The origins of this project
In 1998 Hakan Karateke, then a lecturer at the Free University of Berlin, decided to embark upon a project to produce a ‘Bio-bibliographical Reference Work for Ottoman Literature’, covering all Ottoman works. This project, however, proved to be hardly realizable given the resources at hand, and was therefore narrowed down to cover only the Ottoman Historians; with this reduced scope it was hoped that the work could be completed in four years. At this point Dr. Karateke contacted some German institutions for possible financial support for the project, but unfortunately the project could not be fitted into a suitable grant program.
In 2002, after being recruited by Harvard University, Dr. Karateke discussed a possible cooperation with Cemal Kafadar, Director of Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and professor at the History Department. Professor Kafadar showed immense interest in the project and agreed to cooperate on it. Professor Cornell Fleischer, from the University of Chicago, also showed enthusiasm for the idea and has agreed to sit on the editorial board of the project. In the course of 2003 an international advisory board, constituting fifteen recognized scholars in the field, was established.
In June 2003, the Packard Humanities Institute (Los Altos, CA) agreed to support the launch of Historians of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to this financial support, the project is now well under way, employing an assistant professor at Indiana University and two graduate students at the University of Chicago.