I am a historian of Islamic art and architecture, who specializes in late-Ottoman visual and material cultures. My first book project, which traces the architectural and landscape history of Yıldız, the last Ottoman palace in Istanbul, is a study of modern sovereignty’s self-fashioning through novel representational modes such as photography, prefabs, and artificial landscapes. This vast site’s centurial transformation (from the 1790s to 1910s) not only reconstituted women in the Ottoman court as formidable patrons, but also allowed non-courtly members, actively involved in its creation, to shape the period’s garden history.
My most recent project is centered on historical conceptions of Anatolia, especially this geography’s articulation in the transition from empire to republic, from an Ottoman Anatolia to a Turkish one. I investigate such representational continuities and ruptures through the formation of historical institutions as well as archaeological excavations, museological displays, ethnographic studies, and state-commissioned artists’ surveys. This project’s foundations rest in the 2018 exhibition I co-curated with Ahmet A. Ersoy (Boğaziçi University) and Bahattin Öztuncay (MEŞHER) at ANAMED (Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations) entitled Ottoman Arcadia: The Hamidian Expedition to the Land of Tribal Roots (1886).
Another project, slated for 2023 both as a display and catalogue, is based on the Greek and Ottoman embroideries in the collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum (Cambridge, UK) that once belonged to George de Menasce (d. 1967), a renowned ceramics collector from Alexandria. Research on this collection will highlight links between twentieth-century classical archaeology and textile collecting as well as broader queries on heritage formation and nationalisms in the Eastern Mediterranean.
I also have a sustained interest in the history of Islamic art collecting (especially in the nineteenth-century Ottoman and Egyptian contexts). In particular, I study the close early ties between collecting practices and history writing, book collecting, and global scholarly networks and museums.
Before joining Rutgers, I was at the University of Cambridge, first as a Fari Sayeed Visiting Fellow in Islamic Art and subsequently a post-doctoral research associate at the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre of Islamic Studies. My doctoral and post-doctoral work has been supported by the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, ANAMED, and the Leverhulme Trust.
“Angel of the Angels”: Abdüllatif Subhi Paşa’s Coins, History, and Egypt,” Muqarnas 38 (Spring, 2021, forthcoming).
Co-authored with Ahmet Ersoy (Boğaziçi University), “The Hamidian Visual Archive, 1878-1909: A User’s Manual,” for the Cemal Kafadar Festschrift (Academic Studies Press, forthcoming).
“ ‘Every Image is a Thought: Nineteenth-Century Gift-Albums and the Hamidian Visual Archive,” in Abdülhamid II’s Gift-Albums to Otto von Bismarck (Istanbul: Koç University Press, 2018), 64-83.
“Ottoman Horticulture after the Tulip Era: Botanizing Consuls, Garden Diplomacy, and the First Foreign Head-Gardener,” in Botany of Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century, ed. Yota Batsaki, Sarah Burke Cahalan, and Anatole Tchikine (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016), 305-336.
“ ‘I don’t want orange trees, I want something that others don’t have’: Ottoman Head-Gardeners after Mahmud II,” International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) 4:2, Special Issue on the Conception and Use of Expertise in the Architecture of the Islamic World since 1800 (July 2015): 257–285.
“Hakky-Bey and His Journal, Le Miroir de l’Art Musulman, or, Mir’āt-ı ṣanāyi‘-ī islāmiye, 1898,” in Muqarnas 31 (November, 2014): 277–306.