Voices of Emerging Scholars Webinar Series

June 02, 2021

The Voices of Emerging Scholars is developed to provide some visibility to young historians (advanced Ph.D. students and recent post-doctoral scholars) during this difficult time of the pandemic. We envisioned regularly-held webinar meetings, organized around a shared theme. Limiting the chronology to the late 19th century Ottoman and early Turkish Republican eras for practical reasons, we made a call for papers and received an enthusiastic response. We planned over twenty sessions, each promising to open fresh perspectives onto the discipline. The webinars that we held so far displayed rigorous, creative, critical, and bold thinking, addressed difficult questions, made unlikely connections, and revealed hitherto overlooked networks. The meticulous research was complex, relying on multitudes of archives, often in different places and necessitating familiarity with several languages. In brief, a lively scholarly community began to surface. We hope to support this group of brilliant young scholars further by publishing their papers in a special section of the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies, starting in the Spring 2021 issue.

ZEYNEP ÇELİK, Adjunct Professor, History Department, Columbia University and Distinguished Professor Emerita, New Jersey Institute of Technology

This webinar series is organized by Zeynep Çelik, Adjunct Professor, History Department, Columbia University and Distinguished Professor Emerita, New Jersey Institute of Technology; and Merve İspahani, Ph.D., Academic Programs Coordinator, Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul, and sponsored by James Leitner.

politics of archaeology - voes

Our inaugural workshop, "Politics of Archaeology" explores the entangled relationship between antiquities and imperial powers. 

More information on the program is below. 

Watch the video here

Of Consuls and Steamers: Material Foundations of Colonial Archaeology in Late Ottoman Iraq 
Erhan Tamur

Erhan Tamur is a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University and a curatorial research associate at the Morgan Library & Museum. He has worked and published on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century art historical theory, style and ethnicity, and the politics of archaeology. His dissertation, entitled “Site-Worlds: An Account of Material Lives from Tello (ancient Girsu),” brings the art history of a Sumerian site from the third millennium BC into the present and is supported by a two-year fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) of the National Gallery of Art.   

Ottomans and Iranians at Ctesiphon 
Zeinab Azarbadegan

Zeinab Azarbadegan is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at Columbia University. Her dissertation focuses on the myriad ways that Ottoman Iraqi space was contested between the Ottomans, the Qajars, and the British in the late nineteenth century. She is currently working as a research assistant and co-curator for the Qattan Foundation’s Palestine from the Sky Exhibition. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Ottoman and Turkish Studies (JOTSA), Jerusalem Quarterly, and the journal of Philological Encounters. 

The British “Antiquities Threshold” and the Muted Legacy of Ottoman Legislation 
Dotan Halevy

Dotan Halevy is a Ph.D. Candidate in Columbia University Department of History. His research focuses on the culture, society, and environment of the late and post-Ottoman Middle East. Dotan's doctoral dissertation entitled "Stripped: Ruination, Liminality, and the Making of the Gaza Strip 1840-1950" (expected July 2021) is a study of the long "stripping" of the Gaza borderland from its historic economic and political centrality.  

Diane Favro
, Distinguished Professor Emerita, UCLA

water sewage and horses infrastructure of istanbul

Our second workshop, "Water, Sewage, and Horses: The Infrastructure of Istanbul" examines the modernization of 19th century Istanbul from new perspectives. 

More information on the program is below. 

Watch the video here

The Art of Infrastructure: Hamidiye Fountains in Ottoman Istanbul
Sharon Mizbani 

Sharon Mizbani is a Ph.D. student at Yale University in the History of Art Department specializing in the comparative architectural history of the late-Ottoman Empire and Qajar Iran, with a particular focus on the development of urban water infrastructure and related monuments during the nineteenth century. She received her B.A. from the Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations department at the University of Toronto in 2015, and her M.A. from the same institution in 2016. She has also studied at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.  

Horses of the Constantinople Tramway Company in 1871 - 1914 
Emir Küçük

Mustafa Emir Küçük graduated from History Department at Boğaziçi University in 2016. He obtained an MA degree from the Ataturk Institute for Modern Turkish History, Boğaziçi University in 2019. Küçük is currently a Ph.D. student in the same institute.  In addition to his doctoral studies, he contributed to the cataloguing of teachers' biographies from the late-Ottoman period at Salt Archive in 2017. Küçük is also a researcher at Şehir Dedektifi, in the project of Balat: Living Together, which will result in a chapter in a book. Emir Küçük is interested in urban history, environmental history, and the history of children.

