Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Behind the Scenes of Warfare: Ottoman-Mamluk Relations

A University of Texas at Dallas professor studying ties between two important groups in Medieval Islamic history will pursue her research in Turkey under a fellowship from Koc University's Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC).

Dr. Cihan Yuksel Muslu, assistant professor of arts and humanities, was awarded the full-time, nine-month fellowship to study Ottoman-Mamluk relations this fall.

"I am very excited, and have already begun planning my work," said Muslu. "It is such an honor to be awarded this fellowship, which is popular and prestigious in my field."

Muslu will devote full-time attention to writing and research of her topic, "Behind the Scenes of Warfare: Ottoman-Mamluk Relations," which was the subject of her doctoral dissertation.

The Mamluks were slave soldiers who converted to Islam and served the Muslim caliphs and the Ayyubid sultans from the 9th to the 16th centuries.

Muslu will present her work-in-progress in the form of an in-house talk during fall 2009, and participate in one of the public mini-symposia in the spring 2010 semester.

The fellowship consists of travel and relocation reimbursements, a research budget and partial living expenses for Muslu and her family, as well as a monthly stipend. Travel expenses for the presentation of papers at academic conferences during the period of Muslu's appointment are also covered.

"We'll miss Cihan's exemplary devotion to teaching, but we are fully confident that she will return to UT Dallas with a new wealth of knowledge to share with her students," said Dennis Kratz, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities.

Muslu wholeheartedly agrees that the experience will enhance her teaching.

"I am a strong believer that teaching and research are closely connected," said Muslu. "As I grow intellectually, thanks in part to this fellowship, I will become a better historian and hence a better teacher.

"The vibrant intellectual environment in the RCAC will contribute to this process. I will be surrounded by experts who are specializing in diverse aspects and periods of Anatolian/Middle Eastern studies, from history to archeology and art history. This interactive and interdisciplinary atmosphere will definitely enhance my understanding of and my teaching on the region."

Muslu's fellowship begins in mid-September. RCAC is located in the center of Beyoglu, a neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey. Founded in 1993, Koc University is a private university in Turkey with a strong emphasis on research.