Brett Wilson works in the fields of late Ottoman and modern Turkish history with specialization in religious, intellectual, and global history. Currently, he is the Director of the Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies (CEMS).
His research interests include religious modernism, Sufism, print culture, and state relations with religious institutions. Working with Arabic, Ottoman, and Turkish language sources, his first book Translating the Qur’an in an Age of Nationalism: Print Culture and Modern Islam in Turkey (Oxford University Press, 2014) explores how and why Muslim intellectuals and statesmen attempted to create an official Turkish translation of the Qur'an and how this definitively modern text was envisioned as a milestone for national culture and religious reform. His current book project examines religious modernism in the late Ottoman/early Turkish Republican context, exploring secularizing reforms within a broader framework that takes into account the global context of progressive modernist reforms during the interwar period. Additionally, Wilson is working on a translation of the classic Turkish novel - Nur Baba (1922) by Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu - about a debauched Sufi lodge in turn-of-the-century Istanbul.
Prof. Wilson welcomes applications from students interested in working on theses/dissertations in:
- Late Ottoman Empire/Modern Turkish History
- National Culture
- Sufism - Islamic Movements and Thought
- Print Culture/History of the Book
- Translation and Intellectual History
Wilson, M. Brett. Translating the Qur’an in an Age of Nationalism: Print Culture and Modern Islam in Turkey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).
Wilson M. Brett. Milliyetçilık Çağında Kur'an Tercümeleri: Türkiye'de Yazılı Kültür ve Modern İslam. trans. Ceren Can Aydın (İstanbul: Alfa Yayınları, 2018).
Wilson, M. Brett. Pouvoir et secret dans l’Empire ottoman. L’initiation dans la confrérie Bektaşîe, written by Alberto Fabio Ambrosio, 2017, Die Welt des Islams, 60, no. 4 (2020), pp. 473-477.
Wilson, M. Brett. "Binding with a Perfect Sufi Master: Naqshbandi Defenses of rābiṭa from the Late Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic," Die Welt des Islams 60, no. 1 (2020), pp. 56-78.
Wilson, M. Brett. “Translations of the Qur’an: Islamicate Languages,” in The Oxford Handbook of Qur’anic Studies, eds. M.A. Abdel Haleem and Mustafa Shah, vol. 4 (Oxford University Press, 2020), pp. 552-564.
Wilson, M. Brett. "The Twilight of Ottoman Sufism: Antiquity, Immorality, and Nation in Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu’s Nur Baba," International Journal of Middle East Studies 49 (2017), pp. 233-253.
Wilson, M. Brett. “Mehmet Akif Ersoy ve Kur’an’a Erişim [Mehmet Akif Ersoy and Access to the
Qur’an],” trans. Sema Üstün, in Direnen Meali, ed. Recep Şentürk (Mahya, 2016), pp. 39-46.
Wilson, M. Brett. “Ritual and Rhyme: Alevi-Bektashi Interpretations and Translations of the Qur'an (1953-2007),” Journal of Qur'anic Studies 17:3 (2015), pp. 75-99.
Wilson, M. Brett. “The Optional Ramadan Fast: The Debate over Q. 2:184 in the Early Turkish Republic,” in The Meaning of the Word: Lexicology and Tafsīr. Ed. Stephen Burge (Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 351-371.
Wilson, M. Brett. “The Failure of Nomenclature: The Concept of ‘Orthodoxy’ in the Study of Islam,” in Orthodoxy and Heresy in Islam: Critical Concepts in Islam. Ed. Maria Isabel Fierro (Oxon: Routledge, 2013), pp. 153-176.
Wilson, M. Brett. “The First Translations of the Qur'an in Modern Turkey (1924-1938),” International Journal of Middle East Studies, 41 no. 3 (2009), pp. 419-435.
Wilson, M. Brett. “The Failure of Nomenclature: The Concept of ‘Orthodoxy’ in the Study of Islam,” Comparative Islamic Studies, 3 no. 2 (2007), pp. 169-194.
Wilson, M. Brett. “Women, Gender, and Women's Religious Education: Turkey” in Encyclopedia Of Women & Islamic Cultures, Volume IV: Economics, Education, Mobility and Space, ed. Suad Joseph (Leiden: Brill, 2006), pp. 9-10.
Courses Taught in the previous years
- From Atatürk to Erdoğan: Political History of Modern Turkey
- Historiography II: Grand Debates in Mediterranean History (together with Volker Menze)
- Religion and Society in Turkey
- Cultural History of the Late Ottoman Empire
- Great Lives: Biography and Individual Lives in Historical Writing
- Religion in the Public Sphere
- Modern Turkey: Religion, Culture, and Nation