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Dr. Ryan Gingeras

Ryan GingerasStatus
Associate Professor, Associate Chair for Instruction, and the Chair of the Doctoral Committee


Research Interests
Turkey and the Ottoman Empire; South Balkans; Middle East; North Caucasus; Comparative world history; Organized crime and the drug trade

Ryan Gingeras joined the National Security Affairs Department in June 2010. He is currently the Associate Chair of Instruction and the Chair of the Doctoral Committee.  He previously was an assistant professor of history at Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus and Lafayette College. Trained as a historian of the late Ottoman Empire, his teaching and research interests span the greater Middle East. In addition to speaking both German and Turkish fluently, he also possesses working knowledge of Albanian, Macedonian and Spanish.

In 2009, Ryan Gingeras published his first book, Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity and the End of the Ottoman Empire (Oxford University Press). Sorrowful Shores presents a micro-historical study of northwestern Anatolia during the transition between the Ottoman Empire and the beginning of the Turkish Republic. Challenging the determinism associated with nationalist interpretations of Turkish history between 1912 and 1923, Sorrowful Shores delves deeper into this period of transition between empire and nation-state. Looking closely at a corner of territory immediately south of the old Ottoman capital of Istanbul, it traces the violent evolution of various communities of native Christians and immigrant Muslims against the backdrop of the Balkan Wars, the First World War, the Armenian Genocide, the Turkish War of Independence, and the Greek occupation of the region.

Ryan Gingeras current research assumes a much broader range of history of eastern Mediterranean. He is currently working on a full-length manuscript exploring the history of drug trafficking and organized crime in the Middle East between 1930 and 1980.

Born in New York City, Ryan Gingeras was raised in San Diego, California. After receiving his B.A. in History at the University of California, San Diego, he went on to complete his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto.

Current Publications


  • Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1912-1923 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Derdli Sahiler (Istanbul: Turk Tarih Vakfi, 2014).
  • Sultans of Smack: Heroin, Organized Crime and the Making of Modern Turkey (Forthcoming).
  • Heir to the Empire: Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the Turkish Revolution (New York: Westview Press, 2014).

Refereed Journal Articles

  • “Istanbul Confidential: Heroin, Espionage and Politics in Cold War Turkey, 1945-1960,” Diplomatic History (currently being copyedited, 2012).
  • “Poppy Politics: American Agents, Iranian Addicts and Afghan Opium, 1945-1980,Iranian Studies (2012).
  • “‘Scores Dead in Smerdesh’: Communal Violence and International Intrigue in Ottoman Macedonia,” Balkanistika 25 (2012), 75-98.
  • “The Sons of Two Fatherlands: Turkey, the Soviet Union and the North Caucasian Diaspora, 1918-1923," European Journal of Turkish Studies (2011), 2-17.
  • “In the Hunt for the Sultans of Smack: Dope, Gangsters and the Construction of the Turkish Deep State,” The Middle East Journal, Vol. 65, No. 3 (Summer 2011), 426-441.
  • “Beyond Istanbul’s ‘Laz Underworld’: Ottoman Paramilitarism and the Rise of Turkish Organized Crime, 1908-1950,” Journal of Contemporary European History 19.3 (2010), 215-230.
  • “Last Rites for a ‘Pure Outlaw’: Clandestine Service, Historiography and the Origins of the Turkish ‘Deep State’,” Past and Present 206 (February 2010), 121-144.
  • “Notorious Subjects, Invisible Citizens: North Caucasian Resistance to the Turkish National Movement in Northwestern Anatolia, 1919-23,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 40.1 (February, 2008), 89-108.
  • Between the Cracks: Macedonia and the ‘Mental Map’ of Europe,” Canadian Slavonic Papers 50.3-4 (Fall 2008).
  • “Break in the Storm: Reconsidering Sectarian Violence in Ottoman Macedonia during the Young Turk Revolution,” MIT-EJMES Vol. 3 (March 2003), 27-35.

Book Chapters

  • “War and Politics in the Making of Eastern Thrace,” to be submitted as an untitled volume on World War I and the Ottoman Empire (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2013).
  • Chapter: “The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization: “Oriental” Terrorism, Counter-Insurgency and the End of the Ottoman Empire,” in Carola Dietze and Claudia Verhoeven (eds.), Terrorism and Modernity: Global Perspectives on Nineteenth Century Political Violence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • “The Empire’s Forgotten Children: Rethinking the Path from Ottomanism to Titoism in Muslim Macedonia, 1912-1953,” (in Copyediting stage, 2012)
  • “Gangsters, Kidnappers, Killers and Other Patriots: The Writing of a New Social History of the Turkish War of Independence,” Towards a Social History in Modern Turkey (Istanbul: Libra Press, 2011).

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