History and Memory Research Fund: Call for Applications

The Fund for the Support of Historical Research, created with the kind assistance of Dr. Alper Öktem in 2010, aimed at promoting and supporting research on 1915, with a particular focus on scrupulous acts of conscience which would today be considered as human rights defense. In 2013, the scope of the fund, renamed as ‘History and Memory Research Fund,’ was enhanced to include research on memory and the relationship between memory and history. In addition to its initial scope, the History and Memory Research Fund the fund also supports research on the ongoing legacies of the human consequences of 1915, its trans-generational traces and the different modes of remembering.

In 2017, in addition to Alper Öktem’s core support, the Fund has also received additional support from Harry Parsekian.


The objective of the Fund is to reveal hidden acts of conscience and humanity in Turkey’s difficult past; to enable research on the trans-generational effects of 1915 (particularly with reference to notions such as responsibility, conscience and justice); to encourage researchers working on the history and memory of 1915, and to make the relevant research in this field accessible to the greater public.


  • Including but not limited to the questions listed below, history and memory research on how different people and groups have responded to the events during the dark times in history in terms of responsibility, conscience and justice are eligible for the Fund.
  • How did different people or groups respond to 1915 with reference to notions such as responsibility, conscience and justice?
  • Who refused to participate in the orders and acts of violence, elimination and plunder aimed against Armenians and Armenian entities? What were/are the consequences of such refusal?
  • How did the human, social, economic and political dimensions of 1915 affect subsequent generations? How do these transgenerational traces reverberate today?
  • How does the current generation relate to the perpetrators, witnesses and dissidents of 1915?
  • How have the spheres of class, geographical location, ethnic/religious/sectarian belonging and gender shaped the memory of 1915?
  • How are the events of 1915 reflected in literature, visual arts, cinema and theatre? How do the representations of 1915 in literary, visual, cinema and theatre works converge with / divert from the dominant historiography and memory of 1915?
  • How is the relationship between historical events and the contemporary world expressed in different localities?
  • What kind of research has already been conducted on responsibility, conscience and justice in relation to the eradication of Armenians in Anatolia and to the events of 1915? What is the impact of such research on a macro/micro scale?

The Jury selected by the Hrant Dink Foundation works in line with the above stated aims and scope, also contributing to cooperation between the Foundation and universities and research centres in Turkey and internationally.


Hrant Dink Foundation

Adress: Anarad Hığutyun Binası

Papa Roncalli Sk. No: 128 Harbiye

34373 Şişli İstanbul

Phone: +90 212 240 3361


For further information and questions about the fund, please contact us at the above address and phone numbers.

Application Terms

  1.  All researchers (whether affiliated with a University or not) are eligible for the Fund.
  2. Applicants can apply with a single project. In cases of co-edited projects, more than one applicant may apply.
  3. Application languages are limited to English and Turkish.
  4. Only new or ongoing research projects are eligible. Projects that have already been completed and published will not be funded.
  5. The application should be no less than 7 pages.
  6. The deadline for submission is 22 October 2021.
  7. The results will be announced on 10 December 2021.
  8. Those who applied for the former grant may re-apply.

Phases and the Required Documents for Application

If any of the below listed documents is missing in the application and/or the information provided therein is incorrect, the application will be rejected.

The application should provide the following documents:

Detailed Curriculum Vitae: Should list continuing and/or completed education, work experience; and published works, if applicable. In case of co-edited projects, all applicants should provide a separate CV. Three references from people working on the related field should be provided. Names and contact information of the referees will suffice at this stage.

Ethical declaration: A signed document declaring that the research process and its end products will be in line with the ethical principles of academic writing and production (protection of the participants, originality of the research, and so on)

Academic References: Two academic referees who are familiar with the researcher’s proposed or other work

Synopsis of the Research Project: Should provide information on the topic and methodology of the research as well as its contribution to the existing literature.

  1. Standard A4 page must be used, with a 3 cm margin at the top and left of the page, and a 2 cm margin below and on the right of the page respectively.
  2. Name and surname have to be written on every page; each page has to be numbered.
  3. Applications have to be prepared in .pdf or .doc formats to be sent as an e-mail message; if applicable, copies of the visual/audio material and documents are to be included in the e-mail. In addition, a copy of the Synopsis should be sent to the postal address above.

Please note again that  the research abstracts must be submitted until the 22 October 2021 here.

Evaluation Criteria

Each year in May, the Board Members of the Foundation form the jury. One person is appointed for coordination. The Jury evaluates the applications according to the following criteria:

  1. The work should adhere to the accepted norms of the scientific community; concerning research methods, presentation and references.
  2. The work should be original and related to the proposed themes of the fund.
  3. The work should not only repeat known facts nor be a collected work of previously published work.
  4. The work should be the product of new and labour-intensive research.
  5. The work should display strength of observation, depth of research and quality of interpretation.

Support Fund

Project coordinators of the support fund will share the annual additional fund amount with the jury. Whether there will be support for any of the submitted works in a given year depends completely on the evaluation of the jury. Even if the jury decides not to support any work in a given year, Dr. Alper Öktem will still donate the foreseen amount and it will be kept by the Foundation for later use in the Fund.

If the evaluation in a given category shows more than one work as being worthy of support by the Fund, the Fund will be distributed evenly among these works. The coordinator presents the outcome of the Jury’s evaluation to the Board of the Foundation in November. The final decision will be made by the Board of the Foundation in view of the jury evaluation.

Rights and Obligations

  • All responsibilities and copyrights pertaining to the research and its consequences belong to the researcher.
  • The researcher is responsible for providing a detailed report on the research at the end of the research period. Hrant Dink Foundation retains the right to publish this report or an abstract thereof on its website.
  • Hrant Dink Foundation may ask for an academic article from the researchers who have been qualified for funding, if their research is decided to be compiled and published the by the Foundation.  The researcher is responsible for informing the Hrant Dink Foundation if the article has been published before or has copyright issues.
  • The researcher is responsible for clearly stating that the Project has been supported by the Hrant Dink Foundation History and Memory Research Fund in all of the published material springing from the supported research.

