Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia

Michal Biran

Michal Biran

Michal Biran

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Institute of Asian and African Studies
Mt. Scopus, 91905 Israel

Michal Biran (PhD 2000, HU) is a historian of Inner Asia and a Professor at the department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and at the department of Asian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  She holds the Max and Sophie Mydans Foundation Chair in the Humanities, and is currently the director of the Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies ( She has published extensively on Mongol and Pre-Mongol Central Asia (10th-14th centuries); the Mongol Empire; nomadism; and cross-cultural contacts between China and the Islamic world. Her books include Qaidu and the Rise of the Independent Mongol State in Central Asia (Curzon, 1997), The Empire of the Qara Khitai in Eurasian History: Between China and the Islamic World (Cambridge University Press, 2005, 2008) and Chinggis Khan (Oxford: One World Publications, 2007). She has co-edited Mongols, Turks and Others: Eurasian Nomads and the Sedentary World (with Reuven Amitai, Leiden: Brill, 2005) and Eurasian Nomads as Agents of Cultural Change (with Reuven Amitai, forthcoming in Hawaii University Press).

She currently leads the project Mobility, Empire, and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia, funded by a European Research Council grant (2013-2017 Her current book projects include The Cultural History of Ilkhanid Baghdad, that will be part of the ERC grant, and Central Asia under Mongol Rule: Rulers, Subjects and Emigrants of the Chaghadaid Khanate (1220-1405), funded by the Israel Science Foundation.  With Jan Bemmann and Enkhtur Altangerel she is leading a historical-archaeological project in Qaraqorum (funded by the Humboldt foundation), and together with Hodong Kim she is now editing The Cambridge History of the Mongol Empire (2 volumes) for Cambridge University Press.

She has earned several prestigious awards, most notably the Yoram Ben-Porat Presidential Prize for Outstanding Young Researchers (HUJI, 2004-5); the Michael Bruno Award of Yad Hanadiv (Middle Eastern Studies, 2006); the Landau Award for Research and Sciences (History of East Asia and its Cultures, 2007); and the Annaliese Mayer Research Award of the Humboldt Foundation (Asian Studies, 2013).

Full Curriculum Vitae (August 2015)

List of Publications

Webpage at The Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies