Robyn Dora Radway

Associate Professor

Contact information

Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51
+36 1 327-3000 x2507
I am a historian of Habsburg central Europe and its imperial entanglements across internal and external borders (1450–1800). I specialize in the study of administrative institutions, scribal practices, book cultures, military conflicts, and material culture. I have published articles and chapters on costume books, arms and armor, dress and identity, Habsburg-Ottoman diplomacy, Ottoman Hungary, and the circulation of information on city streets and at imperial courts. I am currently a Key Researcher in the FWF funded Cluster of Excellence, Eurasian Transformations. I have also worked in several international and local museums with whom I continue to maintain strong ties. In both teaching and research, I seek to combine perspectives from art history with a primary-source-based historical method rooted in both Continental and Anglo-American traditions.


Research: My first monograph, Portraits of Empires: Habsburg Albums from the German House in Ottoman Constantinople (2023, Indiana University Press) examines what it meant to be a “German” in the early modern period by exploring how a displaced group of men from across Habsburg-ruled territories interacted with one another through their production of a unique set of texts and images. The book brings archival sources together with over 50 manuscripts containing painted images, decorated papers, and friendship albums (alba amicorum) from the Habsburg ambassador’s residence in Constantinople. It engages with debates on the origins of visual archetypes and identification practices in zones of layered sovereignty, as well as questions of deterritorialization and imperial belonging. It also draws on network analysis and the tools of digital humanities to raise further questions on cross-border social relations, human mobility, and the circulation of objects. For the data behind this volume, see here. This project has been generously funded by the Institute for Advanced Study at CEU (2017­–18) and the Gerda Henkel Stifftung (2018–19). For more on this project, see the series of video clips prepared by the Gerda Henkel Foundation here. See also my episode of the Ottoman History Podcast here.

My current research focuses on culture and administration in the Habsburg-Ottoman borderlands. I have forthcoming articles and chapters on multilingualism, cartography, viniculture, what it meant to "become" Ottoman, and layered meaning-making in the reinterpretation of books and buildings after conquest. I also have an ongoing project reconstructing scribal practices (including analyzing scribal hands, seals, and the mechanisms of correspondence) in Ottoman Hungary which will culminate in a new monograph. 

Teaching: I teach courses on Habsburg history in the longue durée (institutional, political, and cultural history); Ottoman borderlands; history of the book; art history and material culture of the long early modern period (1450–1800); and post-imperial memory politics in public history (19th–21st centuries). I am also developing a new digital humanities course on historical data and its anaylsis together with colleagues in the Department of Data and Network Science. I am happy to supervise B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. students in these and related subfields. 

Current PhD Students:

Dmitry Zharov (2022–)

Jonas Czaika (2023–)

Selection of MA Theses Supervised:

"Slave to Dragoman: Conversion, Sexulaity and Self-Fashioning in the Memoir of Timişvarlı Osman Ağa," Rana Münteha Aldemir (2024)

"Quest for Confessionalization via Education: The Jesuit School in Vienna, 1553-1565," Dmitry Zharov (2022)

"The Last Empress: The Transitions, Images, and Functions of Zita of Bourbon-Parma, 1911-1922" Lucy Sarah Valarie Coatman (2022)

"Martin Engelbrecht's Theatre de la Milice entrangere: Engraving 'Otherness' from Affective Subjecthood to the Habsburg Empire of Man," Acer Lewis (2021)

"Horses and Sultan Ahmed I: Learning, Interspecies Communication, and the Early Modern Ottoman Empire," S. Doğan Karakelle (2020)

Recent Courses Taught:  

Powers and Peoples: Habsburg Central Europe, 1500-1918 (4 credits)

Habsburg-Ottoman Borderlands in Public History (4 credits)

Material Culture and Habsburg History (4 credits)

Ottoman Hungary (2 credits)

Art in the Service of the Nation (2 credits)

Global Histories of the Book (2 credits)

Eurasian Histories of the Book (2 credits)

Data Analysis and Visualization for Digital Humanities (2 credits)

The Politics of Representation: Art and Its Histories (undergraduate, 2 credits)

Recent Publications:

“Becoming Ottoman in the Central European Borderlands,” in Becoming Ottoman: Converts, Renegades and Identity in Early Modern and Modern Context, ed. Yavuz Köse, Petr Kucera, and Tobias Völker (I.B. Tauris, 2024).

“Caspar von Abschatz’s Album Amicorum: Collecting (in) the Ottoman World,” in Manuscript Albums and Their Cultural Contexts: Collectors, Objects, and Practices, ed. Janine Droese and Janina Karolewski, Studies in Manuscript Cultures (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2024),

Portraits of Empires: Habsburg Albums from the German House in Ottoman Constantinople (Indiana University Press, 2023).

“Melchior Lorck’s Turkish Publication in Relation to Sixteenth-Cenutry Albums,” in Melchior Lorck: Facts, Fiction, Interpretation, ed. Mikael Bøgh Rasmussen (Copenhagen: Statens Museum for Kunst, 2023), 77–85.

“Three Alba Amicorum from the Habsburg Netherlands: Manlius, Wijts, and Huenich in the Ottoman Empire,” Early Modern Low Countries 6, no. 1 (2022): 103–26. (see here)

“Globalizing Early Modern Central and Eastern European Art,” Art East Central 2 (2022),

“Misunderstanding Ottoman Europe: The Material Culture of the Borderlands in Renaissance Depictions of the Ottoman World,” in Schilde des Spätmittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit, ed. Raphael Beuing and Wolfgang Augustyn, Veröffentlichungen des Zentralinstituts für Kunstgeschichte in München 46 (Munich: Dietmar Klinger Verlag, 2019), 377–86. (see here)

“Brief Notes on the Long War in the Early Modern News Cycle,” Austrian History Yearbook 50 (2019): 17–33. (see here)

“The Captive Self: The Art of Intrigue and the Holy Roman Emperor’s Resident Ambassador at the Ottoman Court in the Sixteenth Century,” Journal of Early Modern History 22 (2018): 1–25. (see here)

“Christians of Ottoman Europe in Sixteenth-Century Costume Books,” in The Dialectics of Orientalism in Early Modern Europe, ed. Marcus Keller and Javier Irigoyen-García (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), 173–93. (see here)

“Vernacular Diplomacy: The Culture of Sixteenth-Century Peace Keeping Strategies in the Ottoman–Habsburg Borderlands,” Archivum Ottomanicum 34 (2017): 193–204. (see here)


Princeton University (Ph.D., History, 2017)
Princeton University (M.A., History, 2014)
Rutgers University (M.A., Art History, 2011)
University of Central Florida (B.A., Art History, 2009)