Declaration of the Results

The supported projects of 2021 will be announced on the Hrant Dink Foundation website on 10 December 2021.

Hrant Dink Foundation History and Memory Research Fund 2021 Jury

Hülya Adak (Sabancı University)

Ayşe Gül Altınay (Sabancı University)

Ayfer Bartu Candan (Boğaziçi University)

Valentina Calzolari (Université de Genève)

Deniz Kandiyoti (University of London)

Raymond Kévorkian (Université Paris-VIII)

Kerem Öktem (University of Graz)

Arus Yumul (İstanbul Bilgi University)

The supporters of the History and Memory Research Fund

Dr. Alper Öktem

Born on 11 March 1954 in the Turkish town of Dikili, he finished his primary education in Burdur. He started to pursue his secondary education at the Maarif Koleji in Eskişehir, continued in Konya and finished it in Istanbul at the Kadıköy Maarif Koleji. In 1978, he graduated from Faculty of Medicine at Hacettepe University in Ankara. He went to Germany for specialization in radiology. In the 1980s he helped Turkish refugees who underwent torture. He has been supporting the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey for more than twenty years. Moreover, he is a board member of the Democratic Turkey Forum in Germany. Dr. Öktem has been assisting Cem Özdemir, Co-Chairman of the Unity 90/Green Party, especially on the topics of human rights, peace and democracy in Turkey, ever since Özdemir was first voted into parliament in 1993. In 2000-2001 he published the weekly supplement Perşembe for the German daily newspaper “Die Tageszeitung.” Perşembe aimed at bringing together German society and migrants on equal ground in the same media platform, making migrants equal members of society, especially through deepening the dialogue in the media, and reporting human rights violations in Turkey. Dr. Alper Öktem is married, has two children and lives in Bielefeld, Germany, where he works as a radiologist.

Harry Parsekian

Harry Parsekian was born in 1935 and has been a lifelong resident of Watertown, Massachusetts. He circumvented the world in 1984 and within years he traveled through lots of countries. In 1986 he climbed to the summit Mt. Ararat. In 1991 He volunteered for humanitarian aid flights to blockaded Armenia and in 2006 he bicycled from Armenia to Artshakh (Karabakh). He traveled troughout Armenia and Turkey and for the last few years has been involved in Turkish Armenian relations. He is a retired buisnessman and the president of Friends of Hrant Dink, Boston, MA.


Je t’aime… moi non plus. Deux siècles de relations entre la Turquie et l’Europe

Colloque Edhem Eldem 2021

Bibelot en porcelaine représentant le sultan Abdülmecid, la reine Victoria et l’empereur Napoléon III, alliés lors de la guerre de Crimée, 1854-1856. Collection de M. İsa Akbaş, Istanbul.

Alors que la chaire internationale d’histoire turque et ottomane du Collège de France entame sa cinquième et dernière année, il a paru opportun d’organiser un colloque portant sur le thème central du cours, « L’Empire ottoman et la Turquie face à l’Occident », en combinant une vision historique sur la longue durée avec une analyse critique d’une actualité de plus en plus sombre. Le titre du colloque, emprunté à la célèbre chanson de Serge Gainsbourg (1967/1969), rappelle que les relations entre la Turquie et l’Europe ont de tout temps été marquées par une dimension affective faite de tensions et de contradictions. Pour en discuter, cinq intellectuels de nationalité turque et représentant chacun une discipline différente offriront leur point de vue et leur expertise sur des aspects particuliers de la question. La journée se terminera par un débat général auquel le public sera invité à participer.

Toutes les communications se feront en français, à l’exception de celle d’Orhan Pamuk, qui aura lieu en anglais. Des casques seront mis à la disposition des auditeurs qui voudront en écouter la traduction simultanée.


9h00    Edhem Eldem, historien, Collège de France, université de Boğaziçi, Istanbul
              « Je t’aime… moi non plus. Deux siècles de relations entre la Turquie et l’Europe »

10h00  Nilüfer Göle, sociologue, École des hautes études en sciences sociales
              « La (re)conversion de Sainte-Sophie et le désamour avec l’Europe »

11h00-11h30  Pause-café

11h30  Seyfettin Gürsel, économiste, université de Bahçeşehir, Istanbul
              « Turquie-Union européenne : un tandem difficile mais inséparable »

12h30-14h00  Déjeuner

14h00  Ahmet İnsel, politologue, université Galatasaray, Istanbul
              « L’erdoganisme : une dynamique islamo-nationaliste anti-occidentale »

15h00  Orhan Pamuk, romancier, université de Columbia, New York
              « Antinomies of Ottoman-Turkish Westernization » (Les antinomies de l’occidentalisation ottomane et turque)

16h00-16h30  Pause-café

16h30  Débat général



Unspoken memories, unwritten histories:


Less than a hundred years ago, most Eastern Mediterranean cities were marked by a high degree of cultural pluralism. Whereas the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of modern nation-states heralded its end, some cities retained their cosmopolitan nature well until the Second World War. Oral histories and communicative memories of ethnoreligious groups that constituted vital parts of these cities are still living, often wound up with unhealed and suppressed historical. At the same time, simplified and nostalgic visions of a pluralist past are sometimes held up as role models for present-day Eastern Mediterranean societies without questioning, or without regard for the challenges that they entail. Local academics and civil society organizations alike play vital roles in researching, highlighting and supporting pluralism and pluralist heritage, sometimes in defiance of nationalist historiographies and policies.

