Welcome! I’m a global historian and political theorist with a focus on the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and the history of liberal and Islamic political thought. This website offers an overview of my research, teaching, and things I’ve written.

I received my Ph.D. in 2017 from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. I’m currently a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, where my main project is a book manuscript entitled “The Assembly Hall of the World: Ottomanism and the Birth of Global Politics,” under advance contract with Princeton University Press. I’m also a review editor for H-Ideas, an open-access network for new scholarship in intellectual history. Previously, I was an Early Career Fellow at Lichtenberg-Kolleg, the Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, where I was a member of the research cluster on Human Rights, Constitutional Politics and Religious Diversity.

Alongside my scholarly work, I have written about history, contemporary culture, pedagogy, and university life for n+1, The New Yorker, and Inside Higher Ed, among others. If you have questions or want to collaborate, please be in touch! I can be reached at elfenbein at uchicago dot edu.