I am an urban and environmental historian of the late Ottoman Empire, working as an Assistant Professor at Leiden University’s Institute for History and the Urban Studies program. Before Leiden, I was the Research Projects Manager at the Istanbul Research Institute between 2019 and 2023.

I received my Ph.D. from the Near and Middle Eastern Studies Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at the University of Washington in 2018, my M.A. from the History Faculty at the University of Oxford in 2011, and my double major B.A. with high honors from the departments of History and Political Science at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul in 2010.

My research has been awarded numerous grants, including a Presidential Dissertation Award by the University of Washington, a Writing Fellowship from the International Journal for Urban and Regional Research Foundation, a Simpson Center Digital Humanities Research Fellowship, and postdoctoral fellowships from the Barakat Trust and Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED), among others.

My service to global and non-Western urban studies includes serving as the Editor of YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies, the only peer-reviewed journal on the study of Istanbul, past and present.

As an interdisciplinary historian working simultaneously in scholarly and public domains, my research agenda includes several major exhibitions. I am co-curating Panoramic Visions of Istanbul, on the representations of Istanbul in painted and photographic panoramas, to be opened at Pera Museum in late 2023. This builds upon my curatorial and managerial experience with Occupied City: Politics and Daily Life in Istanbul, 1918–1923 (Istanbul Research Institute, 2023), Memories of Humankind: Stories from the Ottoman Manuscripts (Istanbul Research Institute, 2019), and The Characters of Yusuf Franko: An Ottoman Bureaucrat’s Caricatures (ANAMED, 2017). 



2018: Ph.D. in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

Dissertation Title: “Assembling ‘Cosmopolitan’ Pera: An Infrastructural History of Late Ottoman Istanbul”

2011: M.St. in Modern British and European History, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Thesis: “The Board Games of Wallis Family: Empire, Nation, Instruction in Childhood Entertainment at the Turn of the Nineteenth-Century.”

2010: BA (High Honors) in Political Science and International Relations – History (Double Major), Boğaziçi University, İstanbul, Turkey.

Work Shared in CORE

Book chapters
Blog Posts
Book reviews
Online publication
Magazine section
Newspaper article

Other Publications


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Forthcoming    “Ruin and Knowledge in Pera: Discovering the Genoese Heritage in Istanbul in the Moment of Its Destruction.” Muqarnas, accepted for publication.

2023 “Pera’nın Atığı, Kasımpaşa’nın Salgını: On Dokuzuncu Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul’da Kolera Salgınları ve Çevre Adaleti”. Toplumsal Tarih Akademi (2023): 52-71.

2018     “Caricaturizing ‘Cosmopolitan’ Pera: Play, Critique, and Absence in Yusuf Franko’s Caricatures, 1884–1896.” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 5, no. 1 (Spring 2018): 7–32.


Journal Articles

2021     “Pera, Kasımpaşa, Sewers, and Maps: Representing Infrastructural Entanglements in the Nineteenth-Century Istanbul.” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 8, no. 1 (Summer 2021): 405–415.


Book Chapters

2023     “Ölülerin ve Yaşayanların Tarlalarının Üzerinde: Küçük Kabristan’dan Tepebaşı Bahçesi’ne On Dokuzuncu Yüzyılda Pera Doğasının İnşası” [Over the Fields of the Dead and the Living: The Construction of Pera’s Nature from the Little Cemetery to the Tepebaşı Garden] In Şehrin Doğası: Tarihsel ve Güncel Tartışmalar Işığında İstanbul’da Toprak, Yeşil ve Su, edited by Cemal Kafadar, Çiğdem Kafescioğlu, Ayfer Bartu Candan, and Suna Kafadar, forthcoming.  
2021     “Kozmopolit Pera’yı, Yusuf Bey’in Karikatürleriyle Çizmek” and “Sonsöz: Sergilerin Sonsözü Olur mu?” (w. E. Esra Satıcı). In Yusuf Bey: On Dokuzuncu Yüzyıl Sonunda Pera’nın Yüklü Portreleri, edited by Bahattin Öztuncay and Özge Ertem, 73–89 and 91–99 (Istanbul: ANAMED, 2021) [expanded Turkish edition of Youssouf Bey].

2019     “Nature’s ‘Cosmopolis’: Villagers, Engineers, and Animals along Terkos Waterworks in Late Nineteenth-Century Istanbul.” In The Seeds of Power: Explorations in the Environmental History of the Ottoman Empire, edited by Onur Inal and Yavuz Köse, 155–183. Winwick: The White Horse Press, 2019 (translated to Turkish: İktidar Tohumları [İletişim, 2022].