The series Unspoken memories, unwritten histories, arranged by the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (SRII), operates at a cross-section of academic research and civil society activism. It aims to bring together young scholars of history, minorities and human rights with representatives of academia and civil society in a number of Eastern Mediterranean cities outside of Turkey. The fourth workshop of the series is entitled The place of cultural pluralism in Alexandriaand will take place via Zoom.

Speakers of the panel, October 21 at 18:00 (UTC+3):

Will Hanley, Associate Professor, Department of History, Florida State University – Amro Ali, lecturer in political sociology at the American University in Cairo – Mohamed Gohar, architect, artist and researcher, founder of Description of Alexandria

Eligible for participation are advanced students with a background in Arab, Turkish, and Egyptian culture and history, cultural and minority studies, or political, social and Human Rights studies. They should send their CV, together with a letter of interest outlining their interest in the topic and the ways in which it connects with their own research, no later than October 17, 2021,to Participants will be notified by October 19, 2021.



Unspoken memories, unwritten histories:

Eastern Mediterranean pluralism in oral history and memory studies

A series of workshops devoted to theory and practice in academia and civil society

Less than a hundred years ago, most Eastern Mediterranean cities were marked by a high degree of cultural pluralism. Whereas the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of modern nation-states heralded its end, some cities retained their cosmopolitan nature well until the Second World War. Oral histories and communicative memories of ethnoreligious groups that constituted vital parts of these cities are still living, often wound up with unhealed and suppressed historical. At the same time, simplified and nostalgic visions of a pluralist past are sometimes held up as role models for present-day Eastern Mediterranean societies without questioning, or without regard for the challenges that they entail. Local academics and civil society organizations alike play vital roles in researching, highlighting and supporting pluralism and pluralist heritage, sometimes in defiance of nationalist historiographies and policies.

The series Unspoken memories, unwritten histories, arranged by the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (SRII), operates at a cross-section of academic research and civil society activism. It aims to bring together young scholars of history, minorities and human rights with representatives of academia and civil society in a number of Eastern Mediterranean cities outside of Turkey. The fourth workshop of the series is entitled The place of cultural pluralism in Beirut and will take place via Zoom.

Speakers of the panel, September 17 at 17:00 (UTC+3):

Craig Larkin, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Politics of the Middle East, King’s College

Mona El Hallak Ghaibeh, Director of AUB Neighborhood Initiative

Maria Abunnasr, AUB and Ras Beirut in One Hundred and Fifty Years of Photographs

Selim Deringil, Lebanese American University, Beirut

Eligible for participation are advanced students with a background in Arab, Turkish, and Lebanese culture and history, cultural and minority studies, or political, social and Human Rights studies. They should send their CV, together with a letter of interest outlining their interest in the topic and the ways in which it connects with their own research, no later than September 11, 2021,to Participants will be notified by September 13, 2021.


CfP: Narrating Exile in and between Europe and the Ottoman Empire/modern Turkey (Amsterdam, November 11-12, 2021)

Call for Papers

Narrating Exile in and between Europe and the Ottoman Empire/modern Turkey


University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands | November 11-12, 2021

Keynote speakers:

Edhem Eldem (Collège de France/Boğaziçi University)

Christine Philliou (UC Berkeley)

The Turkey Studies Network in the Low Countries (TSN) is seeking original paper proposals that unsettle traditional narratives on exilic experiences in and between Europe and the later Ottoman Empire/modern Turkey as part of a two-day interdisciplinary conference held at the University of Amsterdam and hosted in collaboration with the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES) on 11-12 November 2021.

Deadline for abstracts: July 31, 2021.

Exile and flight, forced or voluntary, recurrently and perennially affects societies and peoples across Europe and the Middle East. Through the window of exile, however, we can also recognize the shared, if painful histories that connect these different but contiguous geographies. From Sephardim fleeing Christian purges in their Iberian homelands to settle in Salonika, over Young Turks escaping imprisonment and travelling to Paris and London, to Armenian refugees fleeing sectarian violence and genocide, exile has been a defining thread of modern history. The aftermaths of historical refugee flows continue to influence international politics and domestic debates up to this day, while Europe’s modern-day ‘refugee crisis’ cannot be understood in isolation from the colonial division of the post-Ottoman lands after WWI. Exile, indeed, remains endemic to modern-day geopolitics. Traumatic and deadly, exile can also mean reinvention: of means and worldviews in new societies. Refugees, in addition, influence the societies of their host countries in ways that are still not fully appreciated in the scholarship.

This two-day conference seeks original contributions that unsettle traditional narratives on exilic experiences: how to narrate refugee flows, which stories do we tell, which voices remain unheard? Our focus is on exile between Europe and (in) the (post)Ottoman lands. We welcome papers by historians, art historians, political scientists, ethnomusicologists, sociologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and literary scholars that fit in at least one of the three panels below:

I. Subversives and Radicals between Europe and the Ottoman Empire, 1700-1923

Since early modern times renegades, rebels and heretics traversed the frontiers allegedly separating Ottoman subjects from their European neighbours. They sought refuge from persecution, hoped to further their revolutionary or religious gospel, or organize new bases for resistance. In the ‘long’ 18th and 19th centuries, cities such as London, Geneva, Paris and Amsterdam functioned as cherished free havens for Ottoman subversives of different feathers, while the Ottoman Empire continued to attract various European refugees and ‘dissenters’. These Ottoman and European exiles represented a motley group, including religious militants, converts, nationalists, freedom fighters, rebels, criminals and convicts, political radicals, republicans, constitutionalists, avant-garde artists, socialists, anarchists, and communists. Some settled temporarily before moving onward, others stayed permanently. How to read the itineraries, experiences, and self-identifications of these women and men? How to tie their stories to larger historical transformations and processes? This panel encourages contributions on lesser studied (groups of) émigrés that foreground the exilic dynamic between home and host society, reciprocal influences, and their possible after-effects.

