Fariba Zarinebaf obtained her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and Islamic history from the University of Chicago in Islamic history. Before coming to the UC Riverside, Fariba Zarinebaf taught at the University of Virginia, Northwestern University, Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She also taught at the University of Chicago.
My next book project, Galata Encounters, Cosmopolitanism in an Ottoman Port, 1750-1850, which is under contract to the University of California Press, will examine the port of Galata ( Istanbul) as a treaty port and a free trade zone in the early modern period. Setting it in the context of eastern Mediterranean cities, I will trace its layered history to the Byzantine and Genoese periods and will focus on the impact of Ottoman conquest on the former Genoese port. I will examine the transformation of Galata from a Genoese port into a port of trade with Western Europe ( France) and a center of diplomacy in the Levant. Galata was also emerging as an important port of transit trade between the Balkans, imperial Russia and the Mediterranean, thus making it a strategic port in the north- south axis. By the nineteenth century, it was one of the the most cosmopolitan ports in Europe and the Islamic world.
I am interested in the social and urban history of the Ottoman Empire and Iran. Filling an important gap in Ottoman studies, my book, Crime and Punishment in Istanbul, 1700-1800, published by the University of California Press in 2010, examines the history of violence, criminality, policing and punishment in Istanbul from the eighteenth to the early nineteenth centuries. Mapping urban violence and crime in Istanbul's multi-ethnic and diverse social landscape, this study links violence and crime to political, economic and social transformations in the Mediterranean's largest metropolis. My work seeks to normalize the history of Istanbul through the lens of Istanbul's police records, Islamic court documents, Ottoman narrative sources and European travelogues. I also argue that contrary to the existing trajectories of Ottoman modernization based on Western models alone, the Ottoman legal system based on the shari'a, custom, and kanun continued to exert influence on the penal code well into the twentieth century. The system of Ottoman justice allowed for constant negotiation between communal courts, the kadi court and the imperial council. Moreover, the role of state in punishing crime and policing expanded in the eighteenth century contrary to the proponents of Ottoman decentralization theory. The Ottoman state was not too different from its Western counterparts in controlling and disciplining its unruly population, sexual transgressions, and various categories of crime at times of social and political unrest.
My next project will focus on cosmoplitanism and modernity in Istanbul during the nineteenth century. I am also working on expanding my dissertation to study Azerbaijan between two empires (the Safavid and Ottoman) and examnine the history of a borderland region in the early modern period. I am also writing a Memoir of growing up in Pre-Revolutionary Iran.
My other interests include Islamic history and civilization; The Ottoman Empire and Iran; Gender in Middle Eastern history; Islamic Legal history; Urban and social history of the Ottoman empire and Iran; Crime and policing in Istanbul; Ottoman Greece; Inter-communal relations in Istanbul; Azerbaijan and the Caucasus; History of women's charity and philanthropy in the Middle East; Modernity and Sexuality in the Middle East; Persian literature.
- Middle Eastern Studies Association
- Turkish Studies Association