Turkish, Ottoman Studies and Post-Ottoman Studies (TOPOS)

Turkish, Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Studies (TOPOS) at Berkeley is a broad and multi-disciplinary initiative which supports research, teaching, and programming bringing together a multitude of aspects of the Turkish/c, Ottoman and Post-Ottoman World, which spans the Middle East and Balkans, and touching on a range of areas from North and Sub Saharan Africa to Central Europe, the Caucasus, Central and South Asia and the Indian Ocean. Its mission is to encourage and support the study of the conflicts and interconnections in the broader region that was once under full or partial Ottoman sovereignty between the fourteenth and twentieth centuries, the special role of Turkish language and culture, and the resonance of the Ottoman past in those regions until today. We encourage an integrated approach, especially to the histories and cultures of the Balkans, central and eastern Anatolia, and  the Levant of this Ottoman and post-Ottoman world. We seek to understand historical, political and social processes beyond the nation-state paradigm and through the interconnections of diverse cultures and peoples, and highlight the continuities between the Ottoman and post-Ottoman eras. 

To these ends, we seek to advance individual, collaborative, and interdisciplinary scholarship through seminars, workshops, conferences, fellowships, digital projects and secondary educational programming; strengthen ties across departments within UC Berkeley; and develop academic partnerships with national and international educational and cultural institutions.

TOPOS at Berkeley connects several on-campus partners: the Center for Middle East Studies (CMES), the History Department, the Department of Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures (MELC), the Institute for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies which houses the Armenian Studies Program, and the Institute for European Studies which houses the Modern Greek/Hellenic Studies Program. The teaching of Ottoman and modern Turkish, and Arabic (insofar as Arabic language, Arab culture and history was implicated in the Ottoman world) languages, texts, and textual as well as literary cultures is anchored in the MELC Department. Armenian language and literature is taught in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Armenian history courses in the Department of History, Modern Greek language is taught in the Comparative Literature Department. Contemporary Turkish politics and culture are taught in the Sociology and Film/Media Studies Departments. And a range of courses on the history of the Eastern Mediterranean basin, including Greece and Turkey, and the Middle East and Balkans, are taught in the History Department. 


İstanΠόλις - (istanpolis.org) 

This is an ongoing project that connects TOPOS and the Program in Modern Greek and Hellenic Studies of IES - a digital humanities collaboratory focusing on Istanbul in the long nineteenth century, using Ottoman- and Greek-language sources to create granular reconstructions and visualizations of the migration, settlements, and occupational patterns of the Greek Orthodox communities there.

Ottoman/Post-Ottoman Studies Working Group

Conveners: Aliosha Bielenberg (Rhetoric) and Hilal Tümer (History)

Recent Events

-Lecture series , Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Crete (Greece) via Zoom (spring 2021)

-Panel event on Ethos Netflix series (spring 2021)

-Book talk for Christine Philliou’s Turkey: A Past Against History  (spring 2021)

-Yaşar Tolga Cora talk and seminar (spring 2023)

-Douglas Brookes seminar (spring 2023)

-Bedross der Matossian event (fall 2022)

-Yannis Hamilakis event (fall 2022)

-Pavlos Kavouras on the film Rebetiko (spring 2023)

Faculty Affiliates

Douglas Brookes (MELC)



Ussama Makdisi (HISTORY)

Maria Mavroudi (HISTORY)

Christine Philliou (HISTORY)

Rebekah Ramsay (HISTORY)

Cihan Tuğal (SOCIOLOGY)

Jason Vivrette (MELC)