An invitation to participate in a group research project

We are expanding our body of knowledge through various activities, including videoing personal testimonies, rediscovering and documenting the locations of historical buildings and communities and tracing family connections. We plan to hold more conferences in the Levant, collaborating with local academic and other institutions that share our interest in discovering the region’s past. We welcome your proposals for research papers, informal contributions, events, interviews and any other suggestions that add to our network of information and contacts.

We sponsor researchers either individually or working on teams to gather, analyse and present the information to ensure the survival of artifacts, knowledge and elements of the culture for future generations.

Levantine Heritage is open to new ideas of research, presentation of findings and possible publications in the future. We would welcome new contacts and leads to widen our appeal and research remit. We also bring researchers together, either in meetings, or in the virtual world of e-mails and social media, helping cross-pollination of ideas and inspiration for future studies and collaborations.

We publicise a newsletter once every 3 months to highlight past and ongoing research and the findings, and allow for discussion to take place on the viability and efficiency of future projects. We thank all who have contributed in their own way in the past, allowing us to develop thus far.

Researchers for the LHF past and present

Frank Castiglione

Frank Castiglione is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has completed two Master of Arts Degrees, the first at Leiden University in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Languages and Cultures, and the second at McMaster University in Globalization and the Human Condition. His research focuses on the social and political history of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century. He is currently completing his dissertation, which explores the activities of the Pisani family of dragomans employed by the British Embassy in Istanbul and their roles as intermediaries between the British and the Ottomans. The study engages with debates about concepts of imperial space, imperial subjecthood, and cross-cultural brokerage between empires in transregional perspective. Some of his dissertation research has been published in an article “‘Levantine’ Dragomans in Nineteenth Century Istanbul: The Pisanis, the British, and Issues of Subjecthood” Journal of Ottoman Studies XLIV (2014), 169-195. An interview outlining his research and following up on his participation at the Levantines: Commerce and Diplomacy Conference in Istanbul (2014) can be found here.

Edward-Charlton Jones

Edward Charlton-Jones read History with Russian at Oxford. He spent a year working with the UNHCR on refugee and IDP-related issues in Tbilisi, studying in Bishkek and travelling through Central Asia before completing a master’s degree at Harvard, in which he focused on Russian and Turkish modern history, politics and languages. He is currently qualifying to work as a lawyer with Allen & Overy, London and intends to practice law and pursue his research and writing interests in Istanbul.

He is particularly interested in the late 19th and early 20th century history of the Russian Empire and the Middle East, and particularly the way shifting political borders, volatile nationalist movements and international legal systems defined and redefined geopolitical marchlands in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Levant and the Caucasus. His thesis at Oxford was on the early history of the UNHCR’s work with refugees in postwar Europe, and his thesis at Harvard was on the White Russian refugees who fled the Bolshevik regime and Russian Civil War from 1917 onwards and made their way to Constantinople. For a brief summary of this latter topic, please follow this link to a talk delivered to the Levantine Heritage Foundation in July 2015.

Edward is currently based in London and would welcome any enquiries regarding his work. He would also love to hear from any people who may have personal connections with the White Russian diaspora and/or Ottoman-era Turkey, or source material (photographs, old letters etc) relating to his academic interests. Please feel free to contact him directly.

Görkem Daşkan

Görkem Daşkan was born in Izmir. He studied Business Administration and European Studies. He has worked several jobs including waiter, sales representative and shop manager. His Turkish translation of Alex Dingwall-Main’s “The Angel Tree” came out in 2007. He has been writing book reviews, interviews and research articles for Levantine Heritage since November 2010. He made translations for two documentary films: “God Is Not Dead/Punk Islam” (2011) and “Hello Anatolia” (2012). He is interested in film, music, history and politics. Daşkan was a participant in the ‘International Symposium on Alsancak: Past, Present and Future of a District of Friendship between Communities and Religions’ - Izmir Meetings of Archaeology and Cultural History no: 1, November 28, 2012 - programme:
Latest example of his research article:

Ümit Eser

After completing high school education in Izmir, he studied History and International Relations/ European Studies at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara. In 2009, he earned an M.A. degree from the History Department at Sabancı University where he worked as a teaching assistant at the same time. Currently, Mr. Eser is a candidate for a doctorate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is completing his dissertation entitled: ‘All Loud on the Western Front: Ethnic Violence, Occupation, and the Ottoman Bureaucrats in Aydın Province (Vilâyet), 1919-1922’. His research interests include identities in the Balkan Peninsula and Turkey; nation-building and minorities; and history of the Eastern Orthodox Churches in the Late Ottoman and Early Republican periods.

