It is our great pleasure to announce that Professor Gottfried Hagen has agreed to serve as the interim director of the center, as Professor Tanielian is on sabbatical leave to work on her second monograph. Professor Hagen has been a long-standing member of the Armenian studies community at the University of Michigan and has instructed many CAS students in both language and history. Professor Hagen received his PhD in Turkish from the Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. At Michigan, he teaches a broad range of courses on Turkish, Ottoman, and Islamicate culture, history, and literature, Ottoman language and heritage, and food as culture. In his research, he asks how Ottoman culture constructed the globe and the universe, space, time, self, and others, and explores the societal implications and relevance through questions of patronage on one hand, and strategies of meaning-making on the other. A related line of inquiry has led him to the study of Ottoman Islam, with a particular focus on the narrative representation of the Prophet Muhammad. These questions have resulted in a wide range of publications on geographical literature, maps and mapmaking, historiography, hagiography, and political thinking. His monograph on the Ottoman polymath Kātib Çelebi appeared in 2003: Ein osmanischer Geograph bei der Arbeit. Entstehung und Gedankenwelt von Kātib Čelebis Ǧihānnnümā (Turkish translation 2017), in which he analyzed Kātib Çelebi’s cosmography as a pivotal moment in Ottoman intellectual history, showing how Kātib Çelebi summed up the geographical heritage of the Middle East and integrated it with the new representations of the world in Dutch and Italian atlases. It is a monumental testimony to a turning point in the Ottoman culture of knowledge and reading, with a distinct empirical, almost secular, and utilitarian bend. An English translation that Gottfried edited together with Robert Dankoff was published in 2021: An Ottoman Cosmography. Translation of Cihānnümā (Leiden and Boston: Brill), the largest translation of an Ottoman text into English to date.

Gottfried’s recent work on Ottoman geography includes chapters in The History of Cartography, Volume 4: Cartography in the European Enlightenment, ed. Matthew Edney and Mary Sponberg Pedley, University of Chicago Press, 2020, and The Routledge Handbook of Science in Islamicate Societies, ed. by Sonja Brentjes, forthcoming in 2022. A chapter on the historiographical works of Kātib Çelebi will be part of Bloomsbury History: Theory & Method (forthcoming in 2022).

Gottfried’s second research focus studies Ottoman Islam through the veneration of the Prophet Muḥammad. His most recent publication on this topic is “Pietas Ottomanica: The House of ʿOsm̱ān and the Prophet Muḥammad,” in Stefan Reichmuth et al. (ed.), The Presence of the Prophet in Early Modern and Contemporary Islam. Volume 2: Heirs of the Prophet: Authority and Power, 21-43. Leiden: Brill, 2021. Several more studies, focusing on the political and linguistic ramifications of this specific form of Ottoman religiosity are in preparation.

Gottfried has served as associate director (2004-2006) and director (2007-2012) of the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, as co-director of the Islamic Studies Program, and as interim chair (2014-2015) and chair (2015-2020) of the Department of Middle East Studies.

Gottfried writes, “I am looking forward to working with the Armenian studies community. Historians have learned to eschew neat categorization and compartmentalization, and to celebrate “entangled histories.” I have a hard time imagining more entangled and intertwined histories than those of the Armenians and Ottomans, producing a body of research that has been dynamic and innovative. It has been exciting and deeply gratifying to see how many CAS students and CAS fellows over the years have contributed to this development.”

“Ottoman history is amazingly rich and complex, and it has become virtually impossible to cover all of its dimensions, periods, and linguistic requirements. I came to Ottoman history by way of Islamic Studies, so I had to learn Arabic and Persian in addition to Turkish (modern and Ottoman), which I use daily in my research on intellectual production, but I have not been in a position to work with Greek, Slavic, or Armenian sources in my own research. However, as highlighted above, I have been advising several students in Armenian studies, and as chair of MES have been closely collaborating with CAS regarding the Marie Manoogian Chair and the challenges of Armenian language instruction at U-M. As the interim CAS director, I look forward to continue working with our constituents to keep Armenian Studies at U-M an exciting and engaging endeavor.”