Dr Michael Talbot MA, MA, PhD

Senior Lecturer

Michael joined the Department of History, Politics & Social Sciences in September 2015. He studied history as an undergraduate at the University of Cambridge, before undertaking an MA in Near & Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he also completed his PhD in Ottoman-British relations in the eighteenth century. He was a postdoctoral researcher on the ERC-funded 'Mediterranean Reconfigurations' project at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, where he examined intercultural trade and commercial litigation in Ottoman Algiers.

Michael's work examines a number of topics in Ottoman history from the late seventeenth to the early twentieth century, with a general interest in Ottoman relations and interactions with the wider world. His research to date has examined Ottoman-British relations (17th-19th centuries), Ottoman maritime law and practice (18th century), and Ottoman urban history (particularly Istanbul and Palestine). As an active participant in the Ottoman History Podcast network, he is committed to bringing Ottoman history to a wider audience.

Developing projects include Ottoman urban history, particularly littoral spaces such as in northern Palestine and Istanbul, and other projects relating to late Ottoman Palestine, including refugees and Ottomanism. He has begun a number of studies in various stages of research looking at later Ottoman history using the prism of the body. Above all, Michael is deeply interested in Ottoman relations and interactions with the wider world, links between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the question of what made something (or someone) Ottoman. He welcomes enquiries from prospective students interested in any of the above areas.

See more about the University History Research Group here.

Responsibilities within the university

Senior Lecturer in the History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Middle East


HIST1062 Europe and the Revolutions, 1789-1914 (Level 4)

HIST1067 Empire and Nation in the Middle East (Level 5)

HIST1074 Cities of the Sultans: Life in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Level 6)

Administration and academic citizenship

HPSS Admissions, taster days, and outreach. Please contact me if you would to discuss organising a taster session with your school or college!

HPSS Website and communications

History Research Group

Greenwich Maritime Centre


-Postdoctoral research at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne on 'Mediterranean Reconfigurations' project (ConfigMed – ERC Advanced Grant No. 295868) (2014-2015)

-Specialist translator in the British Academy-funded project, 'Islam, Trade, and Politics Across the Indian Ocean' (2013-2014)

-University of St Andrews conference organisation grant (2014)

-SOAS research travel grant contributing to fieldwork in Istanbul (2011)

-Gurnee Hart Scholarship funding fieldwork in Israel and Palestine (2006)


Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research / Scholarly interests

Michael's research covers a number of areas of Ottoman history from the late seventeenth century until the end of empire. Stemming from his doctoral research, Michael's primary research to-date has been in Ottoman-British diplomatic and commercial relations in the 18th century, examining the relationship between commerce, finance, and diplomatic practice through both British and Ottoman sources in English, Ottoman Turkish, and Italian. Linked to his interests in diplomacy and commerce, he has investigated Ottoman maritime law and practice, particularly Ottoman responses to European maritime violence in the Mediterranean in the eighteenth century. Something of a combination of the two, his postdoctoral research examined maritime legal space in Ottoman Algiers, and Algerian litigants in European commercial and admiralty courts, using documents in English, French, Italian, Arabic, and Ottoman Turkish from archives in Britain, France, Italy, and Turkey. He has also been involved in a major British Academy project examining Ottoman relations with Southeast Asia between the 16th and 20th centuries, translating large numbers of Ottoman archival documents relating to Ottoman commercial, political, and religious interests in the region for publication.

Developing projects include Ottoman maritime history, particularly thinking about the significance of littoral spaces and imperial control, and other projects relating to late Ottoman Palestine, including refugees and Ottomanism.  He has begun a number of studies in various stages of research looking at later Ottoman history using the prism of the body, and is working on a major project on Ottoman consular networks. Above all, Michael is deeply interested in Ottoman relations and interactions with the wider world, links between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the question of what made something (or someone) Ottoman, Ottoman.

Michael can supervise doctoral research on a range of Ottoman and Middle Eastern history topics, but is particularly interested in supervising students examining Ottoman diplomacy, maritime activities, networks, and attitudes, urban themes and identities, and Palestine in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman periods.



British-Ottoman Relations, 1661-1807: Commerce and Diplomatic Practice in Eighteenth-Century Istanbul. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer, 2017.

Journal articles

'Separating the Waters from the Sea: The Place of Islands in Ottoman Maritime Territoriality during the Eighteenth Century', Princeton Papers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 18 (2017), 61-86.

'Protecting the Mediterranean: Ottoman Responses to Maritime Violence, 1718-1770', Journal of Early Modern History 21:4 (2017), 283-317.

'When Proof Is Not Enough: An Ottoman Merchant in the Gibraltar Vice-Admiralty Court in the 1760s, Quaderni Storici 51:3 (2016), 753-776

'Gifts of time: Watches and Clocks in British-Ottoman Diplomacy, 1693-1803', Jahrbuch für Europäische Geschichte 17 (2016), 55-79

'"Jews, be Ottomans!" Zionism, Ottomanism and Ottomanisation in the Hebrew Press, 1890-1914', Die Welt des Islams 56:3/4 (2016), 359-387

'Introduction: Contacts, Encounters, Practices: Ottoman-European Diplomacy, 1500-1800', Osmanlı Araştırmaları / The Journal of Ottoman Studies 48 (2016), 269-276 (co-written with Phil McCluskey, introduction to special edition on Ottoman-European diplomacy)

'A Treaty of Narratives: Friendship, Gifts, and Diplomatic History in the British Capitulations of 1641', Osmanlı Araştırmaları / The Journal of Ottoman Studies 48 (2016), 357-398.