II. Cultural Landscapes of the (Post-)Ottoman World

Migration in and to the Ottoman world, from South-eastern Europe to the Middle East and North Africa, has been a powerful stimulant for the articulation of cultural diversities. The import and export of tangible and intangible cultural heritage – architecture, visual arts, music, literature, theatre, film, oral culture, folkloric traditions, and gastronomy – created cultural synergies within the Late Ottoman Empire that confirmed and challenged existing social, political and economic boundaries within and between Europe, the Mediterranean or the Middle East. The twentieth century introduced new national realities, novel European (and other) imperialisms, tensions and ruptures between capitalism and collectivism, war and social engineering, labour migration and diaspora formation, which in turn fostered new and equally diverse cultural synergies in post-Ottoman lands. This panel will look at the cultural experiences and expressions that were triggered by migration, exile and diaspora in the late Ottoman and post-Ottoman world, investigating how diverse people negotiated, merged and performed their cultural biographies and group identities in and with their new environments. 

III. Exile Turkey/Europe: A Multidirectional History

The founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal, is rarely remembered as a refugee. Yet he was: born and raised in Ottoman Selânik, he never returned to that city when it became Thessaloniki and he became Atatürk. Together with him, a generation of South-eastern Europeans were exiled to a rump Ottoman society in Asia during the massive transformations during the Ottoman end of days. Indeed, expulsion, flight, and exile are among the founding phenomena of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the post-imperial order. From the Balkans to Anatolia into the Caucasus, a century of transfer and dislocation of populations has characterized the collective experiences of millions of people: Circassians, Macedonians, Armenians, Syrians, and many others. Whereas solid research has so far offered important insights into the separate episodes of flight and exile, the interlinkages and comparisons between the different periods remain understudied. This panel will take a long-term perspective on (post-)Ottoman exile and examine how these events were shaped by both continuities and changes. How did Turkey become a receptacle, a catalyst, and a conduit for exile and refugees?


Selected speakers will be provided with accommodation and meals and – in case they cannot dispose of any institutional funding – reimbursed for their travel costs.

Applicants are invited to submit a 250-word abstract before July 31, 2021. Please note that selected speakers will be asked to pre-circulate their papers four weeks prior to the conference, so as to provide other panellists, discussants and chairs to prepare their comments and responses. Panellists also commit to revise their papers for later inclusion in a special journal issue.

Submissions for papers should include: name, main affiliation, paper title, abstract (max. 250 words) and a short bio (max. 50 words). Applicants must clearly indicate to which of the three panels their paper aims to contribute.

Deadlines and dates

Deadline for submissions31 July 2021
Notifications of acceptance14 August 2021
Deadline for conference papers14 October 2021
Conference11-12 November 2021

Covid-19 disclaimer

The dates of this conference are subject to change in accordance with the developments regarding the global pandemic. Our preference is to organize the conference on site, unless new international travel restrictions and pressing reasons concerning public health require us to revert to hybrid options or postponing the conference to the Spring semester of 2021-2022.

Abstracts may be submitted via


Reflections on the panel “The Place of Cultural Pluralism in Aleppo”

Joel Veldkamp

PhD Candidate in International History at The Graduate Institute in Geneva

Professor Mansel rightly emphasizes Aleppo’s long tradition of tolerance and diversity, and notes that of all the cities being examined in this series of workshops, Aleppo is the city that retained its diversity until quite recently. Of the many examples he cites to make his case, two quotes in particular stand out to me. The first is attributed to the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who rejected a proposal to expel Aleppo’s Jews on the grounds that, “The more sorts of nations I have in my dominions under me, as Turks, Arabs, Greeks, etc., the greater authority they bring to my kingdoms, and make them more famous.” 

The second is from Amir Faysal, who briefly ruled over inland Syria, including Aleppo, from the end of Ottoman rule there in October 1918 until his own expulsion by the French in July 1920: “The Arabs were Arabs before Moses and Jesus and Mohammed. All religions demand that their adherents follow what is right and enjoin brotherhood. Anyone who sows discord between Muslim, Christian, and Jew is not an Arab.”

As Prof. Mansel represents them, these two quotes do indeed reflect a continuity of social tradition. Tolerance for religious difference has long been a hegemonic value in Aleppo. But there is also a striking discontinuity between these two quotes – not on the point of religious tolerance, but on the significance of the nation, and even, we might say, the value of diversity. 

For Suleiman, the more “nations” under his rule, the better! It was the glory of an empire to rule over and maintain justice among many different peoples. This glorification of diversity is what undergirded the Ottoman project of religious tolerance.

With Faysal, and the cadres of nationalist intellectuals, activists, and revolutionaries who stood behind him, the opposite was true: religious tolerance was possible, in their view, precisely because religious differences were (or should be) negligible. Rather than embracing many nations, their polity was founded on an imagined homogenous national identity – Arab identity. This national identity was held to precede and trump Christian, Jewish, and Muslim identity. Those who made too much of diversity “sowed discord” and risked expulsion from the only community that truly mattered – the Arab one.

The obvious question raised by Faysal’s program is: what about those in Aleppo who were not Arabs? In his brief reign over Syria (and in his longer reign over Iraq, 1921-1933), Faysal never successfully answered this question. Four months after he delivered the speech quoted by Mansel, over 50 Armenian refugees in Aleppo were killed in a mob massacre. The massacre was preceded by clashes between Armenian military auxiliaries and Muslims in Beirut, Alexandretta, and Adana – clashes which, in its public rhetoric, the Arab government in Aleppo held Armenians collectively responsible for. 

