Nükhet Varlık

Nükhet Varlık


varlik [at] newark.rutgers.edu



Office Location

327 Conklin Hall
175 University Ave.
Newark, NJ 07102

Office Hours

By Appointment

Research Interests: Ottoman Empire; early modern Mediterranean; history of medicine

Nükhet Varlık received her BA (double majoring in History and Psychology) in 1997, and her MA (in History) in 2000 from Boğaziçi University (Istanbul, Turkey). She received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2008. Before coming to Rutgers, she was Assistant Professor of History at James Madison University (2008-2010). Currently, she is Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University–Newark where she teaches courses on the history of Islamic Civilization, the Ottoman Empire, and the history of medicine.

Dr. Varlık is a historian of the Ottoman Empire with a keen interest in disease, medicine and other traditions of healing, and public health. In addition to a number of articles, her first book Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World: The Ottoman Experience, 1347-1600 (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press; Turkish language edition to be published by Kitap Yayınevi) explores the historical connections between the growth of the Ottoman power in the Mediterranean world and the simultaneous expansion of plague. She is currently editing a collection of articles entitled Plague and Contagion in the Islamic Mediterranean (forthcoming with Ashgate). The volume aims to bring together the promising work of a new generation of scholars, exploring a wide array of questions ranging from the nature of epidemic diseases to notions of contagion, and to social and political responses to epidemics in the post-Black Death Islamic Mediterranean.

She is currently working on a new book project tentatively entitled The Ottoman Healing Arts: Healers, Patients, and the State in the Early Modern Era, which explores the role of the Ottoman state on the transformations of healing traditions and the professionalization of healers in the early modern era. In conjunction with this research, she is also translating and editing a number of sources pertaining to the history of Ottoman medicine, including a selection of primary sources on plague, plague treatises, and the section of medicine of an early sixteenth-century book inventory from the Ottoman palace library.

Dr. Varlık is the recipient of a NEH Fellowship by the American Research Institute in Turkey, a Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations Senior Fellowship, and a Turkish Cultural Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Currently, she is a Faculty Fellow at Rutgers University, Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA) seminar on “Totality” where she plans to develop new perspectives to the interdisciplinary studies of zoonosis. 

Courses Taught

History of Islamic Civilization
The Ottoman Empire
Topics in Islamic Civilization: Science, Technology, and Medicine


American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) - National Endowment for the Humanities Advanced Research Fellowship, 2010
Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations Senior Fellowship, 2010
Turkish Cultural Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship, 2010
William Rainey Harper Dissertation-Year Fellowship, 2007
Division of Humanities Summer Travel Grant, 2007
Turkish Studies Research Travel Grant, 2005
Sawyer Seminar on Islam, Sawyer Dissertation Stipend, 2003
Sawyer Seminar on Islam, Sawyer Dissertation Fellowship, 2002
Century Scholarship, 2000


Ph.D., University of Chicago, 2008
M.A., Boğaziçi University (Istanbul, Turkey), 2000


Authored Book
Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World: The Ottoman Experience, 1347-1600. (Cambridge University Press, July 2015)

Edited Book
Editor, Plague and Contagion in the Islamic Mediterranean (Contracted for Ashgate Publishing Group; in progress)

“Contagious metaphors: ideas of transmission in early modern Ottoman society” for Plague and Contagion in the Islamic Mediterranean
“Plague, conflict and negotiation: The Jewish weavers of Salonica and Ottoman central administration in the late sixteenth century” accepted for publication in the special issue of Jewish History Journal on Salonica Jewry

Published Articles
“Conquest, urbanization, and plague networks in the Ottoman Empire, 1453-1600,” in The Ottoman World, ed. Christine Woodhead, London, Routledge
“Tütün Tiryakiliği ve Besim Ömer Paşa’nın Görüşleri” (An Ottoman physician’s views on tobacco addiction) in Tütün Kitabı (The Book of Tobacco), ed. Emine Gürsoy Naskali, Istanbul, 2003 (Co-author; in Turkish)
“Attitudes toward plague epidemics in the Ottoman Society of the nineteenth century,” Proceedings of the International Congress for the History of Medicine, Galveston, TX, 2000