IOWC Research Associate: Michael Ferguson

Dr. Michael Ferguson is currently a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London, UK. Michael’s research focuses on questions of identity, marginalization, and minorities in the late Ottoman Empire and early republican Turkey. His doctoral thesis, completed at McGill University under Gwyn Campbell (2014), examines the relatively unknown social and cultural history of enslaved and emancipated Africans and their descendants in Izmir in the late Ottoman Empire. His study contributes to the historiography on African slavery, as well as the growing body of scholarship uncovering the lives of non-elite subjects whose contributions to the making of the late Ottoman world have been underrepresented in the prevailing literature.

In addition to his current Post-Doctoral Fellowship, awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Michael has received numerous awards including: Graduate Excellence Fellowship, Department of History and Classics, McGill University (2013); Fellowship in Turkish Culture and Art Turkish Cultural Foundation (2012): Arts Graduate Student Travel Award, Faculty of Arts, McGill University (2011); and the Joseph Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2008-2011).

Prior to his PhD at McGill University, Michael completed a M.A. in Islamic Studies from McGill University (2006), and a B.A. in History from Carleton University (2004). In 2006-2007, Michael spent the year teaching English in a top-ranked private high school in Istanbul, Turkey.

Publications

Forthcoming "Localizing transitions to modernity: the tomb of St. Polycarp in late Ottoman and early republican Izmir." In Religions in interaction in Europe’s Orient(s), edited by Anastassios Anastassiadis. Leiden: Brill.

Forthcoming (with Ehud Toledano) “Slavery and Emancipation in the late Ottoman Empire.” In The Cambridge World History of Slavery, Volume 4, edited by David Eltis and Stanley L. Engermen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,

Forthcoming “Abolitionism and the African Slave Trade in the Ottoman Empire (1857-1922).” In Human Rights in Afro-Eurasia from the Seventeenth Century to the Present, Vol.1, The Longue Durée of Bondage in Afro-Eurasia, 1600-1900, edited by Gwyn Campbell and Alessandro Stanziani.

2014 “White Turks, Black Turks, and Negroes: the Politics of Polarization.” In Occupy Gezi: The Making of a Protest Movement, edited by Umut Özkırımlı and Spyros Sofos, 77-88. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

2013 "Clientship, Social Indebtedness and State-Controlled Emancipation of Africans in the Late Ottoman Empire." In Debt and Slavery in the Mediterranean and Atlantic Worlds, edited by Gwyn Campbell and Alessandro Stanziani, 49-62. London: Pickering and Chatto.

2010 "Enslaved and Emancipated Africans on Crete." In Race and Slavery in the Middle East: Histories of Trans-Saharan Africans in Nineteenth-Century Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Mediterranean, edited by Terence Walz and Kenneth M. Cuno, 171-195. Cairo and New York: The American University in Cairo Press.

Online Articles

2013 "White Turks, Black Turks, and Negroes: The Politics of Polarization." Jadalliya 29 June 2013.

Conference Papers

2014 “State versus private care of emancipated African children in late Ottoman Izmir.” Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C., 24 November.

2013 "'It's not destruction, it's urban renewal': the transformation of urban space atop Kadifekale, Izmir." Paper presented at the Quatrième Journée d'étude du groupe d'études turques et ottomanes (GÉTO): « La République Turque : histoire, culture, société », Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 8 March.

2012 "Enslaved and Emancipated Africans in 19th century 'Cosmopolitan Izmir.'" Paper presented at the Centre d'études turques, ottomanes, balkaniques et centrasiatiques (CETOBAC) and CNRS-EHESS-Collège de France, Paris, France, 23 November.

2012 "Race and Censorship of the Press in Late Ottoman Izmir (1906)." Paper presented at the Fifth Annual IOWC Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Africa, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 26 April.

2012 "The Tomb of St. Polycarp in the urban history of late Ottoman and early Republican Izmir (1880-1940)." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), New York, New York, USA, 26 February.

2011 "The Emergence of an 'Afro-Turk' Identity Since 2005." Paper presented at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, USA, 1-4 December.

