Sabri Ates

Associate Professor



Office Location

Dallas Hall Room 65



Educational Background 

B.A. Middle East Technical University, Ankara
M.A. University of Ankara
Ph.D. New York University

  • “Empires at the Margins: Towards a History of the Ottoman-Iranian Borderland and the Borderland Peoples,” New York University, MEIS-History, 2006 Middle East Studies Association Dissertation Prize in Humanities

  • Research Interests and Work in Progress

    Professor Ates specializes in Ottoman-Iranian Relations, Kurdish History, Late Ottoman Empire, Sectarianism in the Middle East, and Borderlands. At present he is working on a project tentatively called: “Sheikh Abdulqadir Nehri and the Pursuit of an Independent Kurdistan.” In this project Ates explores what historical conditions account for how the Kurds became the largest ethnic group without its own nation? He sets out to answer this question on the basis of a wide variety of primary sources in Modern Turkish, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, English and French. Anchored in the biography of its protagonist, Seyyid Abdulqadir of Nehri the book explores efforts to establish or prevent the creation of Kurdistan as an independent state or autonomous entity starting in mid 1870s. In particular, it focuses on the tumultuous period between 1880-1925, during which the creation of a Kurdish state emerged as a distinct possibility and then quickly unraveled. Moreover, it studies what role did the Kurds themselves play in making or unmaking a state of their own. In addition to this project Ates is also working on two articles: “1639 Treaty of Zohab: Founding Myth or Founding Document,” and another article on the role of sectarianism in Ottoman-Iranian relations.




    •The Ottoman-Iranian Borderlands: Making a Boundary, 1843-1914, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
    •Tunalı Hilmi Bey: Osmanlıdan Cumhuriyet’e Bir Aydin, (Tunalı Hilmi Bey: An Intellectual Journey From the Empire to the Republic), Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 2009.


    •General Introduction” with Djene R. Bajalan to Records of the Kurds: Territory, Revolts, and Nationalism, 1831-1979 (12 volumes), Cambridge Archive Editions. 
    •In the name of the caliph and the nation: The Sheikh Ubeidullah Rebellion of 1880-81” in Iranian Studies, (2014), Vol. 47, No. 5, 735-798. 
    •Millet ve Halife Yolunda: Şeyh Ubeydullah-e Nehri Isyanı, I, II, III, Kürt Tarih Dergisi, Numbers. 7, 8, 9, 2013. 
    •“Bones of Contention: Corpse Traffic and Iranian-Ottoman Rivalry in Iraq,” Comparative Studies of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East 30, 3,( 2010): 512-532. [Persian translation by Nazli Kamvari, in Irannameh 26, no. 1-2, pp. 1-30.] 
    •"Oryantalizm ve Bizim Doğu" (Orientalism and Our East), Doğudan, Vol. 1, Issue 1, September 2007. (for access please go to the Blog section of this webpage) 
    •“The Ottoman Archives as a Source for the Study of Qajar Iran,” Iranian Studies, Volume 37, number 3, September 2004, pp. 499-509. [Persian translation by Nasrollah Salehi, in Faslnameh-e Tarikh-e Moaser-e Iran (Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies), no. 35/pp. 79-96]


    Awards, Fellowships, and Grants

  • 2017-2018 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship
  • 2017-18 Tower Center for Political Studies, Colin Powell Fellowship, SMU
  • 2016 Maguire Center Course Development Grant, SMU
  • 2014, Godbey Authors’ Award, SMU
  • 2013, Deans Research Council Grant, Dedman College, SMU
  • 2012, Fellow, Texas Project for Human Rights Education
  • 2009-2010, Koç University, RCAC Senior Residential Fellowship
  • 2009-2010, University Research Council Grant, SMU
  • 2009-2010, ARIT, Juokowsky Family Foundation John Freely Fellowship
  • 2006, Middle East Studies Association, Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in Humanities
  • 2006, HOPE Teaching Award, SMU
  • 2002-2003, Deans Pre-Dissertation and Pre-Doctoral Fellowships, New York University
  • 2001, ARIT, Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2000, Skilleter Centre for Ottoman Studies Fellowship, Cambridge University
  • Sabri Ates portrait