Dr Ozan Ozavci is a transimperial historian—a researcher of the movement of resources (people, ideas, capital, prophylactic practices, etc.) across, in-between and beyond imperial borders, with particular reference to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and in the so-called age of empires (c. mid-18th to mid-20th centuries).

In 2023, Dr Ozavci started a new project on the history of global north-south public health cooperation. Funded by NWO (Dutch Research Council) Open Competition M and the Gingko Library(€360k) and European Research Council Consolidator Grant (€2m), his new research considers the factors that hindered and/or enabled sanitary internationalism, focusing not only on western Great Power politics and the inter-governmental conferences they organised, but also on the agency of medium and small powers, as well as the international sanitary councils that were established in the Middle East and North Africa.

In his early work, Dr Ozavci studied how the ideas of liberty and liberalism were transmitted from Europe and North America to MENA, and how they were (re-)conceptualised by local actors, resulting in the publication of his first monograph, The Intellectual Origins of the Republic (Brill, 2015). Since then, in his various work, he has examined cross-cultural encounters in MENA territories between native and Western actors such as diplomats, second-tier bureaucrats, doctors, journalists (Zionists), the representatives of transimperial banks and financial advisers.

His second monograph Dangerous Gifts: Imperialism, Security, and Civil Wars, 1798-1864 (Oxford University Press, 2021, paperback 2024) is a new history of the Eastern Question. It documents the genealogy of foreign armed interventions in the Ottoman Levant from the perspective of both American and European (Austrian, British, French, Prussian, Russian), and Ottoman (imperial elites and subjects) historical actors. Dangerous Gifts has been celebrated by top historians as a “major contribution” that “defines the state of the art” in diplomatic history, “set[ting] new standards in how future scholars should read diplomatic relations in the larger European context.” 

Dr Ozavci's third monograph The Invention of the Eastern Question: International Law, the Capitulations and Peace in the Embassies of Sir Robert Liston (Bloomsbury, exp. 2024) explains how the Russian invasion of the Crimea changed world history at the turn of the nineteenth century by triggering the most dangerous, complex and enduring issue in nineteenth-century international politics: the Eastern Question. 

Dr Ozavci is co-founder and co-convenor of The Lausanne Project, which is a forum for scholarly research (and valorisation) on the relations of MENA with the rest of the world in the interwar period and beyond. In 2023, he co-edited (with Jonathan Conlin) a volume titled They All Made Peace - What’s Peace? The 1923 Lausanne Treaty and the New Imperial Order (Gingko), which brings together top historians to re-narrate the history of the Lausanne Peace Conference and the world around it.

Dr Ozavci co-authored a graphic novel (with Julia Secklehner and Jonathan Conlin, and artist Gökçe Erverdi), De la lumière a l’ombre, which tells the complex history of peace-making in the inter-war period in a fun, entertaining but also thought-provoking manner through the perspective of Hacivat and Karagöz, the luckless heroes of a shadow puppet theatre. The Lausanne Project’s programmes include fortnightly publication of blog posts and podcasts, exhibitions, online galleries as well as a teaching package for high school teachers and students in Greece and Turkey. 

In 2022, Dr Ozavci initiated and co-founded the Security History Network together with Beatrice de Graaf and Erik de Lange. The three will publish a jointly edited book in 2024 titled Securing Empire: Imperial Cooperation and Competition in the Nineteenth Century (Bloomsbury).

Dr Ozavci has been a core member of the inter-faculty Contesting Governance Platform , a member of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Faculty of Humanities, a fellow of the Centre for Global Challenges and the strategic developer of its International Community Engaged Learning Lab at Utrecht University.