Core Research Group

Christine Philliou

Founder & Director - University of California, Berkeley

Christine Philliou (Princeton University MA, Near Eastern Studies, 1998; PhD, History, 2004) is a Professor in the Department of History at UC Berkeley, Director of the Modern Greek and Hellenic Studies Program at the Institute for European Studies, Director of the Turkish and Ottoman Studies Program at the Center for Middle East Studies, and an affiliate member of the Institute for Southeast European and Eurasian Studies at Berkeley. She is the author of two books, on different aspects of the long 19th century in Ottoman Empire, and the emergence of Greece and Turkey out of that Empire. Her first book, Biography of an Empire: Governing Ottomans in an Age of Revolution (2010 University of California Press; Greek edition forthcoming 2021 with Alexandria Publications) examined the changes in Ottoman governance resulting from the Greek War of Independence, from the perspective of Greek Phanariot elites. Her new book, Turkey: A Past Against History (University of California Press 2021; Greek edition forthcoming in 2022 with Alexandria) turns to the concept of political dissent and opposition in the final decades of the Ottoman Empire and the transition to the Republic of Turkey, from the perspective of a dissident, opposition figure, and satirist who experienced the changes firsthand. She has published in journals such as Comparative Studies in Society and History, Middle Eastern Studies, and Comparative Studies in South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and has been the recipient of fellowships such as the ACLS Burkhardt Fellowship, the Stanford Humanities Center Fellowship, and the UC Berkeley Townsend Humanities Center Fellowship. She won the Sabanci International Prize in Turkish Studies for her essay, “The Paradox of Perceptions: Interpreting the Ottoman past through the national present,” in 2007. Fluent in both Greek and Turkish, she has spent her career researching both the conflicts and the moments of symbiosis between Greeks and Turks as the Ottoman Empire devolved and the modern states of Greece and Turkey took shape.

Firuzan Melike Sümertaş

Istanbul / Cottbus

Firuzan Melike Sümertaş is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Brandenburg Technical University at Cottbus/Senftenberg in a DFG funded Research Training Group entitled: "Cultural and Technological Significance of Historic Buildings." She graduated from METU, Department of Architecture, and received her M.A degree from the same university, program of Architectural History. She has completed her doctoral studies at Bogaziçi University, Department of History. Her research area is the Urban and Architectural History of Istanbul during the Ottoman period. Accordingly, her M.A research focused on Female Patrons of Architecture in Early Modern Istanbul, whereas her doctoral project inquired about the nineteenth-century scholarship on ‘Old Istanbul,’ particularly in Greek. She has presented papers and published articles in local and international milieus within this framework. During her Ph.D. research, she was awarded the Fulbright Cultural Exchange Scholarship and spent an academic year at Princeton University, Department of History. She also participated in the Erasmus Student Exchange Program and studied for one semester at the University of Crete, Department of History and Archaeology. Additionally, she was awarded scholarships from significant research institutions such as ARIT – Istanbul, AKMED – Antalya, EFA – Athens, SNF – Athens, Bodossaki Foundation – Athens, and NEC – Bucharest. Her research languages are Ottoman Turkish and Greek. Sümertaş has participated in several research and exhibition projects besides her academic life.

CV: Curriculum Vitae

Ayşe Ozil

Sabancı University

Ayşe Ozil is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Sabancı University, Istanbul. After receiving her BA in Political Science and International Relations from Boğaziçi University, she completed her MA in History at the same university and her PhD at the University of London, Birkbeck College. Before joining Sabancı University, she was a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University and a visiting researcher at Leiden University. Her research interests focus on the history of Greek communities in the late Ottoman Empire in relation to social networks, modernization of education, and urbanization. Exploring the interrelationship between the Ottoman and Greek worlds, her work has drawn on a comparative examination of Ottoman and Greek archival sources. She is the author of Orthodox Christians in the Late Ottoman Empire: A Study of Communal Relations in Anatolia (Routledge, 2013; Turkish edition Anadolu Rumları: Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Son Döneminde Millet Sistemini Yeniden Düşünmek published with Kitap Yayınevi, 2016), which explores meanings and practices of ethno-religious community and offers a critical reappraisal of the millet system. She has worked extensively on the history of Greek educational institutions in the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul, with a focus on the Zografeion School. Her research on education and other institutional matters like legal corporate status has been published in journals such as International Journal of Turkish Studies and Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association and in multiple edited volumes. Her current work explores the social history of lower income groups in the Tarlabaşı neighbourhood of Beyoğlu. She is also working on a project on the development of trade companies and the modernization of commercial buildings (han) in the Galata port in the late Ottoman period. Both of these projects comprise but are not limited to Greek communities. Her research and teaching have been supported by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (Anamed), Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, the Scientific and Technological Research Foundation of Turkey (Tübitak), and Birkbeck College Ede Ravenscroft Research Fund among others.

