Grants Program

Research Grantees 2015-2016

Sabbatical Research Grants
Oya Dursun-Özkanca
Political Science, Elizabethtown College

Dr. Oya Dursun-Özkanca is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Elizabethtown College. Her research interests include Turkish foreign policy, transatlantic security relations, the Balkans, and peacebuilding missions. With the help of a Sabbatical Research Grant from the Institute of Turkish Studies, Dr. Dursun-Özkanca will work on a theoretically- and empirically-grounded book manuscript on Turkish foreign policy in the Western Balkans during her sabbatical leave in 2015-2016. She also plans to publish a journal article on the topic. In the book, she seeks to pursue answers to the following questions: What is the track record of Turkish foreign policy in the Western Balkans? What factors contribute to and hinder the effectiveness of Turkish foreign policy in the region? What implications does Turkish foreign policy in this geography have on relations with transatlantic actors? Does Turkish foreign policy compete with or complement the EU and the US foreign policies? Why?
Zeynep Devrim Gürsel
Department of International Studies, Macalester College

Zeynep Devrim Gürsel is a cultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor in the department of International Studies at Macalester College. She has written an ethnography of the international photojournalism industry during its digitalization at the beginning of the 21st century. Image Brokers: Visualizing World News in the Age of Digital Circulation (University of California Press, 2015) is based on fieldwork conducted in the United States, France and Turkey. She is also the director of Coffee Futures, the first in a series of short ethnographic films that explore contemporary Turkish politics through the prism of the everyday life of women.

Her next project, supported in part by an ITS Sabbatical Grant, investigates the intersections of photography, politics and sovereignty in the late Ottoman Empire. Specifically, this project looks at the vast photographic collection of Abdulhamit II which includes various forms of photography from medical imagery to portraiture to explore 19th c. photography as a tool of diplomacy and governmentality.
Zeynep Kılıç
Sociology, University of Alaska Anchorage

Zeynep studied immigration, belonging and citizenship, particularly among the second generation. After her move to Alaska, as an aspiring cook from the abundant Mediterranean, food systems have peaked her curiosity with a very short growing season, cold climate that limits variety, a strong subsistence culture and food from thousands of miles away. Her research agenda now focuses on food and cultural identity, studying how food represents our belonging. Additionally, living in one of the most diverse places in the U.S. presents her with an opportune field to look at how food and culture interact. She studies food writing, especially restaurant reviews of ethnic food. While on ITS Sabbatical Research Grant, she will be completing her documentary, Tables of İstanbul (Sofra Sofra İstanbul), exploring Istanbul's rich culinary landscape to investigate how ethnic/religious and social class diversity gets represented on our tables and how the expansion of global interest in all things food complicate this relationship.

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Dissertation Writing Grants
Monica Katiboğlu
Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine

I am a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. With the support of the Institute of Turkish Studies, I will begin writing my dissertation, "Haunted Modernities: Linguistic and Cultural Change in Ottoman Turkey." My research investigates linguistic and narratological innovation in Edebiyat-ı Cedide literature, which is a fecund archive for exploring questions concerning modernity, translation and comparison. My theoretical framework draws on interlingual and cultural translation to help me analyze how meanings are invented, not transformed, in Turkish writing practices, and how to apprehend the spectral presence of lost literary legacies that inhabit literary innovation.
Emin Lelić
Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Emin Lelić is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His dissertation "'Ilm-i firâset and the Ottoman Weltanschauung: A Window into the Soul of an Empire," focuses on 'ilm-i firâset or physiognomy in the early modern Ottoman world. It argues that physiognomy was not only studied as a serious science but that it also played an important role in the political, social and cultural life of the empire, especially at the imperial court in Istanbul. By tracing physiognomy's multifaceted role in the Ottoman world it further brings to light the important yet oft-neglected occult dimension of the Ottoman Weltanschauung. The Institute of Turkish Studies' Dissertation Writing Grant will allow him to focus on completing his dissertation.

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Heath W. Lowry Distinguished Dissertation Writing Fellowship
Nir Shafir

The Heath W. Lowry Fellowship allows me to devote all my efforts to completing my dissertation on the creation of an Ottoman holy land in the seventeenth century. In my research, I examine how the exploration of a sacred space between Damascus, Cairo, and Mecca became central to the intellectual and cultural life of the Ottoman Empire. In Arabic and Turkish travelogues, geographies, and antiquarian histories, scholars fostered new practices of knowledge-making to question their own history and faith. Historians often dismiss these works as manifestations of a pietistic turn that signaled the intellectual closure of Ottoman society to the outside world. Yet, I argue that this pietistic turn and the knowledge-making practices it engendered are key to understanding the intellectual history of the early modern Ottoman Empire and the lasting legacy of its religious movements.

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Mark Pinson Grant for Graduate Research on the Ottoman Balkans
Harun Buljina
Department of History, Columbia University

Harun Buljina is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Columbia University. His work broadly considers the social and political legacies of Ottoman rule on state formation in the Western Balkans, with a particular focus on the development of a multiethnic regionalism in the former Sancak of Novi Pazar. Here "Sancak," a generic Ottoman administrative category and object of fin-de-siècle geopolitical competition, transformed into a proper noun and ethno-religiously inclusive autonomy movement in the aftermath of imperial collapse. Tracing the persistence and development of this regional idea into the mid-20th century, Harun's dissertation highlights some of the "alternative imaginaries" available to inhabitants of the post-Ottoman Balkans in an era that saw the global proliferation of the nation state. The Mark Pinson Grant from the Institute of Turkish Studies will support the initial phase of the associated research, focusing on local archival materials in Novi Pazar itself.

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