Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky

Assistant Professor

Office Location

SSMS 2117


Global migration and forced displacement


Ph.D. History. Stanford University, 2018.
M.A. History. Stanford University, 2013.
M.Sc. Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. University of Edinburgh, 2011.
M.A. Hons. Arabic and International Relations. University of St Andrews, 2010.


Dr. Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky is a historian of global migration and forced displacement and Assistant Professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research examines Muslim refugee migration and its role in shaping the modern world. He is the author of Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State (Stanford University Press, 2024). Dr. Hamed-Troyansky is currently working on a transnational history of Muslim displacement in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South Asia since 1850. His articles appeared in Past & Present, Comparative Studies in Society and History, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Slavic Review, and Kritika. He received his Ph.D. in History from Stanford University and served as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.

Dr. Hamed-Troyansky’s first book, Empire of Refugees, explores the origins of refugee resettlement in the modern Middle East. It focuses on the migration of about a million Muslim refugees from Russia to the Ottoman Empire between the 1850s and World War I. North Caucasian refugees settled throughout the Ottoman Empire, in today's 14 nation-states, including Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Bulgaria, and Greece. The book shows that the Ottoman government constructed a refugee regime for Muslims, which functioned parallel to the immigration system.

Dr. Hamed-Troyansky conducted archival research in public and private archives in Turkey, Jordan, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Russia, including the autonomous republics of Dagestan, North Ossetia-Alania, and Kabardino-Balkaria. He works with sources in Arabic, Ottoman and modern Turkish, Russian, and Bulgarian. His research has been supported by, among others, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, and the Fulbright Program. He held residential research fellowships at the Stanford Humanities Center and the American research centers in Jordan, Turkey, and Bulgaria. Dr. Hamed-Troyansky grew up in the Baltics, completed his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Scotland, and briefly studied in Syria and Egypt.

Dr. Hamed-Troyansky welcomes graduate projects in global refugee history and the modern history of the Middle East and the Caucasus.



Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State. Stanford University Press, 2024.

Winner | 2024 Gold Medal, Independent Publisher Book Award in the History (World) category.

Between the 1850s and World War I, about one million North Caucasian Muslims sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire. This resettlement of Muslim refugees from Russia changed the Ottoman state. Circassians, Chechens, Dagestanis, and others established hundreds of refugee villages throughout the Ottoman Balkans, Anatolia, and the Levant. Most villages still exist today, including what is now the city of Amman. Muslim refugee resettlement reinvigorated regional economies, but also intensified competition over land and, at times, precipitated sectarian tensions, setting in motion fundamental shifts in the borderlands of the Russian and Ottoman empires.

Empire of Refugees reframes late Ottoman history through mass displacement and reveals the origins of refugee resettlement in the modern Middle East. Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky offers a historiographical corrective: the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire created a refugee regime, predating refugee systems set up by the League of Nations and the United Nations. Grounded in archival research in over twenty public and private archives across ten countries, this book contests the boundaries typically assumed between forced and voluntary migration, and refugees and immigrants, rewriting the history of Muslim migration in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

See the dataset of over 1,100 North Caucasian refugee villages in Turkey, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq.


Peer-Reviewed Articles

"Letters from the Ottoman Empire: Migration from the Caucasus and Russia's Pan-Islamic Panic," Slavic Review 82, no. 2 (2023): 311–33. [PDF]

Honorable Mention | 2023 Ab Imperio Award for the best study in new imperial history and history of diversity in Northern Eurasia.

“Welcome, Not Welcome: The North Caucasian Diaspora's Attempted Return to Russia since the 1960s,” Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 24, no. 3 (2023): 585–610. [PDF]

“Ottoman and Egyptian Quarantines and European Debates on Plague in the 1830s–1840s,” Past & Present 253 (2021): 235–70 [PDF]

“Becoming Armenian: Religious Conversions in the Late Imperial South Caucasus,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 63, no. 1 (2021): 242–72. [PDF]

Honorable Mention | 2022 Best Article Award in Kurdish Studies, UCF Kurdish Political Studies Program.

“Circassian Refugees and the Making of Amman, 1878–1914,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 49, no. 4 (2017): 605–23. [PDF]

Winner | 2018 Best Article Prize, Syrian Studies Association.

Winner | 2018 Khayrallah Prize in Migration Studies, Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies.


Peer-Reviewed Chapters

”Population Transfer: Negotiating the Resettlement of Chechen Refugees in the Ottoman Empire (1865, 1870),” in Russian-Arab Worlds: A Documentary History, eds. Eileen Kane, Masha Kirasirova, and Margaret Litvin (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023). With translations from Arabic and Russian. [PDF]
Selected External Fellowships and Awards
2025–26          Humboldt Research Fellowship
2024                Fulbright Global Scholar Award
2023–24          Stanford Humanities Center, External Faculty Fellowship
2023–24          American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) Research Fellowship
2023                Columbia University Harriman Institute First Book Subvention Award
2021–22          University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop Grant                     
2021                National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend
2020                Society for Turkic, Ottoman, and Turkish Studies, Outstanding Dissertation Prize
2019                Middle East Studies Association (MESA), Honorable Mention to Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences
2018                World History Association (WHA) Dissertation Prize
2017–18          Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Dissertation Completion Fellowship
2015                American Research Center in Sofia (ARCS) Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
2014–15          Social Science Research Council (SSRC) International Dissertation Research Fellowship
2014                American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) Pierre and Patricia Bikai Fellowship


GLOBL 1 Global History, Culture, and Ideology

GLOBL 112 Global Refugee Migration

GLOBL 183 Global Middle East

GLOBL 292A Global Migration

GLOBL 292IB Displacement in the Middle East and Russia/Soviet Union