Sabancı Üniversitesi


HIST Webinar: Henry Shapiro



“Eremia Chelebi K‘eōmurchean and the Foundation of the Western Armenian Intellectual Tradition in Ottoman Istanbul”


Dr. Henry Shapiro

(Van Leer Institute, Polonsky Academy for Advanced Study Jerusalem, and Faculty for Humanities, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)


Wednesday, February 3, 2021




Meeting ID: 773 595 7145

Abstract: Eremia Chelebi K‘eōmurchean was the first great Armenian intellectual of Ottoman Istanbul. He was also the first Armenian author to write major works on Ottoman history based on primary source research, and he was an avid translator of liturgical and historical texts from Classical Armenian into Armeno-Turkish. This talk will contextualize Eremia’s life and work by describing mass migrations from Eastern Anatolia to Western Anatolia, Istanbul, and Thrace that took place at the beginning of the seventeenth century, migrations in which Eremia’s father and grandparents participated. It will then proceed to describe how the transfer of the main sites of Armenian intellectual production from east to west led to demands for new forms of literature to meet the needs of Armenian migrants and their descendants in Istanbul and its environs in the course of the seventeenth century. 


Bio: Henry Shapiro specializes in the history of Armenians in the early modern Islamic world, particularly in the Ottoman Empire. His first book—tentatively entitled The Rise of the Western Armenian Diaspora in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire: From Refugee Crisis to Renaissance in the Seventeenth Century—is under contract with Edinburgh University Press’ Series on “Non-Muslim Contributions to Islamic Civilization.”  Shapiro completed his PhD in History at Princeton University (2018), his MA at Sabancı University (2011), an MDiv at Harvard Divinity School (2008), and his BA in Classics at Brown University (2005).  He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Polonsky Academy for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences of the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, and he also teaches courses on early modern Islamic history and the Classical Armenian language at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.