On his first visit to Aleppo after the massacre, Faysal implicitly rebuked Aleppines for the violence, and upped the ante from his previous speech: “We are Arabs before Moses, and Muhammad, and Jesus, and Abraham” he declared. Part of the Arab government’s  response to the massacre was to create a “Committee for Arabian Brotherhood” which brought Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious leaders together to dialogue. The very name of the committee shows how the Arab nationalists’ own ideology prevented them from even framing the question of coexistence, much less resolving it. Faced with violence between two national groups, they responded by doubling down on Arab unity as the solution to all possible ills.

Even if one does not consider the presence of Armenians and other non-Arabs, it is clear that the ideal of Arab nationhood could not, on its own, create the nationalists’ desired homogeneity. Identity differences between religious groups persisted, and since the nationalists’ own ideology denied the importance of these differences, they apparently found it quite difficult to reconcile them into the new polity they were building in Syria.

This brings us to Syria’s French Mandate period, which Professor Seda Altuğ is one of the leading experts on. In her presentation, Altuğ nuances the by-now clichéd view that Syria’s French rulers used a strategy of “divide and rule” to maintain their power, encouraging sectarianism and setting Syria and Aleppo’s different religious groups against each other. Altuğ grants the overall truth of this account, but argues that we need to look at these groups not just as pre-existing blocs that the French were manipulating, but as groups whose own existence and identity was transformed in the Mandate era, especially with the emergence of “minority” and “majority” as politically meaningful statuses for groups to have. Key moments in French rule over Syria, such as the proposed minority protection clauses in the 1936 Franco-Syrian Treaty and the failed attempt to reform personal status law in Syria triggered intense debates (and even street clashes) among Christians and Muslims in Aleppo over the definition and validity of “minority” status.

This deconstruction of the concept of “minority” as a contingent political construct rather than an eternal fact is an important contribution to our understanding, not only of Mandate Syria, but of the emergence of the nation-state system across Eastern Europe and the Middle East. In my own view, what we need now is a convincing account that unites Altuğ’s description of minority construction in Mandate Aleppo with the social relations between Christians, Muslims and Jews that existed in Aleppo before the French Mandate. Traditionally, Christians and Jews were formally assigned to a subservient dhimmi status in Aleppo and the Ottoman Empire. The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw an ambitious project by Ottoman reformers to integrate Christians and Jews as fully equal citizens. This project was, to put it mildly, a troubled one. Even before the arrival of European rule and the minority treaties promoted by the League of Nations, do we not see the familiar dynamics of minority-majority relations and claims-making in the debates about the status of non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire? To take just one example: the elections to the short-lived Ottoman parliament in 1876 required provinces to return a certain number of Christian and Jewish deputies. The Young Turks who launched a constitutional revolution in 1908 ended this practice, but the constitution drafted under Faysal’s rule in 1920 would have restored it. The text of the constitution explicitly allocated a number of seats in the national parliament to “minorities.” (Elizabeth Thompson’s 2020 book How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs reproduces the text of this constitution, lost for many years, in full.)

Another question about Mandate Aleppo that remains outstanding is the relationship between these debates about minorities and sectarianism, and the shockingly powerful labor movement that emerged in Aleppo in the 1930s. In August 1932, some 50,000 Aleppines marched in support of striking textile workers. Aleppo’s nationalists, who largely hailed from its landowning class, sided with the factory owners. Armenian refugees were well-represented among these workers, and Armenians led the early communist party in Aleppo. When some nationalist leaders and ulema launched an economic boycott of Christians and Jews in the spring of 1936, it often manifested in factory owners firing all of their Christian workers. How did these two conflicts – sectarian and class – map onto each other? They surely did, but as of yet, I know of no academic studies that address this point.

One of Altuğ’s most valuable insights comes in the question and answer section of the panel, when she notes: “When we trace the destinies of pro-French minorities, we can conclude that it was political submission that formed the basis of admission to the nation.” The creation of the unified Syrian Arab nation in Aleppo, she observes, required the “castration of any kind of sectarian agency for any minority group.” It is a story well-known to scholars of nationalism: it was not a common identity or a common purpose that at last brought Muslims and Christians in Aleppo together in a single nation in the late 1930s. It was force.

This insight perhaps brings us closer to understanding the devastating developments related by Professor Ugur Üngör. Already in the 1930s, Syria’s nationalist movement established a precedent of rule by force, as well as an equation between national unity and loyalty to the ruling class. Through decades of successor regimes, culminating in the Assad regime, these precedents were maintained, preventing any authentic dialogue or groupmaking between Aleppo’s communities. Just as Syria’s first generation of nationalists did, the Assad regime treated Syria’s religious groups as building blocks of the nation, essential for establishing a trans-religious Arab identity. Neither the existence of any real agency for these groups, nor the creation of a cross-sectarian civil society, could be permitted under this brittle system. When that system collapsed in 2011-2012, these ethno-religious blocks emerged as the principal focal points of Aleppines’ loyalty, and their most immediate sources of protection. Thus, as Professor Üngör states, “In five months, Aleppo went from coexistence to street executions.”

For Üngör, “Violence is an incredible driver of identity,” and the “2011 conflict triggered unprocessed traumas in Syria.” Among those unprocessed traumas in Aleppo – the violent episodes that Muslims and Christians were never able to discuss and process together, as friends and neighbors – we might count the massacres of Christians in Aleppo or Aleppo province in 1850, 1895, 1909, and 1919, the 1915-1923 Armenian genocide, the 1936 Sunday Market Clash between Christian and nationalist paramilitary groups (mentioned by Altuğ), the attacks on Christian homes and institutions during the anti-French uprising of 1945 and the Suez Crisis of 1956, the 1979 massacre of Alawite military cadets, and the regime-led massacre of hundreds of Sunni Muslim Aleppines during Eid al-Fitr 1980. In the absence of public discussion or education about these traumas, each community was left to its own devices to develop explanatory narratives, which were then passed down through the generations. 