'Petitions of the Supplicant Ambassador: British Commercial Representations to the Ottoman State in the Eighteenth Century', Osmanlı Araştırmaları / The Journal of Ottoman Studies 46 (2015), 163-191

'The Exalted Column, the Hejaz Railway, and Imperial Legitimation in Late Ottoman Haifa', Urban History 42:2 (2015), 246-272

Book chapters

'İngiliz Whig Tarihçiliği ve Thomas Carlyle' [British Whig History and Thomas Carlyle] in Ahmet Şimşek (ed.), Dünyada Tarihçilik: Dönemler, Okullar, Yaklaşımlar ve Tarihçiler [World Historiography: Periods, Schools, Approaches, and Historians] (Ankara: Pegem Akademi, 2017), 125-136.

'Accessing the Shadow of God: Spatial and Performative Ceremonial at the Ottoman Court' in Dries Raeymaekers & Sebastiaan Derks (eds.), The Key to Power? The Culture of Access in Princely Courts, 1400-1750 (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 101-123.

'Tarihçi gibi Araştırmak: Tarih Araştırmasına Başlamak' [Researching like a Historian: Starting Historical Research] in Ahmet Şimşek (ed.), Tarih için Metodoloji [Methodology for History] (Ankara: Pegem Akademi, 2015), 216-220.

'Ottoman Seas and British Privateers: Defining Maritime Territoriality in the Eighteenth-Century Levant' in Pascal W. Firges, Tobias P. Graf, Christian Roth & Gülay Tulasoğlu (eds.), Well-Connected Domains: Towards an Entangled Ottoman History (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 54-70.

'Divine Imperialism: The British in Palestine, 1753-1842' in Martin Farr & Xavier Guégan (eds.), The British Abroad Since the Eighteenth Century. Volume 2: Experiencing Imperialism (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 36-53.

Podcasts and Blogposts

Ottoman History Podcast (www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com)

'Izmir and Thessaloniki: From Empire to Nation State [please add this hyperlink: Izmir & Thessaloniki: from Empire to Nation-State ]' (2017, interview with Kalliopi Amygdalou) 

'Visual Sources in Late Ottoman History [please add this hyperlink: http://www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2017/07/columbia-visual.html ] ' (2017, collaborative podcast from a conference at Columbia University). 

'Ottoman-Japanese Relations: A Short History of the Ertuğrul [please add this hyperlink: http://www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2017/05/muslim-world.html ] ' (2017, segment from Yokohama, Japan)

'Early French Encounters with the Ottomans [please add this hyperlink: http://www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2017/05/france-ottomans.html ] ' (2017, interview with Pascale Barthes and Nir Shafir)

'Insularity and Empire in Ottoman Cyprus' (2016, interview with Antonis Hadjikyriacou)

'Nationality and Citizenship in Mandate Palestine' (2016, interview of Lauren Banko)
'Ottoman Encounters with Global Capital' (2016, interview of Coşkun Tuncer with Taylan Güngör)
'German Expatriates in Late Ottoman Istanbul' (2016, interview of Philipp Wirtz with Taylan Güngör)
'British-Ottoman Diplomacy and the Making of Maritime Law' (2015, interviewed by Sam Dolbee, Arianne Urus, and Güneş Işıksel)

Tozsuz Evrak (www.docblog.ottomanhistorypodcast.com)

'An Augur of Bloodshed: The Weeping Mary of Nevrokop in 1902' (2017)
'The New Bureaucracy in Town: An Ottoman Widow in British-Occupied Baghdad, 1918' (2016)
'Ali Naci Goes to Greenwich: The Education of a Late Ottoman Naval Officer' (2015).
'The Ottoman Empire and Cricket: From Istanbul to Cape Town' (2015)
'Hanımefendis Just Wanna Have Fun: An Alcoholic Postcard from Late Ottoman Istanbul' (2014)
'Scottish Muslims and Ottoman Pan-Islamism' (2014)
'A Seventeenth-Century Frenchman's Poem in Ottoman Turkish' (2014)
'Imagining Ottomans in the Early Cinema' (2014)
'Cartoon Critiques of Nineteenth-Century Istanbul' (2013)
'An International Mud-Smuggling Racket in Seventeenth-Century Kağıthane' (2013)
'A Highway to Murder: The Death of a Jaffa Carpenter' (2013)
'Jewish Scriveners and Arab Lawyers in Ottoman Jerusalem' (2013)
'Magic Water and Meat Syrup: Advertising Healthcare Products in the Ottoman Press' (2013)
'Feeding an Elephant in Eighteenth-Century Istanbul' (2013)

Other Blogs

'Insularities and Littoralities Connected: New Trends in Research from the Moray Firth to the Mediterranean' (Firths & Fjords, 2016)
'The Lights of Ahmad: Al-Anwar (al-Jazzar) Mosque in Acre' (Stambouline, 2014)
'Life and Death in an Ottoman Desert Hospital in WWI' (Stambouline, 2013)
'The 'National Archives (United Kingdom) – A Guide to Researching the Middle East' (Hazine, 2013)

Stambouline (www.stambouline.com)

'The Lights of Ahmad': Al-Anwar (al-Jazzar) Mosque in Acre (2014)
'Life and Death in an Ottoman Desert Hospital in WWI' (2013)

HAZİNE (www.hazine.info)

'The National Archives (United Kingdom) – A Guide to Researching the Middle East' (2013)