Fariba Zarinebaf Fariba Zarinebaf
Associate Professor
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1991

*** On research leave, Fall 2016 ***

Areas of specialization: Ottoman empire, social; Middle East, gender; Caucasus; Iran; Islamic


Curriculum Vitae


Fariba Zarinebaf obtained her B.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her Ph.D. 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.


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 two projects 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.


  • Fulbright scholars fellowship, 2013-14
  • American Research Institute in Turkey (2010)
  • Center for Ideas and Society, UCR (2010)
  • Newberry summer fellowship (2009)
  • Senate regents fellowship (2009-10)
  • Summer Research Grant, University of Virginia, 2008-09
  • Iran Heritage Foundation Research Grant, 2006-07
  • University Faculty Research Grant, Northwestern University, 2005-06
  • NEH-ARIT (National Endowment for the Humanities and American Research Institute in Turkey), 1998-1999 and 1995-96.


  • Middle Eastern Studies Association
  • Turkish Studies Association


  • Women on the Margins: Gender, Charity, and Justice in the Early Modern Middle East. Istanbul, ISIS press, 2014.
  • Crime and Punishment in Istanbul, 1700-1800. University of California Press, 2010. (Runner up for the Emory Elliott book award, 2012)
  • F. Zarinebaf, J.L. Davis and J. Bennet, An Historical and Economic Geography of Ottoman Greece: Southwest Morea in the Eighteenth Century. Princeton: American School of Classical Studies, 2005. (co-authored)
  • Thierry Zarcone and Fariba Zarinebaf-Shahr, eds., Les Iraniens d'Istanbul. (Bibliothèque Iranienne No. 42, Varia Turcica XXIV) Paris, Tehran, and Istanbul: Institut Français d'Études Anatoliennes, Paris, Tehran, Louvain: Peeters, 1993. (co-authored)

Galata Encounters: Cosmopolitanism in an Ottoman Port, 1750-1850. (Under contract with the University of California Press)

  • Kurban Said, Ali and Nino, A Love Story, Anchor Books, 2000, LA Times Review of Books, July 2012. http://lareviewofbooks.org/review/a-tale-of-love-and-nostalgia-across-religious-divides-in-the-caucasus
  • "Intercommunal Life in Eighteenth Century Istanbul," Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, Summer 2012. Forthcoming.
  • "Asserting Military Power in a World Turned Upside Down: The Istanbul Festivals of 1582 and 1638," in Celebrations, Entertainment and Theatre in the Ottoman World, edited y Suraiya Faroqhi & Arzu Ozturkmen. I.B. Tauris, forthcoming.
  • "Models: A View from the Ottoman Margin," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 12, 2 (Spring 2011): 489-99.
  • "Rebels and Renegades on the Ottoman-Iranian Frontier" in Iran Facing Others: Identity Boundaries in a Historical Perspective, edited by Abbas Amanat and Farzin Vejdani, London: Palgrave. 2012.
  • "From mahalle (neighborhood) to the Market and the Courts: Women, Credit and Property in Istanbul" in Gender, Kinship and Property in the Wider Mediterranean: Centers and Peripheries (1300-1800), edited by Jutta Sperling and Shona Wray. Routledge, 2010.
  • "Maintien de lordre et contrôle social à Istanbul au XVIIIe siècle", Métiers de Police: Être policier en Europe, XVIIIe-XXe siècle (Presses Universitaire de Rennes, 2009),  87-96.
  • "From Istanbul to Tabriz: Modernity and Constitutionalism in the Ottoman Empire and Iran", Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, vol. 28, no. 1 (2008).
  • "On the Edge of Empires: Dubrovnik and Anavarin between Venice and Istanbul," in Living in the Ottoman Ecumenical Community, Festschrift for Suraiya Faroqhi, edited by Vera Costantini and Markus Koller (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2008).
  • "Feeding the Poor: The 'Imaret of Rab'-i Rashidi in Tabriz," in Feeding People, Feeding Power, Imarets in the Ottoman Empire, edited by Amy Singer, Nina Ergin and Christoph Neumann (Istanbul: Eren Publishers, 2007).


  • RCAC residential fellowship, Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Studies, Istanbul, Encounters and Empires: Islam, Europe, Gender and Modernity in Ottoman Istanbul, 2011-2012.


  • HIST 30, Harem in Middle Eastern History and European Narratives
  • HIST 121, Survey of Middle Eastern History, 1200-1800
  • HIST 124, Women in Middle Eastern-Islamic History;
  • HIST 125, Islam & Revolution in Iran
  • HIST 126, Istanbul in History and Fiction
  • HIST 277, Approaching Early Modern World: The Ottoman Empire and Europe