Professor Üngör’s questioning of the concept of “cosmopolitanism” is welcome and long-overdue. As he points out, the mere presence of diversity does not amount to positive inter-group relations, and coexistence can be fragile. Üngör proposes redefining cosmopolitanism as an “amoral” quality – by which I assume he means neither positive nor negative for social relations, just the mere fact of diversity. In place of the fuzzy concept of “good” cosmopolitanism prized by many observers, Üngör proposes the more precise concept of “hybridity,” exemplified in his word-image of “Kurdish-speaking Syriac Orthodox people going to do business in the Arab souq.” 

While this concept does appear more precise, I confess that it is not clear to me how this “hybridity” is necessarily more positive or conducive to a society that resists inter-group violence than the “mere presence of diversity” signified by “cosmopolitanism.” After all, souqs in prewar Aleppo were sites where people of different ethnic and religious identities mixed with abandon. How do “cosmopolitanism” and “hybridity,” respectively, correlate with the fragility or strength of coexistence? (I freely admit the possibility that I simply misunderstood this point.) 

Finally, we were treated to Isber Sabrine’s inspiring account of the efforts of Aleppines to preserve their heritage in the face of the devastating urban warfare that took place from 2012-2016. Üngör argued that Aleppines will not be able to coexist again “for a generation,” and that the Assad regime’s victory “precludes any kind of deep reconciliation.” He may be right. But Sabrine’s account is a salutary reminder that memory and trauma are not destiny, that human beings are free actors, who can choose to preserve and rebuild, even in the midst of horrifying suffering.

Sabrine also points up the difficulties that this era’s civil wars pose for international efforts at heritage preservation. By default, international efforts rely on the local government to coordinate activities. The case of Aleppo, where the city was divided for nearly half a decade between regime and opposition forces, highlights the shortcomings of this system. It will surely not be the last such case.

For my part, I thank all the panelists for their presentations. Together, the presentations work to unify the questions posed by Syria’s current war with Aleppo’s deep past. I found each one helpful, revealing, and pertinent.


CEST Fall School on Intersectionality

Call for Applications

October 1-15 October 2021

The Consortium for European Symposia on Turkey (CEST) works to advance research on Turkey and provide opportunities for early career scholars and graduate students in Turkey and Europe by organizing academic events and promoting the exchange of ideas and networking among scholars.

CEST is delighted to announce its first Summer/Fall School. Starting in 2021, CEST will offer a series of summer programs to support graduate students and postdoctoral scholars pursuing research related to Turkey in the humanities and the social sciences. The two-week programs are designed to support participants’ individual research projects, provide training in specific research areas, encourage the participants to present their work in a transdisciplinary framework, and develop career-building skills such as academic writing and grant writing.

The theme of the first virtual CEST Summer/Fall School is Intersectionality. Originating in critical race and gender studies, intersectionality provides a framework to understand intersecting systems of domination, social relations and structures (e.g., ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality, religion) that (re)produce power structures, privileges and inequalities. While intersectionality has been integrated into various disciplines ranging from the humanities and social sciences to law and economy, it also has come under criticism. The first CEST Summer/Fall School will address the challenges of incorporating intersectionality as a theoretical framework into empirical and non-empirical research designs, while taking into consideration its limits and pitfalls.

The CEST Summer/Fall School will be held online from 1 October to 15 October 2021. Its interactive format includes lectures, readings, interactive exercises, online social spaces and exchange with instructors and members of CEST. Participants will be able to present and discuss their own work, receive feedback, and have the opportunity to workshop, revise, and expand it.

Graduate students and early career scholars are expected to attend and participate in all events during the two-week period. While the first week is dedicated to methodologies in intersectionality research, the second week develops the participants’ individual research and career-building skills. Successful participants will receive a certificate from CEST.

The CEST Summer/Fall school is open to graduate students (enrolled in MA and PhD programs) and early career scholars (no more than two years since PhD) in Turkey and Europe whose research interest is relevant to intersectionality in the context of Turkey.

The teaching language is English. All participants must be proficient in English on an academic level.

Applicants should submit a letter of motivation, their CV and research exposé of no more than 2,000 words in English via email by June 25, 2021, using the subject heading “CEST Intersectionality Summer/Fall School.” The exposé should lay out your research design, methodological approach, data/empirical material (if applicable), and expected/preliminary findings. Please send your applications in one single pdf document titled “name_surname_brief project title” to

Selected participants will be invited by mid-July. There is no application or registration fee. The CEST Summer/Fall School is free of charge to all selected participants.

Please do not hesitate to contact us via with any questions you may have.

The preliminary program will be available on the CEST website in mid July 2021. Organizers

Professor Kader Konuk, Institute for Turkish Studies and Academy in Exile, Universität Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Dr. Imren Borsuk, Berlin Forum Transregional Studies, Germany/ Affiliated researcher at Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies

CEST Members

Kerem Öktem, CEST Chair, Professor, Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Paul T Levin, CEST Director, Director, Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies

Jenny White, CEST Vice Director, Professor, Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies

Lea Nocera, CEST Member, Professor, University of Naples L’Orientale’
Kader Konuk, CEST Member, Professor, Institute for Turkish Studies, University of

Elise Massicard, CEST Member, Research Professor, CNRS/CERI Sciences Po
Yavuz Köse, CEST Member, Chair for Ottoman and Turkish Studies, University of Vienna


Turkey and the Mediterranean: linkages, connectivities and ruptures

Consortium for European Symposia on Turkey

Call for Papers – 6th Annual European Symposium on Turkey

Virtual conference (September 2021) – Symposium in Naples/Italy (November 2021)

Turkey belongs to many regions, and the Mediterranean is certainly one of them. Recently, geopolitical interests in Turkey have turned, inter alia, to the eastern Mediterranean. Yet, as a geopolitical, cultural and political concept the Mediterranean has rarely been a central focus in the remit of Ottoman and Turkish Studies.