He contributed to the ‘Former Smyrna Churches Listing’ in the Levantine Heritage Website through adding some documents from the Ottoman Archives of the Prime Ministry in Istanbul in 2010. Apart from this little contribution, he wrote an article in Turkish for Balıkesir Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi: “Millet Sisteminin Tarihi Arka Planı: Gayrimüslim Cemaatler için Özerk bir Alan” (Background of the Millet System: An Autonomous Realm for non-Muslim Communities) in the same year. In 2015, “A Versatile Text for the Propagation of Nationalism: Under the Yoke (Pod Igoto) by Ivan Vazov” was published in Balkan Nationalism(s) and the Ottoman Empire, a collective volume edited by Dimitris Stamatopoulos. He also prepared a manuscript, “Catholic Orders among the Local Christians: The Mission Bulgare and the Catholic Schools in Adrianople Province, 1860-1885”, for the post-conference publication project of the Istanbul Conference.

Emel Kayın

Architect and author. She has spent half of her life in Gaziantep and half in Izmir. Having studied architecture and restoration (architectural conservation), she is the writer of a number of stories, poetry, essays, research papers and documentary scripts. Among her publications are “İzmir Oteller Tarihi” (A History of Izmir Hotels), a research book that delves into the emergence of hotels in the city as a concept of modernity, “Mekân Hikayeleri” (Site Stories, published 2008, reprinted April 2013), a story book of experimental and imaginary short stories in which the time, cities, houses and human beings are interpreted as sites themselves, and “Kentin Kıyısında ve İçinde Olmak: İnciraltı” (Existing in and on the Coast of the City: İnciraltı), a memoir-essay book. Kayın is also the project designer, editor and one of the participating authors of the books “Kentinsan” (Citysapiens), a collection of prose poetry of 30 author-poets on urban problems and “İzmir’in Artalanındaki Kentlerde Mimarlık” (Architecture in the Hinterland Cities of Izmir), a collection of articles by 8 researchers that look into the disregard of architecture in the peripheral cities in question. Her literary and research work featured also in the following books: “Kadın Öykülerinde İzmir” (Izmir in Women’s Stories), “Savur Saçlarını Ege” (Throw Your Hair, Aegean) (story books); “Güneşi Öpmek” (Kissing the Sun) (poetry); “Calvino’yu Niçin Okumalı” (Why We Should Read Calvino), “Hızın ve Devrimin Sanatı Fütürizm” (Futurism: the Art of Speed and Revolution), “Tanıklıklarla 12 Eylül” (September 12 Testimonies), “12 Eylül Sabahı” (The Morning of September 12), “Kadına Dair” (About Women) (essay-memoir books); “Mimarlığın Çevresinde Mekânın İçinde Kuram, Eylem ve Söylem” (Theory, Practice and Discourse within Space and in the Scope of Architecture), “Değişen İzmir’i Anlamak” (Understanding the Changing Izmir), “Türkiye’de Mimarlık 2009” (Architecture in Turkey 2009), “İzmir Mimarlık Rehberi” (Izmir Architecture Guide) (research books). Kayın has written documentary scripts for the TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) for ten years. Having contributed to various group photography exhibitions, she is the curator of and copywriter in 6 different architecture magazines each problematizing the circular adventure of historic-contemporary architecture. Her architectural designs for prospective constructions in historical areas, and restorations as well, came to be implemented. Kayın keeps searching for a modern-plain reality and new ways of expression in the fields of architecture, literature and photography, all of which she has deep connections with. Being also an academic, she takes care to work for the NGOs specialised in the subjects of urbanity, architecture, conservation, literature, photography and women’s rights. She strives to focus, in her academic/artistic/social work, mainly on the idea of the realisation of anything alternative/sustainable/fair in our lives and the making of an innovative-transformative yet sincere way of living. Most recently Kayın was a participant in the ‘Yaşamak, inşa etmek, korumak: Şehirlerin sorunları’ [To live, to construct, to preserve: City’s problems] - Symposium organised by the French Cultural Centre - 12-13-14 November 2012, Izmir Chamber of Commerce Hall, Izmir - programme:
Latest example of her research article:

