I am an urban and environmental historian of late Ottoman Istanbul, and the Research Projects Manager at Istanbul Research Institute. I am also the Associate Editor of YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies.

I received my Ph.D. with distinction from the University of Washington in December 2018 with my doctoral dissertation, “Assembling ‘Cosmopolitan’ Pera: An Infrastructural History of Late Ottoman Istanbul.

I am highly involved in public scholarship and exhibition curation. I am the curator of the recently opened exhibition Hafıza-i Beşer: Osmanlı Yazmalarından Hikâyeler // Memories of Humankind: Stories from the Ottoman Manuscripts, at the Istanbul Research Institute (October 18, 2019 – December 2020).

I was the Co-Curator for The Characters of Yusuf Franko: An Ottoman Bureaucrat’s Caricatures exhibition, held at Koc University’s ANAMED from January to June, 2017. I authored the exhibition texts and I was the main curator behind http://www.yusuffranko.ku.edu.tr. The exhibition will travel to Beirut in 2020.

My doctoral research and writing were supported through fellowships and scholarships by International Journal for Urban and Regional Research Foundation, University of Washington’s Simpson Center, Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, University of Washington Hall-Ammerer-Washington Research Foundation, University of Washington Graduate School, and University of Washington Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations Department.

Between 2015-2017, I was the Head Librarian of Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Istanbul.

My work as the Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (ANAMED) Head Librarian involved in managing the library’s collection development, organizing library events, coordinating the library’s future plans with Koç University Library and ANAMED managements, and supporting both institutions by the library’s resources and services, as well as through my personal skills.

In my capacity as ANAMED Head Librarian, I also co-coordinated BiblioPera: Beyoğlu Research Centers Network from September 2015. Supported by Istanbul Development Agency, BiblioPera brings together 9 research centers located in Beyoğlu, Istanbul. The project was awarded the 1st Prize at Koç University’s Most Successful Employees Awards 2016.


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.

2018    “Caricaturizing ‘Cosmopolitan’ Pera: Play, Critique, and Absence in Yusuf Franko’s Caricatures, 1884–1896.” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies 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, forthcoming (commissioned article for the “emerging scholars in Ottoman Studies” special dossier, edited by Zeynep Çelik).


Book Chapters

2022    “Ölü Tarlalarının Üzerinde: Küçük Kabristan’dan Tepebaşı Bahçesi’ne On Dokuzuncu Yüzyılda Pera Doğasının İnşası.” [Over the Fields of the Dead: 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 [a Turkish translation is forthcoming in 2022 from İletişim].

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).

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

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

Book manuscript: Assembling Pera: An Environmental History of Late Ottoman Istanbul


“Pera’nın Atığı, Kasımpaşa’nın Salgını: On Dokuzuncu Yüzyılın İkinci Yarısında İstanbul’da Kolera Salgınları ve Çevre Adaleti”

“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.”

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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