Ahmet Baris Ekiz is a doctoral candidate in the Middle East Studies department. He is currently working on his dissertation on a body of commentarial scholarship by 16th-century Ottoman scholars written in the disciplines of rhetoric and law. His research revolves around a broad problem of methodology and discursive strategies in scholarly writings and addresses the repercussions of scholarly disputations on fashioning Ottoman Islam.


Name: Ahmet Barış Ekiz

Degree, Minor, Graduation Year: Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Middle East Studies 

Hometown(s): Istanbul, Türkiye


Tell us about you and your background:

I am a 6th-year doctoral student. I am currently writing my dissertation on Ottoman intellectual history. I obtained BA and MA degrees in Turcology in Turkish universities before coming to Michigan. 

Tell us about your summer; where and when did your fellowship take place?

I spent the last summer in Amman, Jordan as I participated in the summer intensive Arabic language course at the Qasid Institute.

How did the GISC 2022 Summer Fellowship help you?

I was previously awarded a grant from Rackham for language training, which had allowed me to cover tuition expenses for a year-long online and on-site training. Thanks to the GISC summer fellowship, I had the financial support that helped me to cover the costs associated with my travel to Jordan last summer.

What experiences during the summer inspired you?

As every researcher in Islamic studies could affirm, perusing classical Islamic sources might turn out to be an arduous task. Reading and translating these classical sources with experts and fellow grad students, getting the vocalization of complex paragraphs right, was an intellectually satisfying experience to an initiate like me.     

What did this fellowship allow you to do?

I was enrolled in classical Arabic track and this fellowship helped me to acquire a better understanding of the language of classical and modern Arabic.

How do you see this fellowship impacting your future?

The sources that I am working on are essentially written in classical Arabic. These sources will not only be the basis of my dissertation, they will also provide crucial data for my future research. Therefore, I will be building on the linguistic proficiency I achieved thanks to the GISC fellowship in future.

What drew you to the 2022 GISC Summer Fellowship and how was your experience?

Some fellow grad students in MES, who had been awarded with the GISC summer fellowships in the past years, made me aware of the opportunity. As one of the few summer funding opportunities for language training accessible to international students, I did not hesitate to apply.

What is your favorite thing that you learned during your summer?:

I study Arabic for academic purposes, therefore my focus is generally on reading and grammar. But this summer, I have had the opportunity to practice the language in social and educational contexts. Learning how to navigate social interactions with my available resources of classical written Arabic was a challenging but fun part of the trip.



Wondering how this can be you? All students currently enrolled at the University of Michigan in an undergraduate or graduate/professional degree program (master's or doctoral level) are eligible to apply for the GISC’s Fellowship Funding.

The GISC Fellowship Funding may be used for the following:

  • Language training - to offset costs of program fees for language learning.
  • Research support - to offset costs for an original project supporting Senior, Master’s, or Doctoral thesis completion.
  • Travel expenses (graduate students only) - associated with conducting original research or language training

For more information, visit our undergraduate funding or graduate funding pages.