Dr Michael Erdman

Michael Erdman British Library
Curator, Turkish and Turkic Collections
Turkic history, Turkic languages, historiography

Michael James Erdman was awarded the title of Doctor of Philosophy by SOAS in 2018. His doctoral research focuses on the interaction of ideology, politics and scholarship in the writing of historical narratives about Central Asia in both the Soviet Union and the Republic of Turkey. He is also interested in art and design in early Soviet Central Asia, the history of Turkic linguistics, and issues of identity and language among the Arabic-speaking Christian communities of Lebanon and Syria.

Michael holds a Masters of Arts in Turkish Studies from SOAS, a Masters of Science in Economics from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining the Library in 2015, he worked as the Consul of Canada to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen and Oman, following temporary diplomatic work in Central and South America, Kuwait and Spain.


  • 'Before Phoenicia: A Reading of National Characteristics in Kitāb al-Manāhij fī’l Naḥwu wa’l Maˤānī ˤand as-Suriyān', in Heteroeuropeanisations (Venice : Ca’ Foscari Edizioni, forthcoming 2019).
  • 'Pre-Revolutionary Kyrgyzstan in the Collections of the British Library', in Making the Kyrgyz (Cambridge: Cambridge Scientific Publishers, 2019). 
  • 'From Language to Patois and Back Again: Syriac Influences on Arabic in Mount Lebanon during the 16th to 19th Centuries', in Syrian Orthodox Patriarchal Journal (Ma’arrat Saydnaya: Saint Aphrem Theological Seminary, 2017), vol. 55: 1-19.

  • 'Historiographic Positionality and the Role of the Social Scientist in Explaining National Historical Tropes', in Early Stage Researchers Journal (Novi Sad, Serbia: Doktoranti Srbije, 2016), vol. 1:1.
  • 'A Tale of Two Nationalists: Parallelisms in the Writings of Ziya Gökalp and Michel Aflaq', in The First World War and Its Aftermath: The Making of the Modern Middle East, ed. T. G. Fraser (London: University of Chicago Press, 2015).
  • 'Saviour of the Nation, Patron of the Bourgeoisie: A Bonapartist Characterisation of the Coup of 12 September 1980', in SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research (2015: 8).

For a full list of publications, see Michael's Academia.edu profile.

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Turkish and Turkic collections

Over 25,000 volumes of printed books, periodicals and newspapers, more than 4,000 manuscript texts, and other materials

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