Karen Barkey is Professor of Sociology and History. She studies state centralization / decentralization, state control and social movements against states in the context of empires. In her recent work she has also explored the issue of toleration and accommodation in pre-modern empires. Her research focuses primarily on the Ottoman Empire, and recently on comparisons between Ottoman, Habsburg and Roman empires. Her first book, Bandits and Bureaucrats: The Ottoman Route to State Centralization, studies the way in which the Ottoman state found new strategies of control and managed to incorporate potentially contentious forces into the Ottoman polity.
Her recent book, Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective is a comparative study of different forms and moments of imperial organization and diversity. She also co-edited (with Mark von Hagen) After Empire: Multiethnic Societies and Nation-Building, the Soviet Union and the Russian, Ottoman, and Habsburg Empires. Bandits and Bureaucrats was awarded The Allan Sharlin Memorial Award for outstanding book of the year in Social Science History in 1995. Empire of Difference was awarded The 2009 Barrington Moore Award from the Comparative Historical Sociology section at American Sociology Association. The 2009 J. David Greenstone Book Prize from the Politics and History section at the Political Science Association.