Kristof D’hulster studied Eastern Languages & Cultures (Arabic & Hindi) and Arabic and Islamic Studies (Arabic, Persian & Turkish) at the universities of Ghent and Leuven. Following a master dissertation on 19th-century Belgian-Persian relations (“The sojourn of Nasir ed-Din Shah Qajar in Belgium in 1873: Faits Divers or Milestone in Persian-Belgian relations?”), in 2010 he defended his PhD on Turkic contact linguistics, (“Writing Norms, Code Interferences and Textual Dynamics. A Study of 18th- and 19th-Century Chaghatay Texts”), in which he developed the DCS- (Diglossic Code-Switching)model for processing Post-Classical Chaghatay texts.
From 2010 to 2014, he worked as a postdoc on an ERC-funded project, supervised by Jo Van Steenbergen, "Mamlukisation of the Mamluk Sultanate. Political Traditions and State Formation in 15th-Century Egypt and Syria). From 2014 to 2105, he was a guest professor at Ghent University, teaching both BA and MA courses. Currently, up to 2018, he runs a postdoctoral research project, funded by BOF-UGent, called "Turkic and Circassian between Ethnonym and Socionym. The Linguistic and Ethnic Dimensions to Mamluk Identity as a Discursive Construct".
Next to Turkic (socio-, contact- and historical) linguistics, his main interest lies in processes of cultural exchange and interaction between the Medieval Turkic, Persian and Arab world. Currently engaged in Mamluk studies, he focuses on issues of language, ethnicity and identity, state formation, literary studies, and the Mamluk-Ottoman transition period.
He gave talks at various conferences, such as the Permanent International Altaistic Conference (PIAC), the European Society for Central Asian Studies (ESCAS), the Union Européenne des Arabisants et Islamisants (UEAI), the Colloquium for the History of Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras (CHESFAME), and the international round table Repenser l’histoire de la famille dans l’Islam medieval. His last talks were at the International Medieval Conference (IMC, July 2014) and the international conference Whither the Early Modern State? Fifteenth-Century State Formations across Eurasia. Connections, Divergences, and Comparisons (Ghent, September 2014). He is organizing a panel at next year's conference of the School of Mamluk Studies (Chicago, 2016)
His most recent publications are “Caught Between Aspiration and Anxiety, Praise and Exhortation: An Arabic Literary Offering to the Ottoman Sultan Selim I” (Journal of Arabic Literature, 44 (2013): 181-239); in collaboration with Jo Van Steenbergen, “Family Matters: The “Family-In-Law Impulse” in Mamluk Marriage Policy (Annales Islamologiques, 47 (2013): 61-82); and “Fixed Rules to a Changing Game? Sultan Mehmed II’s Realignment of Ottoman-Mamluk Diplomatic Conventions with the International Power Constellation” (proceedings of the conference Mamluk Cairo: A Crossroad for Embassies, Liège, September 2012, forthcoming).