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Erik-Jan ZÜRCHER

Portrait Erik-Jan ZÜRCHER
Professeur des universités

Coordonnées professionnelles

e.j.zurcher[at]hum.leidenuniv.nl

Erik-Jan ZÜRCHER (1953) was awarded his MA in Middle East studies at Leiden University in 1977 and his Ph.D. at Leiden University in 1984. From 1977 to 1997 ZÜRCHER worked in the Catholic University of Nijmegen (now: Radboud University), first as a lecturer of Turkish, later as a senior lecturer in History of the Middle East. From 1989 to 1999 he headed the Turkish department of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. From 1993 to 1997 he held a private chair of Turkish History in the University of Amsterdam. Since 1997 he has held the chair of Turkish Studies in the University of Leiden. In 2008-2012 he was general director of the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. From 2012 to 2015 he was affiliate professor at Stockholm University.          

His main research interest is the political and social history of the late Ottoman Empire and the early Turkish Republic. He made his mark with two studies on political contestation in the early republic, The Unionist Factor (Leiden: Brill, 1984) and Political Opposition in the Early Turkish Republic (Leiden: Brill, 1991). His Turkey. A modern history (first published in 1993but substantially revised in 2004 and 2017) is widely used as textbook in universities in the U.S.A., the U.K, the Netherlands and Turkey. It has also been translated into nine languages. Zürcher has written or edited twelve bookson the social and political history of the late Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey.Another research interest is the comparative history of military recruitment and employment, on which he has recently (2013) published a 685 p. volume called Fighting for a Living.The most recent book publication is Islam and Jihad in World War I (Leiden UP, 2015). All books have been published in Turkey in translation. The most important 50 publications are accessible online through https://www.academia.edu/

ZÜRCHER has been an invited guest lecturer or visiting professor at SUNY Binghamton, Louisville KY, OSU Columbus, Minneapolis, Oxford (St. Anthony's), London (SOAS and LSE), Durham, Manchester, Bamberg, Munich, Bochum, Naples, Paris (EHESS), Basle, Berne, Zürich, Louvain, Ghent, UC Berkeley, Istanbul (Koç, Bilgi) Ankara (Bilkent) and Padua. In 2008 he gave the Hamilton Gibb memorial lecture at Harvard University.

In 2003-4 ZÜRCHER was actively involved in consultations on Turkey's accession to the European Union, among other things by writing the expert opinion for the Dutch EU presidency on the question whether Islam would be an impediment toTurkish accession. In June 2005 he was awarded the Medal of High Distinction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey.In 2016 he returned this medal in protest against the persecution of academics and publishers in Turkey.  In 2006 – 2007 he was involved in the founding of a Dutch Institute of Higher education in Ankara (NIHA) and a Turkey Institute in The Hague. For the last fifteen years he has commented regularly on current affairs inTurkey to Dutch and international mediaand been involved in briefings for the Dutch government and business world.

In 2008 he was elected a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). He was a member of the National Unesco Commission of the Netherlands in 2011-2017, and has served on the jury of the Koç Prize for Turkish History (2014) and the Heineken Prize for History (since 2016). From 2018 to 2020 he is academic director of the Leiden Institute of Area Studies.

In Leiden ZÜRCHER has so far been principal advisor fortwenty successfully defended Ph.D. theses and is currently advising on nine more. He has been external examiner at the EHESS (Paris), SOAS (London), University of Utah (Salt Lake City) and Bordeaux University.

He is currently a member of the editorial board of the following journals:

  • International Journal of Middle East Studies
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • International Journal of Turkish Studies
  • Mülkiye
  • Türkiyat Mecmuası
EHESS
CNRS
Collège de France

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