headshot of Will Smiley

Will Smiley

Associate Professor
Office: Classics, Humanities, & Italian Studies, Murkland Hall Rm 320, Durham, NH 03824

Will Smiley is an associate professor in the Humanities Program. He is a historian of the Middle East, Eurasia, the Ottoman Empire and international law. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, his J.D. from the Yale Law School, his master’s degree from the University of Utah and his bachelor’s degree from Hillsdale College. His first book, “From Slaves to Prisoners of War: The Ottoman Empire, Russia, and International Law“ (Oxford University Press, 2018), examines the emergence of rules of warfare surrounding captivity and slavery in the context of the centuries-long rivalry between two empires, the Ottoman and Russian, which defined the future of the Middle East and Eurasia. He is also co-editor, with John Witt, of "To Save the Country: A Lost Treatise on Martial Law." His other publications include articles in Law and History Review, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Journal of the History of International Law, Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association, Journal of Ottoman Studies, Turkish Historical Review and International History Review. He comes to UNH from Reed College, where he was assistant professor of history and humanities, and he previously held fellowships in Near East Studies (Princeton University) and legal history (New York University).

Courses Taught

  • HIST/HUMA 563: Intro Russian Culture&Civilztn
  • HUMA 401: Introduction to Humanities
  • HUMA 401W: Introduction to Humanities
  • HUMA 500: Critical Methods in Humanities
  • HUMA 510C: Ancient Humanities
  • HUMA 512C: Modern Humanities
  • HUMA 513C: Global Humanities
  • HUMA 525: Humanities & Law
  • HUMA 700: Seminar
  • JUST 701/801: Sen Sem/International Law


  • Ph.D., Middle East Studies, University of Cambridge
  • J.D., Yale Law School
  • M.A., History, University of Utah
  • B.S., Mathematics, Hillsdale College
  • B.S., History, Hillsdale College

Selected Publications

  • Smiley, W. (2019). Küçük Kaynarca. In Encyclopaedia of islam, 3rd Ed. (3rd ed.). Brill.

  • Smiley, W. (2019). The Other Muslim Bans: On the Irrelevance of State Legislation against ‘Islamic
    Law. Harvard Series in Islamic Law Occasional Papers.

  • Smiley, W. (2018). From Slaves to Prisoners of War The Ottoman Empire, Russia, and International Law. Oxford University Press.

  • Smiley, W. (2018). Lawless Wars of Empire? The International Law of War in the Philippines, 1898–1903. Law and History Review, 36(3), 511-550. doi:10.1017/s0738248017000682

  • Most Cited Publications