Cem Türköz

Cem Türköz

Graduate Student in Islamic Intellectual History, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University
  • Region: Eastern Mediterranean; Europe; Middle East
  • Time: 16th Century; 17th Century; 18th Century
  • Theme: History of Science; Intellectual History; Philosophy

    I am a second-year PhD student in Islamic Intellectual History at Harvard’s Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. I hold a dual BA degree in Philosophy and History of Mathematics and Science from St. John’s College of Annapolis, MD and an MA degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. My research interests include: the intellectual history of the Arabic-Islamic world; the history of Arabic philosophy; the history of Arabic natural philosophy in the period 1500-1800; and the history of Graeco-Arabic and Latin-Arabic translations of philosophical and scientific works in the period 1500-1800.

    My doctoral research explores early modern discussions of natural philosophy in the Ottoman Empire. I am interested in questions such as the following: What was natural philosophy (ʿilm ṭabīʿī or ṭabīʿiyyāt) for the Ottoman scholarly elite in the period 1500-1800? Are there signs of historical continuity with the natural philosophy of Avicenna (d. 1037) and his later commentators in the natural philosophical works from the period? On what bases can we frame the Avicennism of Ottoman scholars writing about nature in this period as Arabic-Islamic as opposed to Latin? To what extent were the contributors to the Ottoman tradition of natural philosophy aware of scientific developments in Western Europe? Who in the Empire could legitimately speak about nature? What was the institutional framework in which natural philosophy had been pursued? To what extent was the discipline part of the Ottoman madrasa curriculum? How did natural philosophy relate to other disciplines such as law and rational theology, on the one hand, and medicine and astronomy on the other?

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