Dr. Ümit Kurt

Areas of specialization:

Ottoman history, Early Turkish Republic, Intellectual History, Socio-Economic History, Mass Violence, Ethnicity and National Studies

Areas of competence:

Armenian genocide, Comparative Genocides, Local Historiography, Early Modern Turkish Nationalism, Transformation of Wealth


Ümit Kurt a historian of the modern Middle East, with a research focus on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. He specializes in the late Ottoman socio-economic history, Armenian genocide, mass/collective violence and interethnic conflicts. His broader training also includes the comparative empires, population movements, history of the Ottoman urban and local elites, wealth transfer and nationalism.

His research focuses on the elite-making process that have been largely absent from historical writings on the Middle East. By situating the physical and material destruction of Armenians within context of the creation/construction of Turkish-Muslim urban elite in Aintab, modern day Gaziantep, his work provides a comparative case for the elite formation and its social repercussions in the Eastern Mediterranean. His work shows that within the crucible of the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, World War I, and the advent of late European colonialism, a discrete urban bourgeoisie elite/class took shape. It was defined not just by the wealth, professions, possessions, or the levels of education of its members, but also by the way they acquire this wealth and status which was at the expense of Armenian Christians. In this way, he contributes to the global historiographies of state and nation formation, elite and bourgeoisie making processes, economic nationalization, and collective violence.


The Armenians of Aintab: The Economics of Genocide in an Ottoman Province (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2021)

Co-edited with Ara Sarafian, Armenians and Kurds in the Late Ottoman Empire (CA: The Press California State University Fresno, 2020).

Antep 1915: Soykırım ve Failler (Istanbul: İletişim, September 2018).

“The Political Micro-Economy of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1922,” Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, vol. 20, no. 6, 2018, pp. 618-638.

“Theatres of Violence on the Ottoman Periphery: Exploring the Local Roots of Genocidal Policies in Antep,” Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 20, issue 3, 2018, pp. 351-371.

“The Curious Case of Ali Cenani Bey: The Story of a Génocidaire,” Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 52, issue 1, 2018, pp. 58-77.


The Spirit of the Laws: The Plunder of Wealth in the Armenian Genocide, co-authored with Taner Akçam (New York: Berghahn Books, 2017).

“Revisiting the Legal Infrastructure for Confiscation of the Armenian and Greek Wealth: A Political-Economic Analysis of the CUP Years and the Early Modern Republic,” Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 53, issue 5, 2017, pp. 700-723.