Pera, Kasımpaşa, Sewers, and Maps: Representing Infrastructural Entanglements in the Nineteenth-Century Istanbul 
Mehmet Kentel

K. Mehmet Kentel works on the urban and environmental history of late Ottoman Istanbul. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2018 with his dissertation Assembling ‘Cosmopolitan’ Pera: An Infrastructural History of Late Ottoman Istanbul,” which he is currently revising for publication as a monograph. He is the Research Projects Manager at the Istanbul Research Institute and the Managing Editor of YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies. His curatorial work includes Memories of Humankind: Stories from the Ottoman Manuscripts at the Istanbul Research Institute (curator, 2019) and The Characters of Yusuf Franko: An Ottoman Bureaucrat’s Caricature at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (co-curator, 2017). 

Michael Christopher Low, 
Assistant Professor of History at Iowa State University 
Michael Christopher Low received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Low is an Assistant Professor of History at Iowa State University and is currently a Senior Humanities Research Fellow for the Study of the Arab World at NYU Abu Dhabi (2020-2021). He is the author of Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj (Columbia University Press, 2020) and co-editor of The Subjects of Ottoman International Law (Indiana University Press, 2020).

gender - labor categories and everyday life

Our third workshop, "Labor: Categories, Gender, and Everyday Life" re-considers approaches to labor history in a large Ottoman geography.

More information on the program is below. 

Watch the video here

‘The Worker’ as a Contested Category in Early 20th Century Beirut
Ellis Garey 

Ellis Garey is a Ph.D. Candidate in History and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University. Her dissertation focuses on the emergence of the “worker” as a key participant in new forms of social contestation and mass politics in Greater Syria during the late Ottoman and early post-Ottoman periods (1880-1936). She is currently a Ph.D. Fellow at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED).

Gendered Expressions of Labor: The Case of Sümerbank Textile Factory, Istanbul
Zehra Betül Atasoy

Zehra Betül Atasoy is currently working as a Visiting Scholar at Kadir Has University, Faculty of Art and Design. She holds a Ph.D. in the Urban Environment-History specialization from a dual degree program of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Istanbul Technical University where she also got her master’s degree in History of Architecture. Besides, she worked as an editor at Arkitera Architecture Center and other architectural platforms. Her research focuses on the quotidian urban practices of women from various social strata in early Republican Istanbul and aims to recover their overlooked stories through different reformation efforts in fragmented urban spaces.

Women Versus Wheelbarrows: Archaeological Labor and British Imperialism in Late Ottoman Palestine 
Sarah Irving

Sarah Irving received her Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh (2018) for a project on subaltern intellectual histories in Mandate Palestine. She is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Edge Hill University (NW England), researching the history of the 1927 Jericho Earthquake and the insights it offers into the social and intellectual history of the Levantine Mandates. She also works on social histories of Euro-American archaeology in Palestine and the wider Levant, focusing on the role and experiences of local workers on excavations. She has published in a range of journals and edited volumes. She is the editor of Contemporary Levant, a journal of Council for British Research in the Levant.

Ayşe Buğra

Ayşe Buğra is Professor Emerita at Boğaziçi University and an affiliate of the Boğaziçi University research center Social Policy Forum, which she co-founded in 2004. She has published in the areas of social policy, state–business relations and socio-economic history of modern Turkey in academic journals including International Journal of Middle East Studies, Economics and Philosophy, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Social Politics, Development and Change. Her books in English include New Capitalism in Turkey: The Relationship between Politics, Religion and Business (2014) and edited books Trajectories of Female Employment in the Mediterranean (2012) and Reading Karl Polanyi for the 21st Century (2007). She is a member of the Science Academy Society of Turkey.

ideologies and transregional network

Our fourth workshop, "Ideologies and Transregional Networks, c1920," turns to Islamic modernism, communism, and the interlinked project of nation-building in the Middle East. 

More information on the program is below. 

Watch the video here

"Response to the Anglican Church": Late Ottoman Islamicists at the Inception of the Turkish Republic 
Andrew Hammond 

Andrew Hammond obtained his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2020 for his thesis “Interactions between Turkish and Egyptian Islamic Thinkers from 1908 to 1952: Modernity and the Disruption of Islamic Knowledge.” The manuscript is currently at the peer review stage for publication. Dr. Hammond studied Arabic and early Islamic History with Gerald Hawting at SOAS and Modern Middle East Studies and Turkish at Oxford, and previously worked as a journalist for Reuters in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Over the past year, he has taught Late Ottoman and Modern Turkish History and Turkish Political and Cultural Texts at Oxford.

Beyond Borders: An Entangled History of Communism in the post-Ottoman Middle East 
Burak Sayım 

Burak Sayım is a Ph.D. Candidate at the International History Department of the Graduate Insitute, Geneva. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Istanbul and his Master’s degree at the University of Sorbonne-Nouvelle in Paris. He is currently working on his doctoral dissertation, provisionally titled “Transnational Communist Networks in the Post-WWI Middle East: Anti-Colonialism, Internationalism and Itinerant Militancy (1919-1928),” under the supervision of Prof.Cyrus Schayegh.

