About Reuben Silverman

I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at Stockholm University’s Institute for Turkish Studies, where I focus on politics and culture in Turkey and the Middle East. I received my PhD in Middle Eastern History from UC San Diego in 2022. My dissertation work--and next book--focuses on the process of democratization in Turkey during the 1950s and the ways in which it was shaped by center-right populism and the larger Cold War context. Beyond my doctoral work, I write regularly on historical and contemporary issues in Turkey. My work has been collected in three books, Turkey's Ever Present Past: Stories From Turkish Republican History (2015); Politics in Turkey: Parties, Politicians and the Struggle for Power (2018); and Borderline Personalities: Lives at the Political, Social and Geographic Edges of Modern Turkey (2021).

Reuben Silverman is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Stockholm University’s Institute for Turkish Studies.

Reuben's website

NBN Episodes hosted by Reuben:

Alexander Christie-Miller, "To the City: Life and Death Along the Ancient Walls of Istanbul" (Pegasus Books, 2024)

March 8, 2024

To the City

Alexander Christie-Miller
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Walking along the crumbling defensive walls of Istanbul and talking to those he passes, Alexander Christie-Miller finds a distillation of the country’…

Alp Yenen and Erik-Jan Zürcher, "A Hundred Years of Republican Turkey: A History in a Hundred Fragments" (Leiden UP, 2023)

February 5, 2024

A Hundred Years of Republican Turkey

Alp Yenen and Erik-Jan Zürcher
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

The Republic of Turkey was founded a hundred years ago on 29 October 1923. Turkey holds a unique position between Europe and the Middle East. It conti…

Ilkay Yilmaz, "Ottoman Passports: Security and Geographic Mobility, 1876-1908" (Syracuse UP, 2023)

December 24, 2023

Ottoman Passports

Ilkay Yilmaz
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

In Ottoman Passports: Security and Geographic Mobility, 1876-1908 (Syracuse University Press, 2023), İlkay Yılmaz reconsiders the history of two polit…

Devrim Adam Yavuz, "Democracy and Capitalism in Turkey: The State, Power, and Big Business" (Bloomsbury, 2023)

December 23, 2023

Democracy and Capitalism in Turkey

Devrim Adam Yavuz
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

While a positive correlation between capitalism and democracy has existed in Western Europe and North America, the example of late-industrializing nat…

Valentina Marcella, "Laughing Matters: Graphic Satire Reckoning with the 1980 Coup in Turkey" (Istituto per l’Oriente C. A. Nallino, 2022)

October 12, 2023

Laughing Matters

Valentina Marcella
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Valentina Marcella's Laughing Matters: Graphic Satire Reckoning with the 1980 Coup in Turkey (Istituto per l’Oriente C. A. Nallino 2022) focuses on th…

Timur Warner Hammond, "Placing Islam: Geographies of Connection in Twentieth-Century Istanbul" (U California Press, 2023)

September 27, 2023

Placing Islam

Timur Warner Hammond
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

For centuries, the Mosque of Eyüp Sultan has been one of Istanbul’s most important pilgrimage destinations, in large part because of the figure buried…

Anthony Gad Bigio, "A Sephardi Turkish Patriot: Gad Franco in the Turmoil of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic" (Hamilton Books, 2023)

September 17, 2023

A Sephardi Turkish Patriot

Anthony Gad Bigio
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

In A Sephardi Turkish Patriot: Gad Franco in the Turmoil of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic (Hamilton Books, 2023), Anthony Gad Bigio expl…

Ilkim Büke Okyar, "Arabs in Turkish Political Cartoons, 1876-1950: National Self and Non-National Other" (Syracuse UP, 2023)

July 22, 2023

Arabs in Turkish Political Cartoons, 1876-1950

Ilkim Büke Okyar
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

The emergence of Turkish nationalism prior to World War I opened the way for various ethnic, religious, and cultural stereotypes to link the notion of…

Kaya Sahin, "Peerless Among Princes: The Life and Times of Sultan Süleyman" (Oxford UP, 2023)

June 29, 2023

Peerless Among Princes

Kaya Sahin
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Süleyman, who ruled the Ottoman Empire between 1520 and 1566, was a globally recognized figure during his lifetime. In Peerless Among Princes: The Lif…

James H. Meyer, "Red Star over the Black Sea: Nazim Hikmet and His Generation" (Oxford UP, 2023)

June 3, 2023

Red Star over the Black Sea

James H. Meyer
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Nâzım Hikmet (1902-1963) is best known as a poet and communist whose daring flight by motorboat from Turkey to the Eastern Bloc captured international…

Max Weiss, "Revolutions Aesthetic: A Cultural History of Ba'thist Syria" (Stanford UP, 2022)

May 28, 2023

Revolutions Aesthetic

Max Weiss
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

The November 1970 coup that brought Hafiz al-Asad to power fundamentally transformed cultural production in Syria. A comprehensive intellectual, ideol…

Gönül Tol, "Erdoğan's War: A Strongman's Struggle at Home and in Syria" (Oxford UP, 2023)

May 5, 2023

Erdoğan's War

Gönül Tol
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey's pugnacious president, is now the country's longest-serving leader. On his way to the top, he has fought many wars. This…

Hilary Falb Kalisman, "Teachers as State-Builders: Education and the Making of the Modern Middle East" (Princeton UP, 2022)

March 15, 2023

Teachers as State-Builders

Hilary Falb Kalisman
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Today, it is hard to imagine a time and place when public school teachers were considered among the elite strata of society. But in the lands controll…

Shivan Mahendrarajah, "A History of Herat: From Chingiz Khan to Tamerlane" (Edinburgh UP, 2022)

March 5, 2023

A History of Herat

Shivan Mahendrarajah
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Shivan Mahendrarajah's A History of Herat: From Chingiz Khan to Tamerlane (Edinburgh University Press, 2022) follows the history of the city, from its…

Mostafa Minawi, "Losing Istanbul: Arab-Ottoman Imperialists and the End of Empire" (Stanford UP, 2022)

January 23, 2023

Losing Istanbul

Mostafa Minawi
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Mostafa Minawi's Losing Istanbul: Arab-Ottoman Imperialists and the End of Empire (Stanford University Press, 2022) offers an intimate history of empi…

Elise Massicard, "Street-Level Governing: Negotiating the State in Urban Turkey" (Stanford UP, 2022)

October 4, 2022

Street-Level Governing

Elise Massicard
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Muhtars, the lowest level elected political position in Turkey, hold an ambiguously defined place within the administrative hierarchy. They are public…

Sevgi Adak, "Anti-Veiling Campaigns in Turkey: State, Society and Gender in the Early Republic" (I. B. Tauris, 2022)

August 12, 2022

Anti-Veiling Campaigns in Turkey

Sevgi Adak
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

The veiling and unveiling of women have been controversial issues in Turkey since the late-Ottoman period. It was with the advent of local campaigns a…

Lily Pearl Balloffet, "Argentina in the Global Middle East" (Stanford UP, 2020)

June 9, 2022

Argentina in the Global Middle East

Lily Pearl Balloffet
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Argentina lies at the heart of the American hemisphere's history of global migration booms of the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth century: by 1910, …

Sarah-Neel Smith, "Metrics of Modernity: Art and Development in Postwar Turkey" (U California Press, 2022)

March 8, 2022

Metrics of Modernity

Sarah-Neel Smith
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Metrics of Modernity: Art and Development in Postwar Turkey (University of California Press, 2022) is a vivid portrait of the art world of 1950s Turke…

Avner Wishnitzer, "As Night Falls: Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Cities after Dark" (Cambridge UP, 2021)

December 16, 2021

As Night Falls

Avner Wishnitzer
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

In a world that is constantly awake, illuminated and exposed, there is much to gain from looking into the darkness of times past. Avner Wishnitzer's A…

Pouya Alimagham, "Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprisings" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

December 9, 2021

Contesting the Iranian Revolution

Pouya Alimagham
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Most observers of Iran viewed the Green Uprisings of 2009 as a 'failed revolution', with many Iranians and those in neighboring Arab countries agreein…

Kevin M. Jones, "The Dangers of Poetry: Culture, Politics, and Revolution in Iraq" (Stanford UP, 2020)

June 2, 2021

The Dangers of Poetry

Kevin M. Jones
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Poetry has long dominated the cultural landscape of modern Iraq, simultaneously representing the literary pinnacle of high culture and giving voice to…

Christine M. Philliou, "Turkey: A Past Against History" (U California Press, 2021)

May 12, 2021


Christine M. Philliou
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

Christine M. Philliou's Turkey: A Past Against History (University of California Press, 2021) challenges conventional understandings about the transit…

Amit Bein, "Kemalist Turkey and the Middle East: International Relations in the Interwar Period" (Cambridge UP, 2017)

February 8, 2021

Kemalist Turkey and the Middle East

Amit Bein
Hosted by Reuben Silverman

To better understand the lasting legacy of international relations in the post-Ottoman Middle East, Amit Bein's Kemalist Turkey and the Middle East: I…