Heath W. Lowry, the Atatürk Professor of Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies, has been a member of the Princeton faculty for twenty years. Prior to that time he was a founding member of the history department at Bosphorus University in Istanbul, Turkey, from 1973 to 1980 and a senior research associate at Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C., from 1980 to 1983. Between 1983 and 1993, he established and directed the Institute of Turkish Studies in Washington, D.C. Currently, together with his position at Princeton University, he serves as an adviser to the chair of the Board of Trustees of Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul.
Heath began his “ongoing affair” with Turkey as a Peace Corps volunteer in a small Turkish village in the mid-1960s, and since then he has worked on different aspects of Turkish history and culture. He is one of the rare American historians with a superb command of colloquial Turkish and a mastery of different Ottoman scripts used between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries. As a result, Heath has produced highly original works based upon source material ranging from tax records and censuses to poetry and mosque inscriptions. The fields that he has studied include institutional, urban, cultural, economic, architectural, and diplomatic histories. Heath has researched and written about the entire chronological scope of Ottoman and modern Turkish history.
Heath is a renowned scholar and prolific author. His earlier books include: Trabzon Şehrinin İslamlaşma ve Türkleşmesi, 1481–1583 (1981) and its English edition, The Islamization and Turkification of Trabzon (Trebizond), 1461–1583 (2009); The Story Behind Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story (1990); Studies in Defterology: Ottoman Society in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (1992); Fifteenth Century Ottoman Realities: Christian Peasant Life on the Aegean Island of Limnos (2002); Ottoman Bursa in Travel Accounts (2003); The Nature of the Early Ottoman State (2003); Defterology Revisited: Studies on 15th and 16th Century Ottoman Society (2008); and An Ongoing Affair: Turkey and I (2008).
His most recent works, all of which have been published by Bahçeşehir University, include: The Shaping of the Ottoman Balkans, 1350–1550: Conquest, Settlement, and Infrastructural Development of Northern Greece (2008); The Evrenos Dynasty of Yenice Vardar (Giannitsa) (2008); In the Footsteps of the Ottomans: A Search for Sacred Spaces and Architectural Monuments in Northern Greece (2009); Ottoman Architecture in Greece (2009); The Evrenos Dynasty of Yenice-i Vardar: Notes and Documents (2010); The Evrenos Family and the City of Selânik (2010); Historical Vestiges of Niyâzî Mısrî’s Presence on the Island of Limnos (2011); Remembering One’s Roots: Mehmed Ali Paşa of Egypt’s Links to the Macedonian Town of Kavala (2011); Clarence K. Streit’s The Unknown Turks: Mustafa Kemal Paşa, Nationalist Ankara and Daily Life in Anatolia (2011); Hersekzāde Ahmed Paşa: An Ottoman Statesman’s Career and Pious Endowments (2011); In the Footsteps of Evliyâ Çelebi: The Seyahatnâme as Guidebook (2012); and Fourteenth Century Ottoman Realities: In Search of Hâcı-Gâzî Evrenos (2012).
Since May 2010, Heath has been a distinguished visiting professor at Bahçeşehir University, where he serves as the coordinator of the program in early Ottoman history.
In his retirement, Heath is planning to write more books on Ottoman history and architecture, to establish a major research center for early Ottoman studies in Istanbul, and to enjoy the Turkish way of life as he continues his ongoing affair with Turkey.