The Treaty of Lausanne and the Construction of the Arab East 
Orçun Can Okan

Orçun Okan received his Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in May 2020, with a dissertation titled "Coping with Transitions: The Connected Construction of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq, 1918-1928.” He is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the field of Global History and Governance at the University of Naples in Italy. His work has been supported by the Istanbul Research Institute as well. Dr. Okan’s research combines methods of diplomatic history with social history in order to analyze questions of nationality and citizenship, imperial collapse, and state succession in the aftermath of World War I.  

Eugene Rogan
is a Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St Antony’s College, where he serves as Director of the Middle East Centre.  He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2017. He took his BA in economics from Columbia and his MA and Ph.D. from Harvard in History and Middle Eastern Studies.  His work focuses on the history of the Arab world from the late Ottoman era to modern times. He is the author of Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan, 1851-1920 (1999); The Arabs: A History (2009, 2017) and most recently, The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920 (2015).  His books have been translated in 18 languages.

unlikely dialogues in art

Our fifth workshop, "Unlikely Dialogues in Art," turns to artistic production in comparative context.  

Watch the video here

More information on the program is below. 

Dynamics of an Artistic Duo: Reciprocal Influences Between Elisa and Fausto Zonaro  
Alev Berberoğlu is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Archaeology and History of Art at Koç University. Her dissertation, titled “Unwritten Histories of Photography: Elisa Zonaro, an Italian Photographer in Ottoman Istanbul,” explores the work of a  photographer active in the Ottoman capital at the end of the nineteenth century. Berberoğlu’s doctoral research concentrates on photography in the Ottoman Empire, and women’s experiences, ways of visual expression, and multicultural social life in nineteenth-century Istanbul.  

Citation as Nation Building in the Paintings of Cemal Tollu
Emily Neumeier is an Assistant Professor of Art History at Temple University. Her research concerns the art and architecture of the Islamic world, particularly from the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. Before coming to Temple, Neumeier taught at Ohio State University and was a Research Collaborator in the Max Planck Research Group “Objects in the Contact Zone: The Cross-Cultural Lives of Things” at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence.

Redistributing Artistic Values in the New Turkey: The 1934–35 Exhibition of Soviet Art
Özge Karagöz is a Ph.D. Candidate in Art History at Northwestern University. Her research concentrates on transregional histories of modern art with an emphasis on artistic mobility along the Turkish-French-Soviet axis in the first half of the twentieth century. Her forthcoming dissertation is titled  “Refiguring Modernism at the Limits of Europe: Turkish-Soviet Exchanges, 1923-1950.” In 2020–21, she was a fellow in Northwestern University's Paris Program in Critical Theory.

Peter Hristoff is a visual artist working in painting, printmaking, drawing, and rug making. Recent exhibition venues have included the MoMA (NY), C.A.M. Gallery Istanbul, Duke House NYU, and The Hammond Museum in North Salem, NY. In 2005 Peter had a solo exhibition of his rugs at The Museum of Aya Sofya and he was selected as the first visual artist-in-residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2015/16. He has been exhibiting in Turkey since 1997 and will present Legacy: The Hristoff Family Archives at Yapi Kredi Cultural Center in 2022. Peter is part of the BFA Faculty of his alma-mater The School of Visual Arts. Peter's paintings and works on paper are in numerous public and private collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Moscow Museum of Modern Art, MoMA in NY, American Express, and Yapi Kredi Bank. Peter currently has a studio in Bethel, CT, and in NYC. 

voices of emerging scholars

Our sixth workshop, "Ottomans and their "Others": Uses of Soft Power," looks at how different control and manipulation mechanisms functioned in the early and late modern Ottoman Empire.

Watch the video here

More information on the program is below. 

Columbia Global Centers Istanbul invites you to a series of webinar workshops to highlight the research of emerging scholars in the late Ottoman and early Turkish Republican history. Organized by Professor Zeynep Çelik, our sixth workshop, "Ottomans and their "Others": Uses of Soft Power," looks at how different control and manipulation mechanisms functioned in the early and late modern Ottoman Empire. 