Vjeran Kursar

Vjeran Kursar was born in 1975 in Zagreb, Croatia. He graduated with the double major in History and Turkish Studies from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (2003). He got his MA in Ottoman History from Bilkent University, Ankara (2007). In 2011 he graduated with the Ph.D. thesis entitled “Non-Muslims and the functioning of a premodern multi-confessional society in Ottoman Bosnia (1463 – ca. 1750)” from the Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. He is working as the assistant professor at the Department of Turkish, Hungarian and Jewish Studies and the Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. He teaches classes on Ottoman history. His main fields of interest are Early Modern History of the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans, Social, Legal and Cultural History, Islamic Law, and Ethnic and Confessional Relations in the Balkans. He is a member of Croatian National Committee for Historical Sciences (HNOPZ), International Committee for Pre-Ottoman and Ottoman Studies (CIÉPO), and a member of the Executive Committee of International Association of Social and Economic History of the Ottoman Empire (IAOSEH). He was script writer and scientific advisor in several documentary films produced by Croatian Television, including “Croats on the Bosphorus” (script writer with Vesna Miović), and “Zelić – Printers to the Empire” (script writer) - further info.
Recent articles:
interview:

Graham Lee

Graham Lee was born and raised in the Liverpool scene of the 1950-1960s and subsequently worked for advertising and film companies in London before settling in the town of Çanakkale in the 1980s. He has published 3 books: A Handy Guide to Çanakkale, Gallipoli and the Dardanelles (1999), Old Çanakkale Postcards & Photographers / Dönem Dönem Eski Çanakkale Kartpostalları ve Fotoğrafçıları (2003), and The Story of Turkish Surnames (2006). He has also written articles in English and Turkish under different names on various aspects of Çanakkale from Ottoman to modern times in between lecturing at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University and guiding tourists to Troy and Gallipoli. Ongoing projects include photographs, engravings, consuls, and European families of the Dardanelles region as well as Levantine communities of Edirne. Other interests relate to linguistics, etymology, onomastics and film-making. He is currently preparing a visual history of the clock tower in Çanakkale and an outline of the Calvert family.
Latest example of his research: The listing of the Consuls of Çanakkale (v.4)
The listing of the Consuls of Gallipoli (v.4)

Rinaldo Marmara

Born in Istanbul, to an old Genoese family established in the East, Rinaldo Marmara did his apprenticeship in this crossroads of civilizations where tolerance and multilingualism are innate. Marmara is a graduate of economics and he started in the business world as an exporter and manufacturer. A few years after his marriage, he moved to France and dedicated himself to researching the Latinity in the East. This Levantine focused his interest on his birthplace and the history of its inhabitants. In the University of Paul Valéry of Montpellier (France), the subject of his DEA (Master) concerned the Turkish-Ottoman loans in the general Greek community of the Levant; and his doctoral thesis was on the History and Civilization of the birth, rise and fall of the Latin community of Constantinople.

Author of a hundred articles in professional journals, the number of his published books is now over thirty. Currently he is researching the history of Smyrna. He is presently a professor at the Istanbul Aydın University, where he teaches the history of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Turkey, with his point of reference being the Vatican Secret Archives. He is decorated by the Holy See and was made a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great. The Republic of Poland awarded him the Bene Merito decoration. Spokesperson and cultural attaché of the Episcopal Conference of Turkey, Rinaldo Marmara continues his research and writings on the Latin Community in Turkey.

