Heather Ferguson

Heather Ferguson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History

Areas of Expertise:
Early Modern Statecraft, Evolution of Muslim Societies, History of Ethics, Legal History, Middle East, Ottoman History, Urban and Architectural Change

Heather Ferguson
(909) 607-3814
Kravis Center 203

Office Hours

Tuesday, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.Thursday, 09:30 - 10:00 a.m.


  • Crusading Mentalities
  • Empires, Technology, and Religion: Early Modernity in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia
  • From Empire to Imperialism: Ottomans to the Present
  • From Muhammad to the Mongols: The Creation of a Muslim Middle East (600-1400)
  • Gender and Popular Culture in the Middle East
  • Nations, Nationalism, and State-Building: The Making of the Contemporary Middle East
  • Tackling the “isms” of the Middle East
  • The Graphic Novel and Middle East History
  • The Middle East in Revolt: The History and Practice of Social Movements
  • Travel and Encounter in the Islamicate World
  • Urban Power and Ottoman History: Cities, Identities, and Historical Change
  • Worlds of Words: Theory and Politics of the Islamicate World
  • Biography
  • Education
  • Awards and Affiliations
  • Research and Publications

Heather received an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas- Austin and a Ph.D. from the University of California- Berkeley. After completing a two-year postdoctoral position at Stanford University with the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies and History Departments, she joined the faculty at Claremont McKenna and is now an Associate Professor of Ottoman and Middle Eastern History. Heather is an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, 2014-2015, for her book project entitled The Proper Order of Things: Language, Power and Law in Ottoman Administrative Discourses published by Stanford University Press in May 2018. Currently, she is working on a second monograph supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend grant, 2019, and an American Council of Learned Societies Burkhardt Fellowship (2020) that explores Sovereign Valedictions: Archival Ventures and “Last Acts” in Ottoman and Habsburg Courts, and her research focuses broadly on comparative early modern empires, documentary genres and discourses of power, linkages between archives and state governance, as well as on legal and urban transformations around the Mediterranean. She serves as Editor of the Review of Middle East Studies, Associate Editor for the International Journal of Islamic Architecture and was an inaugural member of the Claremont Faculty Leadership Program. Heather remains committed to interdisciplinary and multi-perspectival approaches in research, teaching, and service.

And as you search for meaning with fancy metaphors, think upon others, who have lost their right to words. –Mahmoud Darwish

University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D.; University of Texas at Austin, Masters of Arts in Middle Eastern Studies
  • Review of Middle East Studies


  • International Journal of Islamic Architecture

    Associate Editor

  • American Council of Learned Societies Burkhardt Fellowship, 2020 (deferred to 2020-21).

  • National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Research Stipend, 2019.

  • American Council of Learned Societies

    Faculty Fellow, 2014-2015

  • Gould Center for Humanistic Studies

    Faculty Research Grant, Summer 2012

  • Center for Middle East Studies, University of California, Berkeley

    al-Falah Dissertation Grant, Fall 2008

  • American Research Institute in Turkey

    Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2003-2004

  • Ford Foundation Research Grant

    Social Science Concepts in Area Studies, Summer 1998

  • Foreign Language & Area Studies (FLAS)

    Summer Fellowship: the University of California, Berkeley (2000, 2001), the University of Texas at Austin (1997, 1998)

    Academic Year Fellowship: the University of California, Berkeley (2000-01), the University of Texas at Austin (1997-98 and 1998-99)​

  • The Proper Order of Things: Language, Power, and Law in Ottoman Administrative Discourses (Stanford University Press, 2018).

    "New Texts Out Now" Interview with Jadaliyya

  • Current Book Project: Sovereign Valedictions: Archival Ventures and “Last Acts” in Ottoman and Habsburg Courts

  • “Unseating ‘State’ and ‘Archive’: Mobility and Manipulation in Past Environments and Present Praxis,” Itinerario 2020:3 (forthcoming).

  • “Language, Power, and Law in the Ottoman Empire,” Ottoman History Podcast, Episode 441, December 13, 2019. http://www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2019/12/language-power-ottoman-empire.html

  • “Ottomans, Ottomanists, and the State: Redefining an Ethos of Power in the Long Sixteenth Century,” for Halcyon Days of Crete IX (Crete University Press, 2018).

  • “Producing Islamic History: Schemes of Medieval and Modern and the Racialization of the Past,” co-presented with David Moshfegh. Chronologics: Periodisation in a Global Context, Berlin, December 7-9, 2017.

  • “From Hyperbole to Bureaucracy: Ottoman and Habsburg Courtly Rivalries,” In Iacobus: Revista de Estudios Jacobeos Y Medievales, memorial issue for Louis Cardaillac (Issue 33-34, 2015), 265-90.

  • "Occupying the Future." The Tahrir Forum of the Cairo Review (November 29, 2011).

  • "Genres of Power: Constructing a Discourse of Decline in Ottoman Nasihatname." In Osmanli Arastirmalari Dergisi /The Journal of Ottoman Studies (Issue 35, 2010) 81-116.

  • "Reading Kanunname: Law and Governance in the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Empire." In The International Journal of the Humanities 6 (2007-08).

  • "Property, Language, and Law: Conventions of Social Discourse in Seventeenth-century Tarablus al-Sham." In Beshara Doumani, ed., The Family in Middle Eastern History (New York: SUNY Press, 2002).

  • “Abudurrahman Atçıl, Scholars and Sultans in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017). Pp. 260. $75.00 Cloth. ISBN: 9781107177162.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 50, no. 4 (2018): 800–802. doi:10.1017/S0020743818000995.