The Mediterranean remains a blurred concept open to diverging and conflicting interpretations. Studies in various disciplinary fields focus on the “White Sea”. Many of them concur with the Braudelian notion of the Mediterranean as a primeval unity, while they underemphasize the fragmentation caused by imperialism, nation-building and regional conflict, as well as by competing geopolitical narratives geared towards regional hegemony. At the same time, however, the Mediterranean has never ceased to represent a repertoire of evocative and seductive images and to foster a collective imagery shaped by discourses in tourism, gastronomy and cultural history.

In this Symposium, we wish to resume the discussion on the Mediterranean with a particular focus on Turkey, with the aim to explore its historical, cultural and social as well as (geo-)political dimensions. In what ways does the idea of a geo-cultural space such as the Mediterranean relate to Turkey’s complex modernisation process, the creation of the Turkish nation state and the set of relations with Europe and the Levante? 

The Mediterranean understood as a space of exchanges, encourages the study of connectivities between the countries bordering its shores. With this Symposium, we aim to deepen the research on connectivities and exchanges in the basin beyond the North-South relationship and their underlying imperial and (neo)colonial policies. We also seek to explore the several connections between the Mediterranean countries and Turkey which have persisted despite the divisions created by the founding of nation states. In fact, the place of Turkey in the Mediterraneanmay be a point of departure for a reconceptualization of the North-South divisions that characterise its current state.

Similarly, the history of linkages, connectivities and mobility/migration brings into focus the entangled networks of economic, social and cultural relations built up by migration and transnational communities (i.e. Armenian, Greek, Jewish, Levantine and Muslim communities) that extended beyond political borders and traversed, if not reconnected, the north-south divide. Exploring these interactions promises new insights not only into the history of the Ottoman Mediterranean, but also allows for an exploration of a post-Ottoman space and identity discourses in republican Turkey. 

In particular, we seek to elicit contributions in four interconnected fields of inquiry that

  • critically reconstruct the conceptualization of the Mediterranean as a space/discourse of belonging and identity narratives, of cultural and political connections, and as (geo)political space;
  • examine relevant connectivities, linkages and ruptures between Turkey and other Mediterranean countries;
  • discuss the role of networks and movements of people, both historically and in present, across the Mediterranean and in connection with Turkey;
  • engage with the recent rediscovery of the Mediterranean in Turkey’s geopolitical imagination in the context of its international relations. 

We are particularly interested in contributions from Social and Cultural History, Politics and Constructivist International Relations, Diaspora and Migration Studies, and Anthropology. We strongly encourage interdisciplinary work. Comparative work about the linkages between Turkey and one or more Mediterranean country is especially encouraged.

Format of the Symposium

The Covid-19 Pandemic continues to shape the mode of our interactions, to which we need to respond creatively. We have therefore decided to convene a two-stage Symposium format with a virtual workshop in September 2021 and a face-to-face Symposium in November 2021.

The Virtual Workshop seeks to provide a space for selected participants to present the core idea of their papers in virtual panel sessions and to meet and receive feedback from peers and colleagues. The Workshop will also include a keynote presentation and a closing plenary session. Participation in all panels of the Virtual Workshop is required.

Based on the workshop discussions, the participants will then write a full academic paper, which they will submit to the conveners before the Symposium Meeting in November 2021. They will present their papers at the Symposium Meeting at Naples L’Orientale University. The conference conveners will organize a publication in form of a special issue in a leading academic journal.

Abstract submission

Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words along with a brief academic CV. Abstracts should include a research question and information about data/empirical material, methodology and expected/preliminary findings.

The language of the symposium is English.

Abstracts and CVs should be submitted via email to:


Funding is available for junior scholars (PhD candidate, Post-Doc, early career) from Europe including Turkey. Interested senior scholars are encouraged to use funds from their own institution.

Participants are eligible for the funding of flight tickets and accommodation. Flight tickets will be reimbursed up to 200 Euros. For co-authored papers, funding will be available for one presenter.


The event is being co-organized by Naples L’Orientale University and the Consortium for European Symposia on Turkey (CEST) in collaboration with the Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (SUITS). CEST is committed to the study of modern Turkey by bringing together the expertise of leading European research institutions. CEST is supported by Stiftung Mercator ( 

Deadlines and dates

Deadline for submissions2 July 2021
Announcement of the jury decision15 July 2021
Introductory meeting1 September 2021
Virtual Workshop24 – 25 September
Deadline for Symposium papers5 November 2021
Symposium Meeting25-27 November 2021

For your questions, please contact:


Levantines of the Ottoman World: Communities, Identities, and Cultures

Call for Papers

Levantines of the Ottoman World: Communities, Identities, and Cultures

The wide geographic expanse of the Ottoman Empire, and length of its political existence, presents historians with the challenge of describing a vast, complex and evolving mosaic of communal formations, many of which were unstable and ambiguously defined. Understanding the relationship of these communities to the formulation of individual subjectivity and self-identity during this period remains an even more difficult historiographic puzzle.

Alongside major ethnic, religious and linguistic groupings such as Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians and Jews, one of the most historically prominent communities of the Empire – and yet, at the same time, among the most amorphous and understudied – are the Levantines. Originating from populations of merchants, diplomats, and other travelers and migrants who settled in the port cities of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires from the lands of Western, Southern, and Central Europe, the Levantines emerged as a multifarious but distinct social grouping with a pivotal role in the history of the Ottoman state. Research into the cosmopolitan world of the Levantines remains inadequate, however, and much remains to be said about their particular modes of living, social interaction, and cultural inheritance.

