On Nov. 14, Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a lecture entitled “Ottoman and Safavid Religious Identities of the 16th Century” to the Philosophy Department at Texas State University, in San Marcos, Texas. In the course of this lecture, Al-Tikriti outlined the effects of the Safavid rise to power on religious identities in both Iran and the Ottoman Empire, as well as its longer term legacies on sectarianism in the Middle East. In addition, he drew parallels with developments which shaped Europe during the same period, pointing out that widely recognized trends experienced during the “Age of Reformation” took place well beyond the regions covered in most Western Civilization textbooks.
On Nov. 15, Al-Tikriti offered the keynote lecture for the Texas State University Phi Alpha Theta Graduate History Conference. During this lecture, entitled “Warrior Knights and Sea Ghazis in an Age of Empire,” Al-Tikriti criticized the narrative of most Western Civilizationtextbooks, which ignores what McGill University’s Professor Giancarlo Casale has referred to as the “Ottoman Age of Exploration.” In doing so, he first described Ottoman patronage of “sea ghazi” activities in the Mediterranean, particularly against the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. He then elaborated on the Ottomans’ “pivot to Asia,” whereby the imperial strategy shifted focus towards the Indian Ocean, where they successfully engaged with the rival Portuguese. Al-Tikriti thanks his colleagues at Texas State University for making this engaging and productive visit possible.