I enjoy working in the areas of Ottoman philology, epigraphy and codicology and alternating between the exciting realms of philology and history. I cannot think of a more enjoyable occupation than reading and reflecting on Ottoman texts. I also take pleasure in reading and studying early Republican and modern Turkish literature. I see it as one of my primary tasks as a teacher to familiarize my students with the methodology of approaching a text â how to interpret it, how to place texts into a larger context, how to penetrate the authorâs mind, how to reconstruct his world and mindset, and how to find more information and guess appropriately, if necessary, as to the authorâs social and scholarly references.
My current project is entitled Ottoman Turkish: The Social History of a Languageand it seeks to establish a narrative of the history of the Ottoman Turkish language by exploring and reconstructing the changing perceptions of the Turkish language over several centuries, as held by speakers living primarily in the Ottoman domains. A narrative of the changing attitudes and mindset of Turkish speakers, the psychological implications of being a speaker of Turkish, and finally, the attitudes of others towards Turkish speakers will be the major contribution of the project. The subject is mammoth, the sources to be covered vast. It will keep me busy for at least a few more years to come.
Some forthcoming publications:
- “‘On the Comfort and Ease of the Sultan’: The Construction of a Topos.” The Ottoman World. Ed. by Christine Woodhead. Routledge.
- “Turkish Historiography: 1800-1945.” Oxford History of Historical Writing. Volume 4 (with Cemal Kafadar).
- “The Ideal of the Ottoman Sultan in the Nineteenth Century.” Comparing Empires: Encounters and Transfers in the Long Nineteenth Century. Ed. by Jörn Leonhard and Ulrike von Hirschhausen.
- Evliya çelebi's Journey From Bursa to Edirne (27 September-25 October 1659) From the fifth book of Seyahatname.
Courses offered in the 2010-11 academic year:
Introduction to Ottoman Epigraphy
Advanced Ottoman Reading
The Ottoman Empire (Ancient Empires core sequence)