2011 "The Tomb of St. Polycarp and the Overlap of Religious Practices in Late Ottoman Izmir." Paper presented at the Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA) Symposium 22, New York University, New York, NY, USA, 13-16 October.

2011 "Cami Baykurt's account of his travels in Trablusgarp: A new source for the history of Ottoman Slavery and Slave Trade." Paper presented at the Fourth Annual IOWC Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Africa, IOWC, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 1 May.

2011 "Cosmopolitanism and Marginalization: The Settlement of Africans in Izmir, Turkey and the Formation of the Upper Neighbourhoods, 1850-1920." Paper presented at the International MCRI Conference, "Enslavement, Bondage and the Environment in the Indian Ocean World," IOWC, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 28-30 April.

2011 "Sharing Sacred Space: The Tomb of St. Polycarp in Izmir in the Late Nineteenth Century." Paper presented at the Sixteenth Annual Graduate Student Interdisciplinary Conference, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, 10 February.

2010 "Barack Obama and the Afro-Turks." Paper presented at the Third Annual IOWC Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Africa, IOWC, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 26 April.

2010 “Leyla Saz and Halit Ziya Uşakligil’s Writings on sub-Saharan Africans in the late Ottoman Empire.” McGill-Queen’s Graduate Conference. McGill University, 13 March.

2009 "‘Slave Religions’ in Comparative Perspective: The Zar / Bori in Ottoman Lands and Candomblé in Brazil." Paper presented at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, USA, 21-24 November.

2009 "The Sub-Saharan Africans of Chania, Crete in the Nineteenth Century: A Comparative Perspective." Paper presented at the Modern Greek Studies Association (MGSA) Symposium 21, Vancouver, BC, 15-17 October.

2009 "Sultan, Caliph and Patron: Centralization of Patron-Client Relations and Indebtedness in the Late Ottoman Empire." Paper presented at the IOWC International Conference, "Debt and Slavery: The History of a Process of Enslavement," IOWC, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 7-9 May.

2009 "Izmir’s Muslim Quarter in the Late Ottoman Period: Mapping Growth and Discussing its Ethnic Composition." Paper presented at the Second Annual IOWC Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Africa, IOWC, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 27 April.

2008 "Towards a Social History of Afro-Ottomans: Preliminary Results for the Case of Crete." Paper presented at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, USA, November 22-25.

2008 "Towards an Environmental History of the Slave Trade in Africa: The Case of the Waday-Benghazi in the 19th Century." Paper presented at the First Annual IOWC Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference on Africa, IOWC, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 28 April.

2008 "Environmental Factors Shaping the Slave Trade Through Libya in the Nineteenth Century." Paper presented at the Carleton University Underhill Colloqiuim, Ottawa, ON, 7 March.

Panels Organized

2010 “Official and Unofficial Discourses on Culture and Society in Late Ottoman and Modern Turkey.” McGill-Queen’s Graduate Conference. McGill University, 13 March 2010.

2009 “Situating Slavery in the Context of the Nineteenth-Century Middle East.” Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Annual Meeting, Boston, Mass., 21 November 2009.

Public Lectures

Forthcoming “Emancipation in the Ottoman Empire” Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull, 5 November 2015

Forthcoming “Enslaved and Emancipated Africans in Ottoman Izmir: The Calf Festival, 1880-1927” Near and Middle East History Seminar Series, School of Oriental and African Studies, 9 March 2015.

2014 “Emancipated African children under the care of Private Households and the State in Late Ottoman Izmir – A Comparison (1880-1900)” Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, 20 November 2014. 

2012 “A Micro-History of the African Slave Trade in the Late Ottoman Empire: The Case of the Mahrousa (1887-1889)” Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, 25 October 2012.

2011 “Zencis and criminality in late Ottoman Izmir: new evidence, new questions.” Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, 17 November 2011.

2011 “The ‘African Festival’ of Izmir 1870-1920: New Aspects, New Questions.” Indian Ocean World Centre, McGill University, 22 March 2011.