Michael Bechtel

Michael Bechtel


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I completed my PhD at the University of Chicago’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations under the direction of Professor John E. Woods. I also studied at the University of Chicago’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and finished my BA at Truman State University. My dissertation was an examination of the Mongol Empire’s transition from collective sovereignty to autocracy. The project’s primary concerns are the individuals who occupied the office of qa’an as both regents and elected from 1227 to 1251. The dissertation was a product of my broader interest in medieval Central Eurasian networks of exchange and the political, cultural, and environmental factors that enabled them. I am also interested in the practice of history and the role of historians in both the professional and public spheres. This latter area of research impacts my pedagogical approaches and has led me to an ongoing interest in attempts to locate the tombs of the Mongol qans.