Douglas Howard

Douglas Howard


  • B.A., History, Western Michigan University
  • M.A., History, Indiana University
  • Ph.D., Uralic and Altaic Studies, Indiana University


I and my three sisters were raised by a military officer father and educator mother, at air force bases and other places across the U.S. and abroad. The experience gave me an enduring appreciation for pluralism and cross-cultural and interfaith encounters. 

When I am not working, or even when I am, I like to listen to music, especially Paul Simon and world music of all kinds. (I recently wrote a review of Paul Simon's new album, Seven Psalms.)I also like to play the piano and write music, watch Detroit Tigers baseball, and sip strong coffee. My wife Sandy and I have four terrific adult children, and one grandchild. We enjoy traveling to see them, in long road trips with our teardrop camper.

Academic interests

My research field is the history of the Ottoman Empire. My book A History of the Ottoman Empire was published by Cambridge in 2017. In the book I used the main theme of the Ottoman worldview to write about how humans cope with calamity, suffering, and the passage of time.

Right now I am working with my colleague Géza Dávid of the University of Budapest to finish our critical edition and English translation of an Ottoman text from 1609 called Regulations of the Ottoman Dynasty, about how the Ottoman provincial cavalry worked. 

Although I am retired officially, I do still teach a course now and then. I will teach REL 353, “Islam,” in the first half of the spring 2024 semester, and the same course in May in the Calvin Prison Initiative.


Recent Articles and Book Chapters
    • “Before Exclusivism: Was the Early Modern an Axial Age?” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 7/1 (2020): 45–48.
    • “Főhivatalnok a bürokrácia útvesztőiben: Ajn Ali jövedelmeinek alakulása 1593 és 1611 között.” Keletkutatás (2019/2 ősz.): 123 – 128. [With Géza Dávid.]
    • “Ayn Ali’s Treatise on the Ranks.” In Şerefe: Studies in Honour of Prof. Géza Dávid on his Seventieth Birthday, pp. 281–306. Ed. Pál Fodor, Nándor Kovács, and Benedek Péri. Budapest: Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2019.
    • “A Phenomenology of Empire: Ayn Ali on the Ottoman Provinces.” In Ottoman War and Peace: Studies in Honor of Virginia H. Aksan, 173–192. Frank Castiglione, Ethan L. Menchinger, and Veysel Şimşek. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2019.
    • “Foreword: The World-Historical Importance of the Ottoman Empire.” In Charlotte Jirousek, Ottoman Dress and Design in the West: A Visual History of Cultural Exchange, pp. vii–x. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2019.
    • “The Western Islamic World at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century.” In On Islam [Abraham Kuyper: Collected Works in Public Theology], pp. xxi-xxxii. Ed. James D. Bratt with Douglas A. Howard. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Lexham, 2018.
    • “Why Timars? Why Now? Ottoman Timars in the Light of Recent Historiography.” Turkish Historical Review 8 (2017): 119–144.

    Read Doug Howard's posts on Historical Horizons, the history department blog.

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