Past Event

Orientalism, Moral Imagination, and Ottoman Jews

January 26, 2022
8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Scenes of Coexistence: Racial Capitalism and Historical Amnesia in Ottoman Rhodes
Nancy Ko is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of History at Columbia University and a recipient of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. She is a historian of Jewish life, loss, and memory in the Middle East. Her dissertation reevaluates the legacies of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, a French-Jewish educational organization founded in 1860 to "regenerate" the Jews of the "Orient." She can be heard in conversation with recent authors in History, Critical Theory, and Jewish and Middle East Studies over at the New Books Network.

Mapping the Racial Terrain of Ottoman Sephardic Travelogues 
Rachel E. Smith is a doctoral candidate in History at UCLA. She focuses on the history and politics of knowledge production and representation among Sephardic communities in the late Ottoman Empire. Against the backdrop of expanding empires, the rise of anthropology, and shifting notions of race, her research examines how Sephardic writers and thinkers developed, circulated, and mobilized ethnographic and racialized knowledge to serve various reformist ideologies. She received a BA/MA in Linguistic Anthropology from New York University and completed a dual-degree MA in Jewish History and Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary. 

Julia Phillips Cohen is an Associate Professor of History and Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (Oxford University Press, 2014), together with Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1050 (Stanford University Press, 2014). Her articles have appeared in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, Jewish Social Studies, Jewish Quarterly Review, AJS Perspectives, and American Historical Review. She is currently working on a new project on Jewish women’s lives in the late Ottoman Empire.  

Organized by:
Zeynep Çelik, Sakıp Sabancı Visiting Professor of Turkish Studies, Columbia University and Distinguished Professor Emerita, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Merve İspahani, Ph.D., Academic Programs Coordinator, Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul