Professor Marc David Baer

Professor Marc David Baer

Professor

Department of International History

Telephone
+44 (0)20 7849 4975
Room No
SAR.3.17
Languages
English, German, Turkish
Key Expertise
Early Modern and Modern Europe and Middle East

About me

*on sabbatical leave 2020/21*

Marc David Baer (PhD, History, University of Chicago) is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of five books: Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), winner, Albert Hourani Prize, Middle East Studies Association of North America, Best Book in Middle East Studies, translated into Turkish as IV. Mehmet Döneminde Osmanlı Avrupa'sında İhtida ve Fetih(Istanbul: Hil, 2010); The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010), translated into Turkish as Selânikli Dönmeler: Musevilikten Dönenler, Müslüman Devrimciler, ve Laik Türkler (Istanbul: Doğan, 2011), and translated into Greek as Οι ντονμε τησ θεσσαλονικησ: Εξισλαμισθέντες Εβραίοι, Επαναστάτες Μουσουλμάνοι, Κοσμικοί Τούρκοι (Thessaloniki: Epikentro, 2020); At Meydanı'nda Ölüm: 17. Yüzyıl İstanbul'unda Toplumsal Cinsiyet, Hoşgörü veİhtida (Death on the Hippodrome: Gender, Tolerance, and Conversion in 17th century Istanbul) (Istanbul: Koç Yayınları, 2016); and German, Jew, Muslim, Gay: The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus and Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks: Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide.

In addition, he has published works on Turks in Germany including “Mistaken for Jews: Turkish PhD Students in Nazi Germany” (German Studies Review) and “Turk and Jew in Berlin: The First Turkish Migration to Berlin and the Shoah” (Comparative Studies in Society & History) as well as German-Jewish converts to Islam including “Protestant Islam in Weimar Germany: Hugo Marcus and ‘The Message of the Holy Prophet Muhammad to Europe.’” (New German Critique) and “Muslim Encounters with Nazism and the Holocaust: The Ahmadi of Berlin and German-Jewish Convert to Islam Hugo Marcus" (The American Historical Review).

Marc David Baer's two new books will be released in 2020. The first, released in March 2020 with the Indiana Series in Sephardi and Mizrahi Studies, Indiana University Press, is called Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks: Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide. Baer confronts long-standing convictions about harmonious Turkish-Jewish relations to reflect on what moral responsibility the descendants of the victims of one genocide have to the descendants and victims of another. He delves into the history of Muslim-Jewish relations in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey to tease out the origin of these many tangled truths. In this, he aims to bring about reconciliation between Jews, Muslims, and Christians, not only to face inconvenient historical facts, but to confront it and come to terms with it. By looking at the complexities of interreligious relations, Holocaust denial, democide and ethnic cleansing, and confronting some long-standing historical stereotypes, Baer sets out to tell a new history that goes against Turkish antisemitism and admits to the Armenian genocide.

The second, entitled German, Jew, Muslim, Gay: The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus was released in April 2020 with the Religion, Culture, and Public Life series, Columbia University Press. Hugo Marcus (1880-1966) was born a German-Jew, but converted to Islam, becoming one of the most prominent Muslims in Germany prior to the Second World War. He was also a gay man who never called himself so but fought for homosexual rights and wrote queer fiction under the pen name Hans Alienus during his decades of exile. Baer uses Marcus’s life and work to shed new light on a striking range of subjects, including German Jewish history and anti-Semitism, Islam in Europe, Muslim-Jewish relations, and the history of the gay rights struggle. He explores how Marcus created a unique synthesis of being German, gay and Muslim that positioned Goethe as an intellectual and spiritual model. Marcus’s life offers a new perspective on notions of sexuality and competing conceptions of gay identity in the multilayered world of interwar and postwar Europe.

Expertise Details

Early Modern and Modern Europe and Middle East; Ottoman Empire; Turkey; Germany

Teaching & supervision

Professor Marc David Baer usually teaches the following courses in the Department:

At undergraduate level:

HY118: Faith, Power and Revolution: Europe and the Wider World, c.1500-c.1800 (taught jointly with other members of the Department)

HY247: The History of Modern Turkey, 1789 to the Present

At postgraduate level:

HY459: The Ottoman Empire and its Legacy, 1299-1950

HY498/HY499: Dissertation

Professor Baer is supervising the following PhD students:

 Research student  Provisional thesis title
Yener Bayar The Life and Work of Mustafa Reshid Pasha, Nineteenth Century Ottoman Reformer
Sinan Ekim Towards a “New” Turkishness: Islam, Education and the Making of the “Good Citizen” in the 1950s

Publications

Professor Marc David Baer’s research focuses on the connected histories of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in European and Middle Eastern history, from the early modern era to the modern.

His first book, Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe (Oxford, 2008, Turkish translation, IV. Mehmet Döneminde Osmanlı Avrupasında İhtida ve Fetih, Hil, 2010), analyzes how Muslim proselytizers conceived and practiced converting other Muslims, as well as Christians and Jews to their interpretation of Islam. Honored by the Glory of Islam was awarded the Albert Hourani Prize of the Middle East Studies Association of North America as the best book in Middle East Studies, 2008. The monograph was also short listed as the best first book in the History of Religions by the American Academy of Religion, 2009. He ends Honored by the Glory of Islam with the conversion to Islam of a group of messianic Jews in seventeenth-century Ottoman Salonika, which is the focus of his second monograph, The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks (Stanford, 2010; Turkish translation, Selânikli Dönmeler: Musevilikten Dönenler, Müslüman Devrimciler, ve Laik Türkler, Doğan, 2011; Greek translation, Οι ντονμε τησ θεσσαλονικησ: Εξισλαμισθέντες Εβραίοι, Επαναστάτες Μουσουλμάνοι, Κοσμικοί Τούρκοι, Epikentro, 2020). The Dönme is the first complete history of a secretive Ottoman community from its origins to its dissolution in twentieth-century Istanbul. The Dönme was named finalist, Sephardic Culture category at the National Jewish Book Awards, 2010.

Dr Baer's subsequent book, At Meydanı’nda Ölüm: 17. Yüzyıl İstanbul'unda Toplumsal Cinsiyet, Hoşgörü ve İhtida (Death on theHippodrome: Gender, Tolerance, and Conversion in 17th century Istanbul), was published in Turkish in Istanbul by Koç Yayınları in 2016.

His latest books, Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks: Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide (Indian University Press) and German, Jew, Muslim, Gay: The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus (Columbia University Press) were both released in early 2020.

In addition to these monographs, he has written a number of academic articles, including:

Books

News & media

2020


Professor Marc David Baer’s second book this year out now

Released by Columbia University Press, German, Jew, Muslim, Gay: The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus uses the unconventional story of Hugo Marcus to reveal new aspects of the interconnected histories of Jewish and Muslim individuals and communities, including Muslim responses to Nazism and Muslim experiences of the Holocaust. Read more

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Opinion piece in Haaretz

Professor Baer contributed an opinion piece to Haaretz (23 April) on how prominent Jews, from Turkish chief rabbis to Israel’s presidents to US lay leaders, have propped up Turkey’s Armenian genocide denial. That’s only just begun to change. Read it here.

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New book released by Indiana University Press

Professor Baer’s latest book Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks was released by Indiana University Press in March. Professor Baer sheds light into what compels Jews in the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, and abroad to promote a positive image of Ottomans and Turks while they deny the Armenian genocide and the existence of antisemitism in Turkey. Read more about the book in the publisher's website.


2018


Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship awarded

Professor Baer was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship for 2018-19. This award will allow Professor Baer, a scholar of the connected histories of Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Europe and Middle East, from the early modern era to the modern, to complete his work on the project “Guided by Goethe: German-Jewish Gay Muslim Writer Hugo Marcus, 1880-1966”. German Jew Hugo Marcus (1880-1966) is the only man to have played an important role in the world’s first gay rights movement and in establishing Islam in Europe. His life and work shed new light on the history of Islam in Europe, Muslim-Jewish relations, and the gay rights struggle. Despite his significance, Marcus is relatively unknown. What is published about him does not incorporate his being German, Jewish, Muslim, and gay. Professor Baer plans to utilise his twelve-month Leverhulme Research Fellowship to write the first biography of Marcus, based on his German-language publications, speeches, private correspondence, and personal documents.


2017


Taz editorial

On 10 June, Professor Baer contributed an editorial article to the Berlin portal Taz on the Turkish President Recep Erdogan's antisemitic patterns of thought. Read it in the publication's website [in german].


2016


New book

Professor Marc David Baer's new book was released in May 2016. The book, published in Turkish, is a collection of his articles and it’s called At Meydanı’nda Ölüm: 17. Yüzyıl İstanbul'unda Toplumsal Cinsiyet, Hoşgörü ve İhtida (Death on theHippodrome: Gender, Tolerance, and Conversion in 17th century Istanbul). Read more about it.


2015


Professor Marc David Baer at CRASSH

Professor Marc Baer gave a presentation on "Conspiracy Theories about Jews in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey" on 24 November 2015 at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge. The event was part of a series of public talks from the Leverhulme-funded project Conspiracy and Democracy. Read more about the event.

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Professor Marc David Baer's event in Oxford

Professor Marc David Baer gave a lecture at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies on 26 October 2015. The event was part of the David Patterson Lectures. Professor Baer talked about "Jewish accounts of the Ottomans: From Sultanic Saviours to Turkish Rescuers". Read more about the lecture series.