Headshot of John Curry

John Curry

Associate Professor
Department(s): History
Office: WRI-B 319
Phone: 702-895-4368
Email: john.curry@unlv.edu


John Curry, associate professor, received his B.A. in history with a minor in sub-Saharan African Studies from Northwestern University (1992). After spending a year in Cairo, Egypt and other parts of the Near East on a Fulbright scholarship during the 1992-93 academic year, he returned to acquire a dual M.A. from The Ohio State University in both the department of History and Arabic Language (1998). After several years of work and research in Turkey’s manuscript libraries and archives, he completed his dissertation on early modern Ottoman religious history and received his Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University (2005).

His research focuses on the history of mystical, religious, and intellectual movements in the Ottoman Empire and its environs. His first book, The Transformation of Muslim Mystical Thought in the Ottoman Empire: The Rise of the Halveti Order 1350-1650, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2010 to strong reviews. This was followed by an edited volume of twelve articles on aspects of Islamic mysticism co-edited with Prof. Erik S. Ohlander, Sufism and Society: Arrangements of the Mystical in the Muslim World 1200-1800, and published by Routledge Press (2012), of which he co-wrote the introduction and a chapter in the volume entitled "The Meeting of the Two Sultans': Three Sufi Mystics Negotiate with the Court of Murad III."

He also worked as part of a team that translated the universal geographical compendium of the Ottoman scholar and polymath Katip Celebi, the Cihân-nümâ ("Cosmographia"), which is scheduled to be published by Yale University Press in 2015. A critical work representing the intersection between newly-acquired European geographies like the Mercator Atlases and the geographical traditions of the Islamic world, this work will become available for a wider audience for the first time through his translations on the sections on the countries of the Pacific Rim, the Americas, and the Indian Subcontinent from Ottoman Turkish into English. He has recently published an article about his findings entitled "An Ottoman Geographer Engages the Early Modern World: Katip Celebi’s Vision of East Asia and the Pacific in the Cihannuma" in the Journal of Ottoman Studies (2012). Other recent publications include "The Intersection of Past and Present in the Genesis of an Ottoman Sufi Order: The Life of Cemal el-Halveti (d. 900/1494 or 905/1499) and the Origins of the Halveti Tariqa" in the Journal of Turkish Studies (In Memoriam Sinasi Tekin) (2008), and "Some Thoughts on the Greater Integration of Islamic Sources into the Wider Framework of Medieval History" in Quidditas: Journal of the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association (2007).

Prof. Curry has developed a two-semester survey in World History, covering global history during its ancient and medieval (Origins to 1500 C.E.) and early modern and modern (1500 C.E.-present) eras. He also teaches a two-semester course in the history of the Near East and Islamic world, covering from 500 C.E. to the present, and occasionally offers graduate colloquia and seminars in world historical topics. He is presently engaged in preparing a textbook that seeks to introduce students to historical sources about pre-modern Islamic civilizations. He is also presently researching a second book on Ottoman religio-mystical movements during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Istanbul’s libraries and manuscript collections.

Expert Areas

  • Near Eastern and Islamic History
  • The Ottoman Empire
  • World History