Fellow in the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History
Ellen Nye is an historian of early modern trade, money, and empire. Her current book project, Empires of Obligation: Law, Money, and Debt between England and the Ottoman Empire, 1670-1720, examines the relationship between interstate private credit and domestic public finance in early modern England and the Ottoman Empire. Guided by archival research in Ottoman Turkish and several European languages across fifteen archives in four countries, Empires of Obligation integrates an assertive Ottoman response to the quickening pace of interstate commerce into the core of debates in global economic history. At the same time, Empires of Obligation exposes how interactions beyond England, including within the often-overlooked Ottoman Empire, England’s largest market for its prized woolen cloth exports, shaped key British financial infrastructure. Instead of isolated, nationally-bound narratives about the development of legal institutions, state formation, and financial innovation, Empires of Obligation allows us to appreciate different, intersecting responses to the problems posed by increasingly global trade.
Nye’s research has been generously supported by the Fulbright Commission, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, and the American Research Institute in Turkey, among others. Nye received her PhD at Yale with distinction in 2022 and received the Hans Gatzke Prize for the best dissertation in European History. Nye has taught undergraduate and graduate students, including as a lead instructor at the Yale Prison Education Initiative. She also writes for a popular audience, including a prize-winning article in The Economist’s 1843 Magazine.