Grants Program

Research Grantees 2019-2020

Research Grants (ITS-Koç Holding Fellowship in Turkish Studies)
Jonathan Lohnes
Cornell University

"Geographies of Insurgency: State Formation in Late Ottoman and Fascist Colonial Libya, 1911-1931"

Jonathan M. Lohnes is a doctoral candidate at Cornell University whose research interests include global history, historical geography, colonial empires, and armed struggle against imperialism. His dissertation examines the production of territorialized space in Libya from the Second Constitutional Era to the annihilation of the Sanusi insurgency and consolidation of Italian rule in the early 1930s, asking how a remote assembly of frontier provinces constituting the last Ottoman toehold on the African continent was reconfigured into a fascist colonial state. While many historians treat colonial state-formation as a static dynamic by which Europeans simply inflicted new territorial dispensations on the people they conquered, Jonathan's dissertation underscores that this was in fact a relational process: Territorial Libya emerged from the crucible of a brutal twenty year insurgency in which local rebels embedded in trans-Saharan networks, Ottoman officers, fascist colonizers, and conscripts from Italian East Africa (ascari) all played decisive roles. He therefore locates the origins of the modern Libyan state at the intersection of Italian territorial ambitions, Ottoman defensive maneuvers, and the anti- or counter-territorial imaginary of the Sanusi mujahideen. Generous support from the Institute of Turkish Studies will allow Jonathan to conduct research at the Başbakanlık and Archives of the General Staff (ATASE) throughout the 2019-2020 academic year. He will also be working in original document collections housed in London, Rome, and Florence.
Alison Terndrup
Boston University
History of Art and Architecture Department

"The Portrait Campaign of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II"

The ITS-Koç Holding Fellowship in Turkish Studies will support the continuation of my dissertation research and writing on the portrait campaign of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II during the first part of the nineteenth century. In my research, I study the ways in which a number of portraits were used to buttress the sultan's efforts at centralizing imperial control during this politically-tumultuous era. Textual and visual records of the dissemination, display, and ceremonial activation of individual works (many of which utilized media, including oil-on-canvas and medallion-format works, new to the Islamic context) map the spread of such propaganda within the burgeoning diplomatic networks of the 1820s and 1830s. In tracing these networks, I argue that the propagandistic utility of this group as a whole was closely related to the official political and diplomatic identities of its varied Ottoman and non-Ottoman audience members during a period of rapid change and shifting loyalties on a global scale.
Dissertation Writing Grants
A. Julide Etem
Indiana University

"Mediating US-Turkey Relations: Nonfiction Film and the Networks of Transnational Communication"

The Dissertation Writing Grant from the Institute of Turkish Studies at Georgetown University will support me to complete the last segment of my project. The grant will allow me to conduct audience reception research and analyze surveys and interviews sponsored by American institutions about the media habits of people in Turkey during the Cold War era. This segment of the project is crucial to explore how feedback-loops between the governments and publics mediated foreign relations and helped to transfer information and articulate policies to the public. The larger project develops a framework to study film diplomacy and investigates how transnational communication network provides political, social and commercial uses of nonfiction films in the case of the US-Turkey dynamics between 1930 and 1986. This project makes a significant intervention by explaining a media infrastructure of nonfiction films in Turkey, and examining how the US-Turkey network negotiated a culture of film diplomacy.
Daniel Fields
Princeton University
Department of Near Eastern Studies

"Imperial Disintegration, Local Transformations: Giresun and the End of the Ottoman Order, 1908-1923"

Daniel Fields is a Ph.D Candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. The Dissertation Writing Grant will support him as he completes his dissertation, "Imperial Disintegration, Local Transformations: Giresun and the End of the Ottoman Order, 1908-1923." This dissertation focuses on the changes that were wrought on a Black Sea town by the violent collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the transition to a new republic. It traces the rise of Muslim and Orthodox Christian militias in the region and examines the strategies employed by locals to resist or support them, while also analyzing the attempts of the Ottoman state to maintain its legitimacy in the town and its environs. Based primarily on Ottoman Turkish documents found in archives in Istanbul and Ankara as well as Greek sources from archives in Athens, this dissertation reappraises the causes and effects of late Ottoman violence.
Matthew Sharp
University of Pennsylvania

