Ottoman and Turkish Studies

  • Founded
  • Seminar Number

From its inception, this seminar adopted an interdisciplinary approach to Turkic studies, and its members represent many fields. At the same time, their interests span more than twelve centuries. In most years, the program covers a selection of topics reflecting current research of members. Special anniversaries such as the Atatürk centennial (1981–1982), the sixtieth anniversary of the Turkish Republic (1983–1984), and the traveling exhibition, The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent (1987–1988), however, have provided themes around which all papers or a series of papers have been centered. Discussion on papers presented—no matter what their topic—has shown that dialogue between, for example, political scientist and art historian, medievalist and modernist, can be both stimulating and productive.

Leyla Amzi-Erdogdular
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, Columbia University

Zeynep Celik
Distinguished Professor, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Visiting Professor, Columbia University

Zeinab Azarbadegan

Meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please confirm details with the seminar rapporteur.



09/29/2016 Faculty House, Columbia University
2:00 PM
When Iceland Turned Ottoman
Alan Mikhail, Yale University

10/20/2016 Faculty House, Columbia University
2:00 PM
Writing Russian History into Ottoman History (and Vice Versa)
Eileen Kane, Connecticut College

Notes: Eileen Kane teaches modern European and Russian history at Connecticut College. Her first book, Russian Hajj: Empire and the Pilgrimage to Mecca (Cornell, 2015) tells the story of how Russia, a Christian power, came to sponsor the hajj, a central Muslim ritual. Her current research looks at Russia's role in the making of the modern Middle East, through a focus on migration.
11/17/2016 Faculty House, Columbia University
2:00 PM
'This, too, is a kind of pleasure:' Writing and repression in the Second Constitutional Period
Christine Philliou, UC Berkeley

Notes: Christine Philliou is Associate Professor of History at UC Berkeley. She works on the final century of Ottoman History and the emergence of post-Ottoman regimes in the Eastern Mediterranean. Her book, Biography of an Empire, dealt with the crisis and transformation in Ottoman governance in the first half of the nineteenth century as seen through the eyes of the Phanariots, an Orthodox Christian elite of Ottoman functionaries. Her current project moves to the early-mid twentieth century and takes up questions about the relationship between politics and literature in the process of Ottoman devolution and Turkish republican state-building.
12/01/2016 Faculty House, Columbia University
2:00 PM
About Antiquities: A Book and its Aftermath
Zeynep Celik, NJIT/Columbia University

Notes: Zeynep Çelik is distinguished professor at New Jersey Institute of Technology/ Rutgers University and adjunct professor at Columbia University. Her publications include The Remaking of Istanbul (1986—winner of the Institute of Turkish Studies Book Award, 1987), Displaying the Orient (1992), Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule (1997), Empire, Architecture, and the City: French-Ottoman Encounters, 1830-1914 (2008—winner of the Society of Architectural Historians Spiro Kostof Book Award, 2010), and About Antiquities: Politics of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire (2016). Professor Çelik has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, including John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2004), American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship (1992, 2004, and 2011) and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2012).
01/26/2017 Faculty House, Columbia University
2:00 PM
Malaria and Settlement in the Late Ottoman Mediterranean: Towards a Political Ecology of the Late Ottoman Empire
Chris Gratien, Harvard Academy

Notes: Chris Gratien is Assistant Professor of History at University of Virginia and currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. His research examines the social and environmental history of the modern Middle East, and he is co-creator and producer of the internet radio program Ottoman History Podcast.
02/23/2017 Faculty House, Columbia University
2:00 PM
Loyalty and Betrayal: Hashimites, Syrians, and Young Turks in Galipoli and Medina
Salim Tamari, Columbia University

Notes: Salim Tamari, Sociologist and Social Historian (BZU), Visiting Professor (2017) Columbia Univeristy
Author of Mountain Against the Sea; Year of the Locust: The Erasure of Palestine’s Ottoman Past;
The Remaking of Palestine: WWI and its Aftermath (UC Press, 2017);
Jerusalem’s Endowments and Landed Property (IPS, 2017); Editor, The Jerusalem Quarterly
03/23/2017 Faculty House, Columbia University
3:00 PM
The Life of a Late Ottoman Special Operation's Officer
Benjamin Fortna, University of Arizona

04/20/2017 Faculty House, Columbia University
10:00 AM
Conference: Visual Sources in Late Ottoman History

Notes: This conference aims to examine and problematize the use of visual sources of late Ottoman history in an interdisciplinary context. As images become more and more accessible, they are integrated in myriad ways into writing history--political, cultural, social, environmental, urban, art, architectural, and even economic. If they constitute primary documents for art and architectural historians, they enhance textual primary documents in other areas by giving them visual representation. However, the dialogue between disciplines provokes serious methodological issues, ranging from excessive interpretation based solely on a single visual document (typically in art history) to the reduction of images as light distraction (as observed in social and political history).
The goal of our conference is to identify and discuss key methodological issues in the use of visual documents in an interdisciplinary manner, drawing from new research. 

9:00-9:15 Opening Remarks, Zeynep Celik (Columbia University/NJIT)

9:15-10:30 Panel 1: The Military
Chair: Rashid Khalidi, Columbia University
Burçin Çakir (Glasgow Caledonian University)-"Holy War made in the Ottoman Empire (?)": Visual War Propaganda and Religion, the War Journal (Harp Mecmuası), 1915-1918
Michael Talbot (University of Greenwich)-"And the military band spread joy through their music": A photographic microhistory of a late-Ottoman Jerusalemite crowd

10:30-10:45 Coffee Break

10:45-12:30 Panel 2: Postcards, Cartoons, and Films
Chair: Salim Tamari, Georgetown University
Mehmet Kentel (Koç University) Drawing 'cosmopolitan' Pera: Artist and networks of power in the late nineteenth century Istanbul
Ibrahim Cansızoğlu (Koç University)- Postcards of Handan Rusti
Özde Çeliktemel-Thomen (University College London) - Filmic evidence in the writing of history

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-15:15 Panel 3: The Body
Chair: Nükhet Varlık, Rutgers University
Burçak Özludil Altin (New Jersey Institute of Technology) - Psychiatry, Space and Time: the case of an Ottoman Asylum
Murat Yıldız (Skidmore College)- Re-constructing "the Mecca for sportsmen": Union Club in Late Ottoman Istanbul
Seçil Yılmaz (Cornell University)- Depicting the Body in the Late Ottoman Empire: A Medical Perspective for Visual Sources

15:15- 15:30 Coffee Break

15:30-16:45 Panel 4: The Past
Chair: Zainab Bahrani, Columbia University
Zeinab Azarbadegan (Columbia University)- Imagined geographies, re-invented histories: Ottoman Iraq in Iranian textual and visual sources
Dotan Halevy (Columbia University)- The Capture of Ottoman Ruins: How Visualization Antiquates the Ottoman Landscape

16:45-17:00 Coffee Break
17:00-18:45 Synthesis Panel
18:45-20:45 Dinner at Faculty House