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Emily Greble

Nelson O. Tyrone, Jr. Chair in History
Professor and Chair, Department of History - Professor of German, Russian and European Studies

Emily Greble is an historian of the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Her research interests include Islam in Europe, the transition from empire to nation-state, civil conflict, and local responses to socialism. Greble’s first book, Sarajevo, 1941-1945: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Hitler's Europe (Cornell, 2011) examines the persistence of institutions and networks in the city of Sarajevo under Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Her second book, Muslims and the Making of Modern Europe (Oxford, 2021) upends the polemical doxa that Muslims were outsiders or foreigners to Europe, arguing that they are central to understanding the intricate processes of European nation-building and the nature of European equality, secularism, and law in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Tracing the stories of several generations of local, or indigenous, Muslim men, women, and children living in southeastern Europe from the 1880s to the 1940s, Greble uncovers Muslims’ negotiations with state authorities—over the boundaries of Islamic law, the nature of religious freedom, the meaning of minority rights—and demonstrates how Muslims helped to shape emergent political, social, and legal projects in Europe. Throughout this study, Greble shows how Muslim histories are European histories. 

In 2021-2022, Greble is on a Guggenheim fellowship, working on a new project, Europe’s Legal Frontier: Encounters on the Ottoman Borderlands in the Nineteenth Century. In this project, she is piecing together accounts of legal conflicts—stories about peasant women, escaped slaves, harems, religious pilgrims, rebels, activists, Muslims minorities, Roma (gypsies), Jewish prisoners, abandoned wives, young children— in order to investigate how marginalized people living in Europe’s borderland regions engaged with the law and how they used law to test the limits of state authority and to claim agency over their lives. Greble’s work has been supported by numerous grants, including Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, ACLS, the Mellon Foundation, IREX, and NEH. She has held residential fellowships at the Remarque Institute at New York University, the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, part of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies in Washington, D.C. She was the William S. Vaughn Fellow at the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt in 2019-2020.

Greble joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2017 after teaching at the City College of New York. She teaches a wide range of courses in Russian and East European Studies and in European History and Law, History and Society.