Michael Erdman is in the second year of the MPhil/PhD in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, Great Britain. He completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Economics at the University of Toronto; a Masters of Science in Economics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain; and a Masters of Arts in Turkish Studies at SOAS. The core focus of his doctoral project is a comparison of narratives of Central Asian pre-history written in Turkey and the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s. Michael is investigating the manner in which the ideologies of Stalinism and Gökalpian nationalism influenced expressions of nationhood, ethnicity and belonging in histories written in the USSR and Turkey respectively. In order to construct such a comparison, he relies on published and unpublished historical works written in Turkish, Russian, Azeri, Kazakh and Uzbek, as well as official documents in Russian and Turkish.
Prior to beginning his MA in Turkish Studies in 2013, Michael worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (Canada). He was employed as a Management Consular Officer (MCO), and completed temporary postings in El Salvador, Panama, Ecuador, Kuwait and Spain, as well as a two-year posting to Saudi Arabia. While at the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh, he was responsible for the provision of consular services to Canadian citizens in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen, and witnessed first-hand the unfolding of the Arab Spring in Bahrain.
Michael’s research interests include ideology, the state, class and nationhood across the broader Middle East. In addition to his doctoral project, he has authored a chapter in The First World War and its Aftermath: The Making of the Modern Middle East on parallelism in the writings of Ziya Gökalp, the ideologue of the Turkish Republic, and Michel ‘Aflaq, founder of Ba’thism. He has also written an analysis of the September 12, 1980 coup in Turkey through the lens of the French philosopher Nikos Poulantzas’ theory of Bonapartism, published in the SOAS Research Students Association Journal in 2015. His most recent conference presentations focused on the influence of Syriac on the formation of the Lebanese dialect in Ottoman-era Mont Liban.