2016     “Drawing ‘Cosmopolitan’ Pera, Drawing on Yusuf Bey’s Caricatures.” In Youssouf Bey: Charged Portraits of Fin-de-Siècle Beyoğlu, edited by Bahattin Öztuncay, 63–79. Istanbul: Vehbi Koç Vakfı, 2016.
2011     “Children Playing History.” In Toy Exhibition, edited by Sennur Sentürk, 51–58. Istanbul: YKY, 2011.


Book Reviews

2021     “Hotels and Highways: The Construction of Modernization Theory in Turkey by Begüm Adalet.” Arab Studies Journal 29, no. 2 (2021): 174–178.

2021     “Germany and the Ottoman Railways: Art, Empire, and Infrastructure by Peter H. Christensen.” Cornucopia 63 (2021): 35–41.

2017     “Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul by Charles King.” New Perspectives on Turkey 56 (November 2017): 146–150.


Manuscripts in Preparation


Between Water and Fire: An Environmental History of Late Ottoman Istanbul


Edited books:
Istanbul Unbound: Environmental Histories of the City (co-edited with Onur İnal), accepted by the Stanford University Press, pending peer review
Cities on Fire: Environmental History of Urban Conflagrations, solicited by Routledge Press
Panoramic Visions of Istanbul (tentative title, co-edited with Çiğdem Kafescioglu. and Baha Tanman), exhibition catalog by Pera Museum, forthcoming in 2023

Articles: “Pera’nın Atığı, Kasımpaşa’nın Salgını: On Dokuzuncu Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul’da Kolera Salgınları ve Çevre Adaleti” in preparation to be submitted to the Toplumsal Tarih Akademi (peer-reviewed)

“Tracing the Ubiquitous Wetness of the Kasımpaşa Valley in the Longue Durée,” in preparation to be submitted to the Proceedings of the 17th International ANAMED Symposium: Aquatic Worlds of Anatolia (peer-reviewed)

“1870 Fire of Pera: Photography and Disaster” (tentative title, with Ahmet Ersoy)

“Radical Mediterranean: Militancy of Gustave Flourens from Pera to Crete”


Articles in Popular Press

2022     “Reşad Ekrem Koçu’nun Çizdiği/Bozduğu Sınırlarla Galata ve Beyoğlu Tarihi.” Toplumsal Tarih 338 (February 2022): 44–51.

2020     “On Dokuzuncu Yüzyılın Mümkün Geleceği: Pera ‘Arşivini’ Çeşitlendirmek.” Beyond.Istanbul 9 (2020): 13–17.

2019     “Doğanın “Kozmopolis”i: Terkos Suyolu Boyunca Kentliler, Köylüler ve Hayvanlar.” Toplumsal Tarih 312 (December 2019): 30–37.

2019     “Call of Duty: Empire Mapped and Played.” Tank Magazine 80 (2019): 148–155. 

2018     “Empire on a Board: Navigating the British Empire through Geographical Board Games in the Nineteenth Century.” The Portolan Journal (Fall 2018): 27–42.

2017     “Puppet Master of Pera.” Cornucopia 55 (2017): 15–21.

2016     “Tarihçi Kechriotis’in Tarihini Yazmak: Bir Başlangıç, Bir Deneme.” Toplumsal Tarih 272 (August 2016): 54–56.


Blog Posts


2021 Organizer, Istanbul Unbound: Environmental Approaches to the City conference. Istanbul Research Institute & Pera Museum. April 8-11, 2021, Istanbul.

2019    Curator, Hafıza-i Beşer: Osmanlı Yazmalarından Hikâyeler // Memories of Humankind: Stories from the Ottoman Manuscripts. Istanbul Research Institute. October 18, 2019. Istanbul, https://en.iae.org.tr/Exhibition/Memories-of-Humankind/206

2017      Co-Curator. The Characters of Yusuf Franko: An Ottoman Bureaucrat’s Caricatures. Exhibition held at Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED). January 26 – June 1, 2017, Istanbul. http://yusuffranko.ku.edu.tr.


Middle Eastern Studies Association

European Society for Environmental History

European Association for Urban History

Network for the Study of Environmental History of Turkey

Tarih Vakfı (History Foundation)

Koca Mehmet Kentel

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