"On Behalf of the Sultan: The Late Ottoman State and the Cultivation of British and American Converts to Islam"

During 2019-2020 academic year I plan to finish my dissertation entitled, "On Behalf of the Sultan: The Late Ottoman State and the Cultivation of British and American Converts to Islam." I argue that the Ottoman state, from diplomats to Sultan Abdülhamid II himself, as well as late nineteenth and early twentieth century Arabic and Turkish speaking Muslim intellectuals, cultivated relationships and engaged with American and British converts to Islam to advance their diplomatic, geo-political and religious ends. The Dissertation Writing Grant from the Institute of Turkish Studies will help to cover my living expenses as I finish writing two remaining chapters. The ITS's grant provides the financial stability I need to successfully complete my dissertation by May 2020.
Reuben Silverman
University of California San Diego
History Department

"Becoming 'Little Americans': Economic Integration and Social Polarization in 1950s Turkey"

Reuben Silverman is a PhD candidate at UC San Diego. Funding from the Institute of Turkish Studies will enable him to finish his dissertation during the 2019-20 academic year. The dissertation, "Becoming 'Little Americans': Economic Integration and Social Polarization in 1950s Turkey," considers how the Democrat Party government of the 1950s worked to integrate Turkey into an American-centered economic and security order. Party leaders, he argues, believed they could leverage Turkey's strategic position in return for large sums of money from the American government; as much as money, however, party leaders came to borrow the polarized rhetoric of the Cold War, casting their opponents as the enemy. Their economic policies, meanwhile, forced citizens into the black market, alienating them from the officially-sanction national economy. Though, the Democrat party succeeded in its drive to rapidly industrialize the country, its leaders did so with little concern for sustaining the bond of trust and inclusion necessary for democratization.

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Dissertation Writing Grants (Heath Lowry Distinguished Fellowship)
Micah Aaron Hughes
UNC Chapel Hill

"Religion's Revolution: Philosophy of Religion and Mysticism in the Republic of Turkey"

The Heath W. Lowry Fellowship will help me write and finish my dissertation over the course of the next academic year. Tentatively titled "Religion's Revolution: Philosophy of Religion and Mysticism in the Republic of Turkey," my dissertation explores Turkish intellectuals' efforts to redefine "religion" by translating Islamic discourses into the language of secular social science. I argue that debates about higher education in the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic should be analyzed as a site of both religious reform and secularization. Moving beyond the dichotomy of "Islamism" versus "Kemalism," this project aims to show how intellectuals in the Faculties of Literature, Theology, and Philosophy at the Dârülfünûn (and later Istanbul University) tried to carve out a space for reformed religious discourse and practice while also imagining a "religious revolution" that would be commensurate with a secular society in the aftermaths of empire.

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Mark Pinson Grant for Graduate Research on the Ottoman Balkans Fellowship
Fredrick Walter Lorenz
University of California, Los Angeles

"An Empire of Frontiers: Between Migrant and State in the Late Ottoman Empire, 1856-1914"

Fredrick Walter Lorenz is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His dissertation focuses on the interplay among the Ottoman state, migrants, and locals within the Balkans, Anatolia, and Syria from 1856-1914. He draws on archival sources written in Ottoman Turkish, Arabic, and a variety of European and Balkan languages to investigate how late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century migration and settlement in the Ottoman Empire collectively contributed to the transformations of late Ottoman authority, identity, and centralization within the frontiers of the empire. This summer, the Mark Pinson Grant for Graduate Research on the Ottoman Balkans will support Fredrick in conducting extensive archival research in the British Library and The National Archives in the United Kingdom.

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