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Amed Gökcen

PhD candidate

A. Gökcen
+31 71 527 2171

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More information about Amed Gökcen

PhD research

The Ottoman State and the Ezidis: A Comparative Approach
Supervisor: prof. dr. E.J. Zürcher

The main aim of my project is to show how the Ottoman state’s efforts for centralization, which relied on taxation, Islamization and military recruitment, created problems for Ezidis. Ezidis resisted military recruitment throughout the history of the Ottoman Empire; as a result, identifying and defining Ezidis always posed problems for Ottoman bureaucracy. The post-1826 Ottoman bureaucracy presents almost every incident concerning Ezidis as a military one, and so the problems the Ezidis faced as a result of the state’s centralization efforts become visible only through examination of military service records. However, military documents cannot be considered without focusing on Empire’s goals of Islamic conversion and tax collection therefore I will also take into account how changes in the political and administrative agenda of the Ottoman state radically altered how it identified Ezidis in the years between 1826 and 1909. In order to analyze this complex issue, I will use a comparative approach to the relations between the Ottoman state and Ezidis.

My research will be based on the documents from the Ottoman Archives in Istanbul and the documents from the British National Archive but since the state archives are not enough to get an accurate and reliable representation Ezidi culture and religion, will depend, as a third source, on the oral history that I have been gathering in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Georgia, Armenia and Germany since 2004. Through a close examination of the relationship between Ezidis and the Ottoman state, I intend to contribute to the understanding of the Ottoman state’s stance toward non-Turkish, non-Muslim ethnic and religious communities in its last era.

Curriculum Vitae


2016-Present, PhD in Institute for Area Studies (LIAS), Leiden University, Nederland.
2009-2013,     MA in Cultural Studies, Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey.
2004-2009,    BA in History, Istanbul Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey.

Academic Experience

2015–Present, Full-time Researcher Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey.
2014–Present, part-time Lecturer Istanbul Bilgi University, Department of Sociology, Turkey.

Publications (Books)

  • Kadim Bir Nefes: Ezidi Ağıtları (Kitap + 7 CD), (A Ancient Breath: Ezidi Requiems [Book + 7 CD]), Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2015.
  • Ezidiler: Kara Kitap Kara Talih, (Ezidis: Black Book, Black Fortune), Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2014 (trans. by Istanbul Bilgi University Press into English and Kurdish).
  • Osmanlı ve İngiliz Arşiv Belgelerinde Ezidiler (Ezidis in the English and Ottoman Archive), Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2012.
  • (Y)Ezidiler, ((Y)Ezidis), (CD-Book) Kalan Music, 2009 (published in English, Turkish, and Kurdish)

Translation: Philiph Kreyenbroek, Ezidilik ve Arka Planı –Dinî âdetleri ve Metinsel Geleneği—, (Yezidism-Its Background, Observances and Textual Tradition, Texts and Studies in Religion-1995), (in cooperation with Damla Tanla), Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2014.

Foreword and Transcription: Ayandan Mustafa Nuri, Abede-i Iblis (Abede-i Iblis-1328), transcription from Ottoman to Turkish, Istanbul Bilgi University Press, 2013.

Refereed Publications

  • “Fieldwork among the Ezidis/Yezidis of Viranşehir” (in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Esra Danacioglu Tamur), Archaeology, Anthropology and Heritage in the Balkans and Anatolia: The Life and Times of F.W. Hasluck 1878-1920, 2013, vol.3, 87-105.
  • “Notes from the Field: Yezidism: A New Voice and an Evolving Culture in Every Setting.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, vol.37, 2010, 404-427.

Selected Conference Presentations

  • 1 April 2016, “The Comparative History of the Ezidis: A Rethinking Minorities”, Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, France.
  • 6 November 2015, “Kadim Bir Nefes: Ezidi Ağıtları” (An Ancient Breath: Ezidi Requiems), Mimar Sinan University, Turkey.
  • 15 November 2014, “Ezidiler: Kara Kitap Kara Talih” (Ezidis: Black Book, Black Fortune), TUYAP Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 18 May 2013, “Yezidiler” (Yezidis), TUYAP Diyarbakır, Turkey.
  • 19 November 2012, “Yezidiler” (Yezidis), TUYAP Istanbul, Turkey.
  • 12 February 2012, “Yezidiler” (Yezidis), Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey.
  • 20 March 2010, “Öteki Kürtler: Sömürge Irak'ında Ezidiler” (Other Kurds: Yezidis in Colonial Iraq), Bogazici University, Turkey.
  • 28 October 2009, “Yezidism and Its Background”, Sabanci University, Turkey
  • 17 April 2008, “Tarih Yazımı ve Sözlü Tarih Teorisi” (Historiography and Theory of Oral History), in The Congress of History Students, Middle East Technical University, Turkey.
  • 07 March 2008, “Transformations of Ezidi Communities in Turkey during the 20th century: The Viransehir Case” (in cooperation with Prof. Dr Esra Danacioglu Tamur), In the Heterodox Islam: An Afternoon on the Yezidis, University of Bristol, UK.
  • 18 April 2007, “Kürt Tarih Tezinde Milliyetçi Reflekler” (Nationalist Reflections on the Kurdish History Thesis), in the Congress of History Students, Middle East Technical University, Turkey.
  • 12-15 April 2007, “Field Work among Viranshehir Ezidis”, in Yezidism in Transition; Communities At Home And In The Diaspora, Workshop Frobenius-Institut, JW Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
  • 06-09 May 2006, “Ezidis of Viransehir”, (in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Esra Danacioglu Tamur), in the Archeology, Anthropology and Heritage in the Balkans and Anatolia; The Life and Times of F.W. Hasluck – 2th International Conference, University of Wales, UK.
  • 04 April 2005, “Yezidiler” (Yezidis), Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey.
  • 17 March 2004, “Yezidiler’de Tarih Bilinci” (Historical Consciousness of the Yezidis), Bogazici University, Turkey.

Academic Grants, Fellowships and Current Research Projects

2016-Present, Istanbul Bilgi University Research Fund, “Comparative History of Assyrian Communities in Turkey”, present and planned fieldwork in Turkey (Mardin, Hatay, Adiyaman, Gaziantep); and archival research in the Ottoman Archives, Deyrulzafaran Monastery Library in Turkey.

PhD candidate

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies
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