Ali Özkan

Ali Özkan was born in Tire in 1988, graduated from the Dokuz Eylül University Classical Archeaology faculty in 2010. In the same year at the same university he started his masters in this discipline. During this study he worked in the excavations of the classical sites of Phokia and Old Smyrna. Between 2010 and 2011he worked participated in the Selçuk city memory organised by the Izmir – Selçuk Municipalities. He also participated in the digs organised by the Gazi University in Ovaören in the Capadocia region. Starting from his high-school days Mr Özkan has been interested in Anatolian city planning and its interaction with their communities and in this discipline applying this analysis to the cities of the region in Ottoman and ancient times. In this speciality he has conducted studies on Tire and Izmir. He is currently working on his Master thesis entitled: ‘Karaz - Erken Transkafkasya Keramiğinin Kökeni Gelişimi ve Yayılımı’ [Karaz - The origin, development and spread of early trans-Caucasian pottery].
Latest example of his research article:

Group meetings

The first meeting in Izmir - 3 August 2010, hosted in the garden of Peter Papi: (clockwise from left end of the table): Peter Papi, John Papi, Marina Corsini, Melisa Urgandokur, Eda Kacar, Fabio Tito, Rodney Simes, Alex Baltazzi, Ebru Öztürk, Antonio Tito, Andrew Simes, Diana Vitel, Ingrid Braggiotti.

Meeting in Izmir - 27 January 2012: (clockwise from left end of the table): Funda Adıtatar, Görkem Daşkan, Tolga Kağan Önder, Emel Kayın, Barbaros Uçar, Ingrid Braggiotti, (sitting set back, Başak Sarigöllü, Virna Mulino), İnci Kuyulu Ersoy, Andrew Simes, Peter Papi, Cinzia Braggiotti, Anne Marie Russo Erem, Fabio Tito, Linda Tito, Tony Magnifico, Rodney Simes, Yaşar Ürük, İlhan Pınar - and Eda Kaçar, taking the photo. Not seen in the photo but also at this meeting were: Marina Corsini, Roland Richichi and Pelin Böke.

Meeting in Istanbul - 9 April 2015: From left: Rinaldo Marmara, Selva Suman, Zeynep Cebeci Süvari, Mafalda di Napoli, Fortunato Maresia, Armanda Gina Campaner, Giovanni Manzini, Paolina Maresia, Livio Manzini (back), Marek Pusiç (kneeling), Craig Encer, Jonathan Beard, Ceyden Casaretto, -, Fabio Casaretto, André Zakari (not in photo: Patricia Gazze)

Meeting in Izmir - 20 April 2015: From left: Noel Micaleff, Peter Papi, Craig Encer, Cinzia Braggiotti, Anne Marie Russo Erem, Leslie Andrew Micaleff, Frederick de Cramer, Rodney Simes, John Papi, Andrew Simes (not in photo Alex Baltazzi).

Family Reunion of the descendants of the Whittall family of Turkey, Hammersmith Town Hall, London, 19 September 2015, organised by Betty McKernan and attended by family members from 12 different countries around the world. A welcome address by John Whittall, a historical context address by David Whittall - read the text.

Courtesy of Nancy Stevenson, descendant of the one-time chaplain Rev. John Theodore Wolters (1805-1882), the return of 3 engravings depicting the Buca Anglican ‘All Saints’ Church, drawn 1870-71 just before and after the completion of the final stage of this church established in 1865 (its history goes back earlier to the 1820s but was then a small converted house), 10 Nov 2015, photographed in front of this church now serving a Baptist congregation - from left: Alan Prior, Craig Encer, Padre Ertan Çevik, Willie Buttigieg - view the engravings.

Meeting in Izmir - 23 May 2016: From left: Kalliopi Amygdalou, Rodney Simes, Noel Micaleff, Maria Elisa Sponza, Tecla Aperio, Jean Ozmirza, Peter Papi, John Papi, Görkem Daşkan, Craig Encer, Mert Saraçoğlu (lawyer), Mario Giovanni Sponza, Anne Marie Russo Erem. The formal establishment of the Izmir Levantine Association.

Gathering of members of the LHF-Istanbul sub-group, 5 June 2016, at the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Esprit, to meet up with Padre Nicola Masedu and a tour and information on the ongoing restoration work within the building and furniture overseen by Mario Antonio Ebcim.
Left to right: Luis Miguel Selvelli, Fabrizio Casaretto, Selva Suman, Craig Encer, Nuri Çolakoğlu, Mario Antonio Ebcim.