Ömer Faruk İlgezdi

3rd-year Ph.D. student

I am a student of the social and intellectual history of pre-modern Islam with a focus on the Ottoman World roughly between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. I studied history as an undergraduate at Boğaziçi University (BA) and as a graduate student at Sabancı University (MA). After graduating from Boğaziçi as an aspiring Byzantinist, I ended up in the bewitching world of intellectual encounters of the Islamicate world. I recently completed my MA thesis titled “Imagining Rūm in Mamluk Cairo: ʿAbd al-Bāsiṭ al-Malaṭī and the Ottoman Domains” in which I have contextualized a late fifteenth-century Mamluk author’s observations about the scholarly connections, migration and patronage relations between Ottoman Rumelia and Mamluk Egypt. With their highly personalized content al-Malaṭī’s writings also took me to the concepts of the self in the early modern period.

My tentative doctoral project aims to understand the role of scholars affiliated with the Ottoman center in debates about Islamic revivalism (tajdīd) with a particular focus on the eighteenth century. In this period, the intellectual and cultural environment of Ottoman Istanbul was much more connected to South Asia than ever before. Therefore, I intend to study early modern Indo-Ottoman encounters and their relation to revivalism in the broader context. Searching for the Ottoman readers of the texts from various genres produced in South Asia and kept in the libraries of Istanbul, I would like to work on the Ottoman sultan Maḥmūd I’s (r. 1730–54) fascinating book collection and the collections of the other libraries built by the ruling elite.