Dr. Henry Shapiro

Areas of specialization:

Early Modern Ottoman Empire, Early Modern Armenian History, Muslim-Christian Relations

Areas of competence:

Early Modern Islamic World, Ottoman Empire, Safavid Iran, Modern Turkey


Henry Shapiro’s research focuses on the place of non-Muslims in the early modern Islamic World.  He works mainly on the Ottoman Empire, with a secondary interest in Safavid Iran. Shapiro has been a Polonsky fellow since 2018, joining immediately after the completion of his PhD in the History Department of Princeton University.  Previously he had earned degrees from Brown University (BA in Classics), Harvard University (Master of Divinity), and Sabancı University in Istanbul, Turkey (MA in History).  In 2017, Shapiro was awarded the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, the Princeton Graduate School’s top honor.

Shapiro conducts research based on Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Arabic, Armenian, and Greek primary sources, and he has written articles in English, Turkish, and Eastern Armenian. His most recent publications include, “Falling Out of Love with the Franks: The Life and Writings of an Armenian Catholic Diplomat in the Service of Late Safavid Persia,” Iranian Studies 54 (2021):  573-603; and “The Great Armenian Flight:  Migration and Cultural Change in the Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Empire,” Journal of Early Modern History 23 (2019):  67-89.  His first book, entitled The Rise of the Western Armenian Diaspora in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire:  From Refugee Crisis to Renaissance, is forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press’s series on “Non-Muslim Contributions to Islamic Civilization” in Spring 2022.

Shapiro regularly teaches in the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, including both philology courses on the Classical Armenian language and history courses on medieval Anatolia and the early modern Islamic empires.