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.

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

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.

I am very much interested in public scholarship and exhibition curation. I was an Associate 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 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.

Other Publications

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.

2018 “Caricaturizing ‘Cosmopolitan’ Pera: Play, Critique, and Absence in Yusuf Franko’s Caricatures, 1884-1896.” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies (peer-reviewed). Vol.5, N.1 (2018): 7-32.

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      “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.
2016      “Tarihçi Kechriotis’in Tarihini Yazmak: Bir Başlangıç, Bir Deneme.” Toplumsal Tarih 272 (August 2016): 54-56.
2011      “Children Playing History.” In Toy Exhibition, edited by Sennur Sentürk, 51-58. Istanbul: YKY, 2011.


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. The exhibition will travel to Beirut, Lebanon, in March 2020.

Upcoming Talks and Conferences

2019 “The Great Fire of Pera: An Experiment in Urban Environmental Microhistory.” 2nd International NEHT Workshop: Environmental Histories of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. Middle Eastern Technical University, Ankara, 6-7 September 2019. 2019.

2019 “Rivers and Orchards of Kasımpaşa: Exploring Pera’s Excremental Hinterland in Late Ottoman Istanbul.” The European Society for Environmental History Conference, Tallinn, 21-25 August 2019.


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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