Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Palmira Brummett

Professor Emeritus


Professor Brummett taught Middle Eastern history, world history, and rhetorics of cross-cultural encounter (East-West, national, gendered). She is interested in the ways in which identities are imagined and constructed. Her specialty is the Ottoman empire, particularly its history of commerce and communication in the Afro-Eurasian sphere: “I am interested in all aspects of the history of a broad region centering on the Middle East but extending into South Asia, Africa, and Europe. I like to explore the intersections between rhetoric and reality; and I want my students to think about the differences between ideology, rhetoric, and action.

Past classes have focused on how national identity is “mapped” in words and images, and on comparative women’s history in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Two current classes address early modern Ottoman-European relations and representations; and the ways in which the United States has crafted a set of visions of the Middle East. My world history survey examines pre-modern conceptualizations of the relations and boundaries between different sorts of beings: human, divine, animal, and mixtures thereof. Recent research projects have focused on early twentieth century Ottoman cartoons, and on ceremonies of submission–the words, actions, and material goods that a person, group or kingdom uses when it submits to another person, group, or kingdom (15th-17th centuries). Currently I am working on two book projects: 1) the ways in which Europeans mapped the Ottomans, in narrative and image, in the early modern era, comparing those craftings of space, sovereignty, and society to Ottoman self mappings; and 2) a monograph on the Ottoman Adriatic, 1500-1700.


Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1988

M.P.H. University of Illinois School of Public Health, 1981

Awards and Recognitions

  • Distinguished Professor of Humanities, University of Tennessee
  • American Council of Learned Societies fellowship, 2009-2010.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities grant, 2003-2004
  • Lindsay Young Professorships, 1998 and 1999
  • Phi Beta Kappa Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching and Research, 1995.

Selected Publications

  • Ottoman Seapower and Levantine Diplomacy in the Age of Discovery (SUNY 1994)
  • Image and Imperialism in the Ottoman Revolutionary Press (SUNY 2000)
  • Civilizations Past and Present (Longmans, 2000, 2003 and 2005)

Contact Information