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Charles Wilkins
Associate Professor

Phone: 336.758.3090
Office: Tribble B-109


Charles Wilkins joined the Wake Forest faculty in 2006 as Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern history. He is the author of Forging Urban Solidarities: Ottoman Aleppo, 1640-1700 (Brill, 2010).  Wilkins’ scholarly work is concerned with the social history of the Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern Period (1500-1800).  His current research focuses on the long-term social and cultural integration of the Arab lands into the Ottoman Empire.  He is presently working on a book project entitled, “Lives Astride: A Social and Cultural History of Ottoman Aleppo, 1516-1918.”


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B.A.      Duke University
M.A.     The Ohio State University
Ph.D.    Harvard University

Academic Appointments:

Wake Forest University, Associate Professor, 2012-Present
Wake Forest University.  Assistant Professor (2006-present)
Colorado College.  Assistant Professor (2005-2006)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Visiting Lecturer (2003-2005)

Click here for the complete CV.


  • HST 107 Middle East and the World
    Examines in its global context the history of the Middle East and Islamic civilization from the seventh century to the twentieth century.  We will consider in turn the struggle of the early Muslim community to define itself against the older monotheistic religions; the phenomenal spread of Muslim institutions and customs across Afro-Eurasia; the complex and multi-sided interactions of religious communities during the European Crusades and Turco-Mongol migrations; the resurgence of Middle Eastern geo-political power under the last Muslim empires (1500-1800); and finally, after 1800 the economic and political ascendancy of Europe and the varied political, social, and intellectual responses of Middle Eastern peoples to that challenge. Key themes include orientalism and the Western representation of other cultures; the variety and evolution of social and political compacts or constitutions; and the cross-cultural reception of ideas, commodities, and technologies.
  • FYS 100 Power and Dissent in the Modern Arab World
    The wave of popular uprising, political revolution, and civil war moving across the Arab World since 2011 has its origins in long-standing patterns of conflict between state and society extending back to the early 20th century.  This course examines in historical perspective the changing structures of political power in the periods of European colonial dominance (1920s-1940s), national liberation and the Cold War (1950s-1980s), and neo-liberal reform and adaptive autocracy (1990s-2000s).  Within this temporal framework it also considers a matter of great pan-Arab concern, the Israel-Palestine conflict.  In parallel, the course explores the dynamics of power within the Arab family, with attention given to the institution of marriage, the status of women, and sexuality.  Each week students will read, in translation, a short novel or set of short stories, as a way to reflect on the popular Arab perspective and to evaluate the power of the written word to effect change.
  • HST 242 The Middle East before 1500
    This course surveys Middle Eastern history from the rise of Islam to the emergence of the last great Muslim empires. The class provides an overview of political history with more in-depth emphasis on the development of Islamic culture and society in the pre-modern era.
  • HST 243 The Middle East since 1500
    This class surveys modern Middle Eastern history from the collapse of the last great Muslim empires to the present day. Topics include the rise and demise of the Ottoman and Safavid empires, socio-political reform, the impact of colonialism, Islamic reform, the development of nationalism, and contemporary social and economic challenges.
  • HST 387 Islamic Empires Compared:  the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals
    This course examines, in a comparative way, central themes in the history of the Ottoman, Mughal, and Safavid Empires in the early modern period (1400-1800). It considers the ways in which Muslim rulers fostered political legitimacy, ruled over non-Muslim and heterodox subject populations, and recruited persons of diverse religious and ethnic background into state service. (CD)
  • HST 388 Nation, Faith, and Gender in the Middle East
    This course traces the development of nationalism and its interaction with religious, transnational, and gender identities in the Middle East in the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics include Zionism, Arabism, Turkish nationalism, and Islamic revivalism.
  • HST 390 Travelers in the Early Modern Middle East
    The Early Modern Era (1400-1800) saw an unprecedented rise in the number of world travelers.  Including merchants, pilgrims, bureaucrats, diplomats, spies, scholars, and others, they generated a vast travel literature that articulated many different perspectives, motives, and agendas.  Foreign travel can be seen as assisting cross-cultural understanding, but one could argue that just as often it helped only to confirm the point of view of the traveler.  This seminar explores, in turn, the defining characteristics of the Early Modern Period, the vexed question of Orientalism, and conclude with an exploration of selected European travelers in the Middle East and selected Middle Easterner travelers in Europe. Making use of primary English language sources, students are invited to write substantial research papers on a single traveler or otherwise examine a theme or pattern among multiple accounts.

Monographs and Edited Collections

  • Forging Urban Solidarities: Ottoman Aleppo, 1640-1700.  Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010.
  • “Lives Astride: A Social and Cultural History of Ottoman Aleppo, 1516-1918” (in preparation).


Articles and Essays

  • “Witnesses and Testimony in the Courts of 17th-Century Ottoman Aleppo,” in Stefan Knost and Vanessa Guéno, eds., Lire et écrire l’histoire ottomane, 107-129. Damascus: Institut Français du Proche Orient; and Beirut: Orient-Institut, 2016.
  • “Ibrahim b. Khidr al-Qaramani (d. 1557), A Merchant and Urban Notable of Early Ottoman Aleppo,” in Christine Isom-Verhaaren and Kent F. Schull (eds), Living in the Ottoman Realm: Empire and Identity, 13th to 20th Centuries, 137-49.  Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2016.
  • “A Demographic Profile of Slaves in Early Ottoman Aleppo,” in Christoph Witzenrath, ed., Eurasian Slavery, Ransom and Abolition in World History, 1200-1860, 221-46.  Farnham, Surrey; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015.
  • “The Self-Fashioning of an Ottoman Urban Notable: Ahmad Efendi Tahazade (d. 1773),” Osmanlı Araştırmaları/The Journal of Ottoman Studies 30 (2014): 393-425.
  • “Slavery and Household Formation in Ottoman Aleppo, 1640-1700,” The Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 56, 3 (2013), 345-91.
  • “Masters, Servants, and Slaves: Household formation in the Ottoman Empire,” in Christine Woodhead, ed., The Ottoman World, 291-306.  London: Routledge, 2012.

For a complete list of publications, click CV.