Book: Orthodox Christians in the Late Ottoman Empire: A Study of Communal Relations in Anatolia

Book Chapters:


Panagiotis Poulos

Department of Music Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Panagiotis C. Poulos is Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology at the Department of Music Studies at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He studied ethnomusicology with a focus on the musical traditions of the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), where he also completed his doctoral dissertation on Ottoman classical music, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board. His research centers on the musical traditions of the Islamic world, the cultural history of late Ottoman and Turkish music and arts, and the history of everyday life in Ottoman cities. Panagiotis C. Poulos is one of the founding members of the research team sonorCities, which has been funded by the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation for the project Learning Culture through City Soundscapes. He is co-editor of Ottoman Intimacies, Balkan Musical Realities (2013, Finnish Institute at Athens) and author of Music in the Islamic World: Sources, Perspectives, Practices (e-book, 2015, Hellenic Academic Libraries Link). In 2013 he was awarded an honorable mention Ömer Lütfi Barkan Award by the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association for his article Rethinking Orality in Turkish Classical Music: A Genealogy of Contemporary Musical Assemblages (MEJC 4, 2011). His current research project is entitled Intercommunal musical geographies of late Ottoman Istanbul, funded by the Hellenic Foundation of Research and Innovation.

Featured Projects: InterMusig

Aimee Genell

Department of History, University of West Georgia

Aimee Genell received her Ph.D. from Columbia University and is presently an Assistant Professor at the University of West Georgia. Her research focuses on the history of the late Ottoman Empire and its entanglements with Europe. She has written several articles on Ottoman legal history from a transnational perspective, including “The Well-defended Domains: Eurocentric International Law and the Making of the Ottoman Office of Legal Counsel” (Journal of Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association). Her manuscript, Empire by Law: The Ottoman Origins of the Mandate System in the Middle East (under contract, Columbia University Press), examines the Ottoman genealogy of the post-imperial political order in the Middle East. Her second project, “Empire under Occupation,” studies the fragmentation of imperial space, networks and institutions during the Armistice period (1918-1923). The project will result in two publications: a book on the end of the Ottoman Empire and a scholarly and public-facing interpretive website, with an Arc-GIS mapping tool that enables researchers to track people, ideas, demographic changes, and economic and labor networks throughout the imperial domains during the Armistice.

CV: Curriculum Vitae

Emily Neumeier

Department of Art History | Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University

Emily Neumeier (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania) is Assistant Professor of Art History at Temple University. She specializes in the visual and spatial cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean, with a focus on the Ottoman Empire. She is currently preparing a book manuscript that presents an alternative history of Ottoman architecture from the view of the provinces in Greece and Albania during the Age of Revolutions period. Neumeier has already published several articles examining Ottoman views of antiquity in Greece and nationalist discourses through art in venues like the International Journal of Islamic Architecture and History and Anthropology. She is also presently co-editing a volume about Hagia Sophia in the long 19th century, which explores the making of a modern monument by uncovering a range of local encounters with Hagia Sophia in the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic. Neumeier has training in digital humanities technologies, especially mapping and GIS, and extensively engages in public scholarship, serving, for example, as editor and frequent host of the Ottoman History Podcast.

CV: Curriculum Vitae

Research Collaborators

Murat Güvenç

Director, Istanbul Studies Center, Kadir Has University, Istanbul

Born in Ankara in 1953, Murat Güvenç graduated from College St. Joseph and the department of City and Regional Planning of Middle East Technical University (METU) in 1976. He received his Master’s degree in 1979 and his Ph.D in 1991 from the same school, He taught undergraduate and graduate courses on Urban Geography, Urban Sociology, Planning Theory, at METU. Professor Güvenç joined Istanbul Bilgi University in 2005 and transferred to Kadir Has University in 2014 to direct the Istanbul Studies Center (ISC). His academic interests concentrate on urban geography, urban history and data visualization. He was one of the curators of the Istanbul 1910-2010 exposition, sponsored by the Istanbul 2010 Cultural Capital of Europe program. He co-authored the The Development of Greater Istanbul Metropolitan Area, The Real Estate Bank of Turkey: 1926-1998 an institutional history, Electoral Atlas of Turkey: Continuities and Changes in Turkey’s Politics, 1950-2009, Tracing Istanbul, and was the editor of Old Istanbulites New Istanbulites (in Turkish). Since 2004 he received grants for and directed the following three TUBITAK Projects; ‘Social, Economic and Spatial Transformations in Istanbul:1908-1922’ (2004-5), ‘Migratory Flows and Migrant Profiles in Turkey’ (2010-13), and ‘Tracing the Emergence of Istanbul City Region’ (2017-20), The Istanbul Studies Center, (ISC), was a major participant to the Urban95 Project sponsored by the Bernard van Leer Foundation of Holland. The ISC constructed an interactive web site devised for improved urban governance and evidence based policy making. Realized with new pattern recognition and data visualization tools, the interactive web site, depicts the social economic and demographic characteristics and allows high resolution queries on the quality of municipal services of neighborhoods in three major metropolitan areas: Istanbul, Izmir and Gaziantep. Dr. Güvenc is a team Member in TUBITAK sponsored ‘Web-GIS based Protection Model for Historical Preservation for the city of Nicea’ as well as a Foreign Research Partner for the ANR-DFG sponsored IMAGEUN project: In the Mirror of the European Neighborhood: Mapping Macro-Regional Imaginations.