This book project aims to go beyond the borders of formalistic narratives and to juxtapose a multiplicity of approaches, methodologies, and perspectives in the study of Levantine lives in the Ottoman Empire. We welcome chapters that engage in the current body of scholarship on topics such as Levantine cosmopolitanism, hybridity, marginality, ambiguity, and transnationalism, but we also encourage submissions which critique the centrality of such terminology and theoretical frames in historical scholarship. Ultimately, it is hoped that these chapters will contribute to a deeper understanding of processes of communal and identity-formation in the Ottoman world, and highlight the possibilities of Levantine studies in challenging entrenched disciplinary boundaries.

Proposed chapters might pursue, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • panoramic approaches to Levantine communities or publications
  • Levantine families, households, and domestic culture; labor, intimacy and consumption
  • Levantine institutions, clubs, schools, and churches, and other social organizations
  • Levantine publications, companies, and commercial enterprises; engaging with port-cities studies and the questions of class formation in the Ottoman Mediterranean
  • Cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, and internationalism as a Levantine analytic
  • Levantine religious spaces and architecture; Levantine life in urban space and traces/hauntings in the built environment of contemporary cities
  • Levantine social and cultural interactions with other communities of the Ottoman world; ambiguities, exchanges, passings and crossings

Submission instructions

We initially request abstract submissions which describe the applicant’s interest in the project. These should be between 200-250 words and outline the intended area of investigation and any relationship to the mentioned topics.  Please email these with the title in the subject line by the abstract submission deadline of midnight, 15/02/22. Final manuscripts are strongly encouraged to be limited to 10000 words. Articles in English and Turkish are accepted.


Style and Citation Guidelines

Notes should appear as footnotes (not endnotes) and be 12 pt, Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.

Important Deadlines

Expression of interest deadline: February 15th, 2022 at midnight.
Notification of acceptance: March 4th, 2022.
Manuscript submission deadline: September 30th, 2022.
Revised manuscript submission deadline: February 20th, 2023.
Publication: June 2023.

The book will be published by an internationally-recognized publishing house, Libra Kitap, based in Istanbul ( For contact information see,

Please visit the project website HERE


Antioch: A History

By Andrea U. De Giorgi, A. Asa Eger

This is a complete history of Antioch, one of the most significant major cities of the eastern Mediterranean and a crossroads for the Silk Road, from its foundation by the Seleucids, through Roman rule, the rise of Christianity, Islamic and Byzantine conquests, to the Crusades and beyond.

Antioch has typically been treated as a city whose classical glory faded permanently amid a series of natural disasters and foreign invasions in the sixth and seventh centuries CE. Such studies have obstructed the view of Antioch’s fascinating urban transformations from classical to medieval to modern city and the processes behind these transformations. Through its comprehensive blend of textual sources and new archaeological data reanalyzed from Princeton’s 1930s excavations and recent discoveries, this book offers unprecedented insights into the complete history of Antioch, recreating the lives of the people who lived in it and focusing on the factors that affected them during the evolution of its remarkable cityscape. While Antioch’s built environment is central, the book also utilizes landscape archaeological work to consider the city in relation to its hinterland, and numismatic evidence to explore its economics. The outmoded portrait of Antioch as a sadly perished classical city par excellence gives way to one in which it shines as brightly in its medieval Islamic, Byzantine, and Crusader incarnations.

Antioch: A History offers a new portal to researching this long-lasting city and is also suitable for a wide variety of teaching needs, both undergraduate and graduate, in the fields of classics, history, urban studies, archaeology, Silk Road studies, and Near Eastern/Middle Eastern studies. Just as importantly, its clarity makes it attractive for, and accessible to, a general readership outside the framework of formal instruction.

Table of Contents

1 The Eagle of Zeus Arrives (303BCE–64BCE)

2 Orientis Apex Pulcher: The Roman “Beautiful Crown of the East” in the making (64BCE–192CE)

3 From Capital to Crisis: Antioch in the Late Roman Empire (193–458)

4 Theoupolis, the City of God (458–638)

5 Anṭākiya, Mother of the Cities (638–969)

6 The Byzantine Duchy of Antioch (969–1085)

7 The Saljūqs: An Interlude (1084–1098)

8 The Crusader Principality of Antioch (1098–1268)

9 A Mamlūk Entrepot (1268–1516)

10 Ottoman Antakya (1516–1918)

11 A Frontier Town Once More (1920–2020)



Andrea U. De Giorgi is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at the Florida State University, USA. He specializes in Roman urbanism and visual culture from the origins to Late Antiquity, with emphasis on the Greek East. He is the author of Ancient Antioch: From the Seleucid Era to the Islamic Conquest (2016, paperback 2018), editor of Cosa and the Colonial Landscape of Republican Italy (2019), and co-editor of Cosa/Orbetello. Archaeological Itineraries (2016). Dr. De Giorgi has directed excavations and surveys in Turkey, Syria, Georgia, Jordan, and the UAE. Since 2013, he has codirected the Cosa Excavations in Italy, and currently studies the 1930s Antioch collections at the Princeton University Art Museum, USA. He has also collaborated with the Museo di Anchità di Torino, the Museo di Cosa in Ansedonia, and the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida.

A. Asa Eger is Associate Professor of the Islamic World in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA. His research centers on Islamic and Byzantine history and archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean, with a focus on frontiers and the relationship between cities and hinterlands. He is the author of The Islamic-Byzantine Frontier: Interaction and Exchange Among Muslim and Christian Communities (2015), winner of ASOR’s G. Ernest Wright Book award for 2015; The Spaces Between the Teeth: A Gazetteer of Towns on the Islamic-Byzantine Frontier (2012, 2nd edition 2016); and editor of The Archaeology of Medieval Islamic Frontiers (2019). Dr. Eger has directed excavations and surveyed all around Antioch (Antakya) in Turkey since 2001, as well as in Israel, Cyprus, and Greece. He currently studies the 1930s Antioch collections at the Princeton University Art Museum, USA, and 1970s survey material from the Tell Rifa’at Survey, the hinterland of Aleppo, at the Louvre Museum, France.