A Raison d’État of the Ottoman Universal Caliphate: Protecting Shi’ite Safavids 
Muhammet Saçmalı is a Ph.D. candidate in History at the University of California in Davis. He will defend his dissertation, “Early Modern Ottoman Universal Caliphate and Sunni-Shi'ite Political Relations in the First Half of the 18th Century," in the coming months. Muhammet graduated from Boğaziçi University with a double major in Sociology and Political Science and International Relations in 2010. He holds an MA in Political Science and International Relations from the same university with a thesis titled “Compliance and Negotiation: The Role of the Turkish Diyanet in the Production of Friday Khutbas.” Between 2010 and 2014, he worked as a personal assistant for the late Şerif Mardin in his book project on the Enlightenment Era. 
Development of the Beylerbeyi Neighborhood, Settlement Policies
Nazlı Songülen studied urban planning at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, specializing in urban design. She then shifted to history and completed her doctoral dissertation in the History and Civilization Department of the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, in October 2020. Her dissertation, titled “Distant Land of the Byzantine Holy Golden Cross in Early Modern Ottoman Istanbul: From the Istavros Waqf-Village and Royal Garden to the Beylerbeyi Neighbourhood on the Shores of the Bosphorus,” investigates the transformation of the Istavros-Beylerbeyi shores in early modern Ottoman Istanbul by focusing on the changing land distribution policies and endowment practices on royal gardens. She currently works as a cataloguer in Hill Museum & Manuscript Library in Minnesota, USA.

Philanthropy and Self-Identification in Late Ottoman Egypt
Doğa Öztürk received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University’s Department of History in August 2020. His dissertation, “‘Remembering’ Egypt’s Ottoman Past: Ottoman Consciousness in Egypt, 1841-1914,” analyzes the prevalence of Ottoman consciousness in Egypt at a time when Egypt was gaining more political and economic autonomy from the Ottoman Empire, and when a more distinct sense of Egyptian national identity was developing. His research focuses broadly on the relationship between memory and nation, as well as the interplay between imperial cultures and national identities. Currently, he is working on an article on Kadriye Hüseyin, a largely forgotten female intellectual and a member of the Egyptian ruling family, who played an active role in the wider Ottoman cultural world in the early 20th century.

Merve Ispahani is Academic Programs Coordinator at Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul.  Merve received her doctoral degree from Columbia University, Department of History. Her dissertation “Building Sovereignty in the Late Ottoman World: Imperial Subjects, Consular Networks and Documentation of Individual Identities” examines the formation of Ottoman sovereignty in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries at the disciplinary intersection of international law and history. Merve holds Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Boğaziçi University.   

Organized by:
Zeynep Çelik, Adjunct Professor, History Department, Columbia University and Distinguished Professor Emerita, New Jersey Institute of Technology 
Merve İspahani, Ph.D., Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul

politics of literature

Our seventh workshop "Politics of Literature" will discuss the engagement of literary figures in the turbulent politics of the turn-of-the-century. 

Watch the program here.  

More information on the program is below. 

Columbia Global Centers Istanbul invites you to a series of webinar workshops to highlight the research of emerging scholars in the late Ottoman and early Turkish Republican history. Organized by Professor Zeynep Çelik, our seventh workshop "Politics of Literature" will discuss the engagement of literary figures in the turbulent politics of the turn-of-the-century. 

Passing as Persian: Alterity and Desire in Ahmet Mithat Efendi’s Dürdane Hanım
Erik Blackthorne-O’Barr is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University, currently focusing on Ottoman depictions of Iran and sanitary discourse during the nineteenth century. He received an M.A. degree in Turkish Studies from Sabancı University and a B.A. from the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto.

The Shaping of a Reading Public: Lofty Ideals Meet Print Economy in the Late 19th Century Ottoman Press
Ingeborg Foosestøl
 is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History Department at the University of Oslo. She specializes in late Ottoman intellectual history, with a focus on reading public(s), multilingualism, and the connections between literature, theater, and the press. Fossestøl has studied at the University of Oslo, Boğaziçi University, and Université de Montréal. She translated novels by Orhan Pamuk, Burhan Sönmez, and Aslı Erdoğan into Norvegian. 

Halide Edib, Collective Loss and the Lost Witness
Hazal Halavut is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Toronto’s Women & Gender Studies Institute. Her research focuses on the collective trauma, memory, the aesthetics of mourning, and the literary representations of the Armenian Genocide. She lectured and published on state violence and collective memory in Turkey, specifically on the 1980 military coup, sexual violence under custody, and women’s resistance practices. She is a writer and co-editor for the online feminist journal 5Harfliler

Özen Nergis Dolcerocca is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Koç University. She received her doctoral degree in Comparative Literature from NYU in 2016. Her work focuses on comparative modernisms, narrative theory, literature of the Near East, critical theory, and digital humanities. She is the author of Self and Desire in Modern Turkish Novel and the guest editor of the special issue in the Journal of Middle Eastern Literatures entitled “Beyond World Literature: Reading Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar Today.”  She received the 2020 European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for her project “Modernizing Empires: Enlightenment, Nationalist Vanguards and Non-Western Literary Modernities.” 

Organized by:
Zeynep Çelik, Sakip Sabanci Visiting Professor of Turkish Studies and Distinguished Professor Emerita, New Jersey Institute of Technology 
Merve İspahani, Ph.D., Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul