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Will Smiley

Will Smiley

PhD student, Middle Eastern Studies



Originally from the US, I graduated from the University of Utah with an MA in History, preceded by a BS in History and Mathematics from Hillsdale College. My MA thesis compared the Janissaries' social and political roles in Aleppo and Damascus at the end of the eighteenth century.

Subject groups/Research projects

Arabic & Persian Studies:

Research Interests

Current Research

I study the Ottoman Empire, especially its relations with the neighboring Russian and Habsburg/Holy Roman Empires. My dissertation, drawing on both Russian and Ottoman archival sources, focuses on the evolution of military captivity between the Ottomans and their rivals in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. I discuss the growth of a recognizably modern "prisoner of war" system through negotiations between state interests, Islamic legal traditions, and the claims of captors and captives themselves.