A. Tunç Şen

A. Tunç Şen

Research Interest


Ph.D. – University of Chicago, 2016
M.A. – University of Chicago, 2010
M.A. – Sabancı University, 2008
B.A. – Sabancı University, 2006

Interests and Research

Tunç Şen is a historian of the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, whose research revolves around questions about the history of science and divination, history of mentalities and time, history of books/manuscripts and their readers, and social history of scholarship and education. His first book project based upon his award-winning dissertation and tentatively titled “The Masters of Time: Astrologers and Scientific Expertise at the Early Modern Ottoman Court”examines the role and scientific authority of stargazers in measuring, displaying, and interpreting time, ranging from chronological dating to the designation of precise auspicious moments.

Şen is a member of an international research project Geographies and Histories of the Ottoman Supernatural Tradition: Exploring Magic, the Marvelous, and the Strange in Ottoman Mentalities led by Dr. Marinos Sariyannis and funded by the European Research Council. He is also co-chairing the Columbia University Ottoman and Turkish Studies Seminars and sitting on the advisory board for the Manuscripts of the Muslim World project. For more frequent updates about his scholarly activities, see here.

Prior to joining Columbia University, he taught courses on Ottoman history/ paleography and Modern Middle East history at Leiden University during the academic year 2016-2017.


  • The Ottoman Empire (Global Core survey)
  • Contemporary Civilization I-II
  • Manuscripts of the Muslim World
  • Topics in Ottoman History, 1300-1700
  • Margins of Historiography: Ottoman-Turkish Tradition (co-taught with Prof. Zeynep Çelik)



  • CIEPO (Comité International des Études pré-Ottomanes et Ottomanes): Best Original Article in the field of pre-Ottoman and/or Ottoman studies written by a young scholar (2018).
  • MEM (Middle East Medievalists) Inaugural Best Dissertation Prize (2018).


Grants & Fellowships

  • Hettleman Junior Faculty Summer Research Grant (2020).
  • Lenfest Junior Faculty Development Grant (2019).
  • Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Humanities, McGill University (2016-2018) (Declined).
  • Provost’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship, University of Chicago (2015-2016).
  • Stuart Tave Teaching Fellowship, University of Chicago (2015-2016).
  • SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship (2014-2015).
  • American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) Dissertation Fellowship (2013-2014).
  • Newberry Library Dissertation Seminar for Historians Fellowship (2012-2013).
  • University of Chicago Graduate Studies Fellowship (2008-2013).
  • The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey Fellowship (2006-2008).



Book (in preparation)

The Masters of Time: Astrologers and Scientific Expertise at the Early Modern Ottoman Court  


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals and Volumes

“The Sultan’s Syllabus Revisited: Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Madrasa Libraries and the Question of Canonization,” Studia Islamica (in print)

“Authoring and Publishing in the Age of Manuscripts: the Columbia University Copy of an Ottoman Compendium of Sciences with Marginal Glossing,” Philological Encounters 5/3 (2020): 1-25.

(co-authored with Cornell H. Fleischer) “Books on Astrology, Astronomical Tables, and Almanacs in the Library Inventory of Bayezid II,” in Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3-1503/4), eds. Gülru Necipoğlu, Cemal Kafadar, Cornell H. Fleischer (Leiden: Brill, 2019), 767-821.

“Reading the Stars at the Ottoman Court: Bāyezīd II (r. 886/1481-918/1512) and his Celestial Interests,” Arabica 64/3-4 (2017): 557-608.

“Practicing Astral Magic in Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Istanbul: A Treatise on Talismans attributed to Ibn Kemāl (d. 1534),” Journal of Magic, Ritual, and Witchcraft 12 (2017): 66- 88.

“Rasattan Takvime: 15. ve 16. Yüzyıllarda Osmanlı Dünyasında Astrolojinin Yeri Üzerine Bazı Gözlemler,” [From Astronomical Observations to Almanac Prognostications: Revisiting the Role of Astrology in the fifteenth-and sixteenth-century Ottoman World] in Osmanlı’da İlim ve Fikir Dünyası, ed. Ömer Mahir Alper et al. (Istanbul: Klasik, 2016), 227-250.

“A Mirror for Princes, A Fiction for Readers: Habname of Veysi and Dream Narratives in Ottoman-Turkish Literature,” Journal of Turkish Literature 8 (2011): 41-64.


Book Chapters

"Letters of an Insecure Scholar, 1553; Zaifi, d. after 1557" Translated by A. Tunç Şen. In The Ottoman World: A Cultural History Reader, 1450–1700edited by Hakan T. Karateke and Helga Anetshofer (Editor). Oakland: University of California Press, November 2021.