Welcome! I’m a global historian with a focus on the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and the history of liberal and Islamic political thought. This website offers an overview of my research, teaching, and things I’ve written.

I received my Ph.D. in 2017 from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago, and spent the following two years as an Early Career Fellow at Lichtenberg-Kolleg, the Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, where I was a member of the research cluster on Human Rights, Constitutional Politics and Religious Diversity. My research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences Research Council, the U.S. Department of Education, and the American Historical Association. I’m currently a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, where my main project is a book manuscript entitled “The Assembly Hall of the World: Ottomanism and the Birth of Global Politics,” under advance contract with Princeton University Press. I’m also a review editor for H-Ideas, an open-access network for new scholarship in intellectual history.

Alongside my scholarly work, I have written about history, contemporary culture, pedagogy, and university life for n+1, The New Yorker, and Inside Higher Ed, among others. If you have questions or want to collaborate, please be in touch! I can be reached at elfenbein at uchicago dot edu.