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Dr. Amaan Merali (Fellow of the Fritz-Thyssen-Foundation)


Imperial Rivalry and Muslim Reform: The Ottomans and the Ismailis, 1850-1920

Dr. Amaan Merali (D.Phil. Oxon) is a historian of the Middle East with expertise in the Ottoman Empire and Islamic studies. He holds the Fritz Thyssen Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Department of History and Cultural Studies, Free University of Berlin.

Dr. Merali’s research addresses questions of sovereignty, religious geography, and communal self-fashioning. His current book manuscript explores the Syrian Shiʿi Ismaʿilis’ navigation of the tensions and possibilities of being both Ottoman imperial citizens and followers of a British-Indian religious and political figure, the Aga Khan III, which offers a reappraisal of fin-de-siècle imperial competition, pan-Islamism, and contested subjecthood.

Refereed Journal Publications:


“Fear and Violence in Late Ottoman Syria: The Ismaʿilis and theSchool of Agriculture”, in Diyâr: Journal of Ottoman, Turkish and Middle Eastern StudiesVol. 1, No. 1, April 2020, pp. 58-83.

Book Chapter

“Legitimising Authority: A Muslim Minority under Ottoman Rule”, in Amyn B. Sajoo, ed., The Shariʿa: History, Ethics and Law(London: I.B. Tauris, 2018), pp. 153-171.

Awarded the American Library Association’s Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2019.

Reviewed in: The Muslim World Book Review(spring 2020; extended review).

Online Publication

“The Ismaʿilis in the Ottoman Empire”,in The Database of Religious History(University of British Columbia, 2023): https://religiondatabase.org

Forthcoming Publications

“Tāmir, ʿĀrif,”in Encyclopaedia Islamica, vol. 8, ed. Farhad Daftary (Leiden: Brill, 2024).