Dr Ferenc Csirkés PhD

Dr Ferenc Csirkés

Department of History
Assistant Professor in the History of the Pre-modern Islamicate World

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Csirkés’s research interests include Iranian history, Ottoman history, Ottoman Turkish literature, Persian literature, cultural history, Central Asian history, and Central Asian literature.


  • PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, The University of Chicago
  • MA in Middle Eastern Studies, The University of Chicago
  • MA in Iranian Studies, Eötvös Loránd University
  • MA in English Language and Literature, Eötvös Loránd University
  • BA in Turkic Philology, Eötvös Loránd University


I studied Turkish, Persian and English in Hungary before I moved to the US, first to Bloomington, Indiana as a Fulbright visiting student; from there my path led to the University of Chicago, where I completed my PhD. Prior to arriving at the University of Birmingham, I taught at Central European University in Hungary, the University of Tübingen in Germany, Sabancı University in Turkey, and Simon Fraser University in Canada.


Autumn 2023:

  • LC: Practising History A
  • LC: Discovering the Middle Ages
  • LC: Making of the Modern World, 1500-1800
  • Dissertations (UG)

Spring 2024:

  • LC: Practising History B
  • LC: Living in the Middle Ages
  • LH/LM: After the Caliphate: Political Authority in Islamic Lands
  • LI Group Research
  • Dissertations PGT and DL

Postgraduate supervision

I welcome postgraduate (doctoral and master’s) students to work with me on any aspect of the history or literary culture of the pre-modern Islamicate world, especially Iran, Central Asia and the Ottoman Empire.

I have hitherto supervised master’s and doctoral students working on

Ottoman intellectual history
Ottoman religious history
Ottoman-Iranian history
Ottoman cultural history
History of Iran

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


I am a cultural, literary, and intellectual historian of medieval and early modern Iran, the Ottoman Empire and Central Asia. My research straddles the larger Persianate and Turkic worlds of the medieval and early modern eras, exploring the political, cultural, and social role of Muslim Turkic/Turkish (Ottoman, Chaghatay, Azerbaijani) literary traditions against their Persian and Arabic backgrounds. Relying on primary sources in all these languages and having an equal footing in Iranian, Ottoman, and Central Asian history, I study empire, cosmopolitanism, religious and ethnic identities, and processes of confessionalisation and vernacularisation in the late medieval and early modern periods. I am also interested in comparative and network-based approaches to global history, combining literary, intellectual, and cultural history, as well as historical sociolinguistics, while also asking questions relevant to social and religious history.

I am currently completing two monographic projects. Titled Sons of Japheth and Ali: Turkic Language and Ideology in Medieval and Early Modern Iran, the first book focuses on the relationship between literary language and political theology in medieval and early modern Islamic empires. Based on multilingual manuscripts, it explores how the Safavid, Ottoman and Mughal empires, as well as the Uzbek Khanates of Central Asia, all came from the same tribal matrix of the post-Mongol world but developed entirely different confessional, linguistic, and social arrangements in the early modern period, Iran becoming Shii and Persophone, while the Ottoman Empire and most of Central Asia Sunni and Turkophone. My second book project, tentatively titled Pen, Sword and Brush: Sadiqi Beg (1533-1610) and Self-Fashioning in Early Modern Iran, is an intellectual biography of a prominent but neglected bilingual poet and painter in Safavid Iran against the background of contemporary sea changes in patronage, literary and pictorial taste, as well as religious outlook and political centralisation.


Recent publications


Çelebi, K, Hagen, G (ed.), Dankoff, R (ed.) 2021, An Ottoman Cosmography: Translation of Cihnnüm. translated by Ferenc Csirkes, John Curry, Gary Leiser, Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1 The Near and Middle East, vol. 142, Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004441330

Csirkes, F 2006, A fehér vár. Ulpius.


Csirkés, F 2019, 'A Messiah Untamed: Notes on the Philology of Shah Ismāʿīl’s Dīvān', Iranian Studies, vol. 52, no. 3-4, pp. 339-395. https://doi.org/10.1080/00210862.2019.1648998

Csirkés, F 2015, 'Messianic Oeuvres in Interaction: Misattributed Poems by Shah Esma'il and Nesimi', Journal of Persianate Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 155-194. https://doi.org/10.1163/18747167-12341288

Csirkes, F 2015, 'Vambery as a Public Figure', Archivum Ottomanicum.

Csirkes, F 2013, 'Nemzeti tudomány és nemzetközi politika Vámbéry Ármin munkásságában', Magyar Tudomány.

Csirkés, F 2011, 'Mystical love as the day of judgement. Eschatology in jalal al-din rumi's divan-i kabir', Acta Orientalia, vol. 64, no. 3, pp. 305-324. https://doi.org/10.1556/AOrient.64.2011.3.4

Csirkes, F 2007, 'Adalék Vámbéry Ármin cionista kapcsolataihoz: Vámbéry és Szürejja pasa levélváltása', Keletkutatás.

Csirkés, F 2007, 'Aspects of poetic imitation in 15th-17th-century Turkish romances. The case of the Gul u Navrūz', Acta Orientalia, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 195-221. https://doi.org/10.1556/AOrient.60.2007.2.3


Csirkes, F 2021, Popular Religiosity and Vernacular Turkic: A Qezelbash catechism from Safavid Iran. in C Melville (ed.), Safavid Persia in the Age of Empires. 1st edn, The Idea of Iran, vol. 10, Bloomsbury, pp. 211–240. https://doi.org/10.5040/9780755633814.ch-009

Csirkés, F 2019, Turkish/Turkic books of poetry, Turkish and Persian Lexicography: The Politics of Language under Bayezid II. in G Necipoğlu, C Kafadar & CH Fleischer (eds), Muqarnas, Supplements. 1 edn, Muqarnas, Supplements, no. 1, vol. 14, Brill, pp. 673-733. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004402508_023

Csirkes, F 2015, Vámbéry és Közép-Ázsia. in Vámbéry-tanulmányok.

Csirkes, F 2012, Egy török nyelvű vallási propagandavers a XVI. századi Iránból és Anatóliából. in Doromb: Közköltészeti tanulmányok.

Csirkes, F 2007, Sport és misztika: Birkózás a török és iráni világban. in Kőrösi Csoma Sándor és keleti hagyományaink.

Doctoral Thesis

Csirkes, F 2016, '"Chaghatay oration, Ottoman eloquence, Qizilbash rhetoric”: Turkic Literature in Ṣafavid Persia'.

View all publications in research portal