Assistant Professor

On Leave 2016-2017

363 Cohen


Ph.D. University of California - San Diego
M.A. Sabanci University, Istanbul
B.A. St. John's College

My work explores science during one of the most tumultuous periods in Ottoman history. I focus especially on the role of scientific knowledge in the emergence of the early modern Ottoman state. My primary inspirations are the materialist historiography of science and the emerging global history of early modern science. I am something of a generalist, as I work across many different sources and registers, from the Ottoman medical marketplace to minting practices and, from natural philosophy to gunpowder recipes. I am currently completing a monograph with the tentative title, Early Modern Ottoman Science, 1650-1750: Commerce, State-Building and the Question of Enlightenment. The questions I ask are how the content and scope of science were transformed over the long seventeenth century and how natural knowledge became a secular, independent and practical domain. I also investigate the role of religion -- puritanism, conversion, heterodoxy and the relations between different religious communities - in scientific ideas and practices. 

Upcoming Talks: 

"Modern Latins and Franks: A Preliminary Census of European Physicians in Ottoman Texts" -- Medicine, Environment and Health in the Eastern Mediterranean World, 1400-1750, Christ's College, Cambridge University. April 3-4, 2017.

"Ali Munshi (d.1750) and American Exotica" -- Consuming the Exotic, Cambridge University. April 5-6, 2017.

"Copernicus for Tax Collectors? Practical Astronomy and Statecraft in the Late Seventeenth Century" -- Ilm wa Amal: Acting Bodies-Conceiving Space in Medieval and Early Modern Islamicate Sciences, Stanford University. April 14-15, 2017.

Research Interests

Science and Translation
Historiography of Non-Western Science
Cultural history of early modern science and technology
Science and philosophy in the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world
Science Studies
Science and religion
Global history

Selected Work

"New Medicine and the Hikmet-i Tabi'iyye Problematic in Eighteenth Century Istanbul," in Tzvi Langermann and Robert Morrison, eds. Texts in Transit in the Medieval Mediterranean. University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 2016; pp. 222-242.

“Natural Philosophy and Politics in the Eighteenth Century: Esad of Ioannina and Greek Aristotelianism at the Ottoman Court,” Journal of Ottoman Studies 41 (2013): 125-159.

 “Islam, Christianity and the Conflict Thesis,” in Geoffrey Cantor, Thomas Dixon and Stephen Pumfrey, eds. Science and Religion: New Historical Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp. 111-130.

Teaching Fields

History of Early Modern Science
Science and Religion
The Enlightenment
Science Studies 

Courses Taught

STSC 328 What Is Prediction?
HSSC 504 Early Modern Science
STSC 208 Science and Religion
STSC 001/HSOC 001 Emergence of Modern Science

Faculty Bookshelf