New Books Network

The past decade has seen a tremendous production of scholarship on American missionary endeavors in the Middle East. In Faithful Encounters: Authorities and American Missionaries...

The past decade has seen a tremendous production of scholarship on American missionary endeavors in the Middle East. In Faithful Encounters: Authorities and American Missionaries in the Ottoman Empire (McGill-Queens University Press, 2018), Emrah Şahin approaches this dynamic field of inquiry from a less-common perspective, that of the Ottoman Empire. Relying on largely untapped official imperial sources emanating from the Sublime Porte, Şahin recounts complaints from local authorities and fraught diplomatic considerations, which Ottoman sultans, ministers, and bureaucrats were forced to grapple with as they sought to maintain control of their Empire. Weaving together compelling stories from Ottoman records, the book describes the Sublime Porte’s efforts to regulate physical space, censor missionary publications, and monitor missionary activities. With engaging anecdotes, Faithful Encounters offers a more complex look at Muslim-Christian relations and America’s engagement with the Ottomans.

Emrah Şahin is the director of the Turkish Studies Program at the University of Florida and a lecturer at their Center for European Studies. He earned his PhD in History from McGill University in Canada.


Joshua Donovan is a PhD candidate at Columbia University’s Department of History. His dissertation examines national and sectarian identity formation within the Greek Orthodox Christian community in Syria, Lebanon, and the diaspora.