About the Editor

Scott Michael Rank, Ph.D.

Scott Michael Rank, Ph.D., is the editor of History on the Net and host of the History Unplugged Podcast. A historian of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, he is a publisher of popular history, a podcaster, and an online course creator. He is the author of twelve books, including History’s Nine Most Insane RulersThe Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages, Lost Civilizations, and Off the Edge of the Map: Travelers and Explorers That Pushed the Boundaries of the Known World. His books have been translated into nine languages.

He earned his Ph.D. in History from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. In 2015/2016 he was a postdoctoral researcher in Istanbul at Sehir University. In 2013/2014 he was a junior fellow at the Research Center of Anatolian Civilizations.

For his academic work, he researches Christian-Muslim intellectual history in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul and reported on human rights issues. He has written history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Crusades to historical figures who overcame personal adversity.

In November 2016, Scott became editor of History on the Net. Scott makes it his mission to explore neglected or forgotten corners of history that changed the world, no matter how strange or controversial.

He has blogged on the U.S. Army’s failed experiment to use camels as pack animals in the 1840s southwest, failed presidential assassination attempts, and first-hand accounts of the Invasion of Normandy.

If you want to learn more about Scott’s work (including his public speaking and historical consulting work), go to his website here. 


The University of Kansas – Lawrence, Kansas Area (Aug 2017 – Present)

Undergraduate Course Instructor: Religion 350: Origins of Islam; Muhammad; the Koran; religious symbols and moral mandates; historical developments

Academic Publications

  • “Polygamy and Religious Polemics in the Late Ottoman Empire: Fatma Âliye and Mahmud Es’ad’s Ta’addüd-i Zevcât’a Zeyl.” Cihannüma: Tarih ve Coğrafya Araştırmaları Dergisi 1/2 (Dec. 2015): 61-79
  • “Ahmet Midhat Efendi,” in Christian-Muslim Relations: A Bibliographical History, 1500-1900 (Leiden: Brill, In Press).
  • Review, “Crusading and the Ottoman Threat: 1453-1505,” in European Review of History 21, No. 1 (2014): 121-122.

Conferences and Lectures

  • “An Anti-Islamic Polemic in 1870s Ottoman Istanbul: S.W. Koelle’s Gıdâü’l-mülâhazât,” paper presented October 15, 2015 at the International Congress of Ottoman Studies, Sakarya University
  • “Imperial Anxieties and Encounters in the Late Ottoman Empire: Culture, Identity, Security,” lecture presented May 2, 2014 at RCAC 2014 Mini-Symposia Series, Istanbul, Turkey
  • “Narrating Piety, Modernity, Heresy: Christian-Muslim Attempts at Constructing an Ottoman Religious Identity in the Hamidian Period (1876-1909),” lecture presented May 6, 2013 at Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey
  • “Rethinking Late Ottoman Religious Sectarianism: Christian-Muslim Polemics and Common Discourses of Religious Truth (1867-1915),” paper presented at MESA 2012
  • “Late-Ottoman Inter-Confessional Dialectics and Transformations: The Case of Christian-Muslim Religious Polemics (1867-1915),” paper presented May 5, 2012 at GRACEH, Vienna, Austria
  • “Ottoman Anti-Christian Religious Polemicists in the 19th Century and their Protestant Interlocutors,” lecture presented August 4, 2011 at Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey

Read more about Scott Michael Rank’s academic contributions.

Fellowships and Awards

  • TÜBITAK Postdoctoral Research Fellow, 2015-2016.
  • Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC) Junior Fellow, 2013-2014
  • Central European University Doctoral Research Support Grant, 2012
  • Yildiz Technical University Ottoman Paleography Program Fellowship, 2011
  • Center for Mediterranean Studies (CEMS) Travel Grant, 2011

History Unplugged Podcast

In May 2017, Scott launched the podcast History Unplugged. It’s one part David McCullough biography, two parts MMA fight. Recent features include Presidential Fight Club—a 44-episode series that explores what would happen if all U.S. presidents brawled each other one-on-one, tournament style.

For history lovers who listen to podcasts, History Unplugged is the most comprehensive show of its kind. It’s is the only show that dedicates episodes to both interviewing experts and answering questions from its audience. Every Tuesday, Scott interviews best-selling authors and historical consultants for film and video games. Topics include gruff World War II generals who flew with airmen on bombing raids, a war horse who gained the rank of sergeant, presidents who gave their best speeches while drunk, and the historical accuracy of Assassin’s Creed.

Every Thursday, Scott answers any question about history that the audience can throw at him (What was it like to be a Turkish sultan with four wives and twelve concubines? If you were sent back in time, how would you kill Hitler?).