CV: Curriculum Vitae

Eva Achladi

Istanbul Research Coordinator

Evangelia Achladi is Librarian and Cultural Coordinator of the Cultural Center of Greece in Istanbul (Sismanogleio Megaro-General Consulate of Greece in Istanbul), a post she has held since 2012. Her research interests lie in Ottoman history of the 20th century (social and educational history of the Greek orthodox communities), karamanlidika literature, teaching as well as in language-contact issues and Asia Minor dialects. Some of her published studies are: “The Greek Press from 1784 until Today: historical and theoretical approaches”, (2005), “Smyrna: Forgotten City?”, (2006), “Encyclopaedia of the Greek press 1784-1974”, Institute of Modern Greek Studies (2008), “Young Turks and Ottoman Greeks in Smyrna. The Greek Boycott (1908-1911)”, Kebikeç (2008), “The language question in Smyrna in the first two decades of the 20th century”, Δελτίο της Καθ’Ημάς Ανατολής (2011), “The Karamanlidika periodical AKTIS (1913-1915)”, (2014), and Karamanlı Rum Ortodoks Bir Askerin Seferberlik Hatıraları, Çanakkale ve Doğu Cepheleri, 1915-1919, (2017).

Dimitris Kamouzis

Researcher at the Center for Asia Minor Studies

Dimitris Kamouzis is a Researcher at the Centre for Asia Minor Studies (Athens, Greece). He studied at the University of Cyprus and the University of Birmingham and completed his PhD in History at the Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, King’s College London. He has been a scholar of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, a Research Fellow of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens and a Teaching Fellow at King’s College London. He has participated in numerous conferences and has published several journal articles and book chapters. His latest book is entitled Greeks in Turkey: Elite Nationalism and Minority Politics in Late Ottoman and Early Republican Istanbul (Oxon & New York: SOAS/Routledge Studies on the Middle East, 2021). Research interests: Modern Greek History, Greek-Turkish Relations, Non-Muslim Minorities in the Ottoman Empire/Turkey, Oral History, Refugee Studies and the History of Humanitarianism.

Featured Projects: The Lausanne Project

Book: Greeks in Turkey: Elite Nationalism and Minority Politics in Late Ottoman and Early Republican Istanbul

Article: Out of Harm's Way? Structural Violence and the Greek Orthodox Community of Istanbul during World War I

Savvas Tsilenis

Kath'imas Anatoli

Tsilenis studied Architecture at Technical University of Istanbul (1969-1975), Regional Development (MSc) at Panteion University of Athens (1978-1979) and PhD holder at National Technical University of Athens (2009), in the Unit of Town and Physical Planning / Faculty of Architecture. His thesis “The architectural and urban development of Istanbul and the contribution of the Greek architects (1878-1908)” focused on urban history of the city in the neighborhoods where Greek-orthodox communities used to live. Since 1982, Tsilenis has worked as coordinator of research programs in the field of urban space in General Secretariat of Research and Technology under the Ministry of Development in Greece. He was also Head of Engineering Department (1985-2005), dealing with the design and construction of public research centers and the design of exhibition spaces, and was also the Head of Technical Division in the National Hellenic Research Foundation (EIE), and has been a collaborator at the Institute for Historical Research of the same foundation for 12 years (2006 - 2018). Now retired, he has published over of 60 articles about Istanbul’s architecture and urban history in journals and chapters of books. He is an editorial board member of the scientific journals: “Synhrona Themata/ Modern Issues” and “Deltio Eterias tis kath’ emas Anatolis/ Bulletin of the Society of the Greek Orthodox of Constantinople, Imvros and Tenedos”, both published in Greek.

Information Technology Support

Adam Anderson

University of California, Berkeley

Adam is an interdisciplinary data scientist, with a background in Middle Eastern languages (Hebrew, Arabic, and historical languages such as Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian). As an archaeologist, Adam has worked in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Turkey with archaeological excavations and museum programs. His technical skills include: translation and data forensics (3D imaging, mapping, modeling), computational linguistics (CTA, NLP, OCR), and network analysis (SNA). Adam's roles at UC Berkeley included: Research Training Manager of the Computational Social Science Training Program; Postdoc Lecturer in CDSS for Data Science, Digital Humanities, and Near Eastern Studies; Co-coordinator for Computational Text Analysis Working Group and Digital Humanities Working Group; and lastly a D-Lab consultant for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Social Network Analysis (SNA).

Research Interests:

Cultural Analytics / Digital Humanities, Geospatial Data, Maps & Spatial Analysis, Natural Language Processing, Computational Text Analysis, Optical Character Recognition, 3D imaging

Leo Zlimen

Full-Stack Software Engineer

Leo is an independent full-stack engineer, database architect, and IT project manager. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2021 with a BA in Arabic Language & Literature, Near Eastern Civilizations, and Late Modern European History.