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association.

World Civilizations I & II
Early Islamic History, 600-1258
Empires of Islam: The Ottomans, Safavids/Qajars and Mughals
Modern Middle East History, 1792-2000
Sovereignty and Islam
History and Memory in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
State and Faith in the Middle East

Recent and Forthcoming Publications

Recent Conference Presentations

  • "The Ottoman Connection," World History Association, San Diego CA, June 2010.
  • "Looking to the East: A Comparison of Ottoman and Qing Provincial Elites," Great Lakes Ottomanist Workshop, Montreal, March 2010.
  • “Ottoman Provincial Notables in the Eighteenth Century: A Comparative Study,” Comité International d'études Pre-ottomanes et Ottomanes, Zagreb, Croatia, August 2008.

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