Current Book Manuscript
My current book manuscript is France’s Greatest Ally: The Ottoman Empire in French Foreign Policy during the Sixteenth Century is the first priority of my research agenda. It explores the Franco-Ottoman alliance during the sixteenth century and its place within France’s broader foreign policy prerogatives. This book argues that Franco-Ottoman military and diplomatic cooperation was a central aspect of French foreign policy to counter Spain’s growing power. Historians have traditionally envisioned French foreign policy constricting significantly from the 1560s to the 1620s due to a series of religious civil wars. France’s Greatest Ally demonstrate that when the Ottoman Empire is included in France’s foreign policy machinations, continuity rather than constriction characterizes France’s foreign policy, and the Ottoman Empire was an integral part of it.
This book provides an in-depth analysis of the Franco-Ottoman alliance. It discusses the logistics and infrastructure France constructed to maintain constant diplomacy with the Ottoman Empire. It explores the social relationships between Frenchmen and Ottomans that fostered continuing the alliance. And it investigates the military and political cooperation that those diplomacy interactions produced. The French court and its diplomats treated the Islamic Ottoman Empire as a prominent member of its geopolitical community.
I am also at work on a digital monograph, Mapping French Diplomacy. This project is a born-digital work that analyzes France’s diplomatic geography from 1494 to 1715. by mapping all the letters from French rulers to foreign correspondents. The project uses interactive technologies such as leaflet.js maps (along with other visualization technologies) in collaboration with a narrative analysis to represent France’s changing diplomatic priorities.
One of the primary arguments of Mapping French Diplomacy is that the region comprising France’s core diplomatic partners was truly multi-continental. The project will also act as a tool for researchers, providing a database of all the letters from French rulers to foreign recipients that is searchable through the interactive mapping environment. Mapping French Diplomacy operates differently than a traditional database such as The French Book Trade in Enlightenment Europe in which you must query the data through a form system. With this project, all the data is presented on the map at the beginning and is visible. The reader uses filtering tools to remove data from the map. In this way, the interface operates much more like a dashboard than a database.
I am currently working on three articles. “Friends, Enemies, and Diplomacy in Constantinople: The French Embassay of Jacques de Germigny (1579-1584)” has been accepted by The Sixteenth Century Journal. It explores the personal and private nature of early modern diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire. The two other articles are in the beginning stages of work. “French Diplomats and the Defense of the Franco-Ottoman Alliance,” explores the role of French diplomats role in constructing a robust justification of France’s alliance with the Ottoman Empire. Beginning in the middle of the sixteenth century, French apologists actively involved in the alliance established defensive tropes that spread widely to the point that well-known authors such as Jean Bodin, Jacque-Auguste de Thou, and Pierre de Bourdeille de Brantôme perpetuated them in works that treated the Ottomans as a structural part of Europe’s geopolitical community. The third article, “Ottoman Diplomats in France during the Sixteenth Century,” analyzes the presence of Ottoman diplomats in France throughout the sixteenth century, arguing that they were regularly present in the country. Their presence contributed to French elites and even average French people increasingly acclimating to the Ottoman Empire as a normal part of the European system.
Second Book Project
My second print monograph will shift my focus from politics and diplomacy to the social world of the French community in the Ottoman Empire during the seventeenth century. This project will analyze the social history of the growing French presence in the Ottoman lands while the political alliance slowly deteriorated to the point of official hostilities in the 1660s. Historians have generally emphasized the confessional segregation of Christian Europeans from Ottoman Muslims. This outcome has been the product of early modern archives—emphasizing official state-related correspondence—that have obscured these relationships from the record. By reading the available letters and ledgers carefully, and at times against the grain, this project will demonstrate that cross-confessional social networks were ubiquitous. It presents the Mediterranean as an entangled socio-political world despite a plethora of religious and political barriers.
“François de Beaucaire de Péguillon and the Ottoman Empire: Perceptions of a Sixteenth-Century Militant Bishop,” The Journal of the Western Society for French History 40 (2012). http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo.0642292.0040.002