History Professor Receives NEH Fellowship for Research in Turkey
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Nikolay Antov, assistant professor of history in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, was awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities Advanced Fellowship for Research in Turkey, where he will spend the 2013-14 academic year.
Antov will have access to the scholarly holdings of the American Research Institute in Turkey, which maintains two institutes in the country. The institute’s centers in Istanbul and Ankara both have residential facilities for fellows and provide general assistance as well as introductions to colleagues, institutions and authorities.
“I feel very excited and honored to receive this prestigious fellowship,” Antov said. “I am grateful to professor Lynda Coon, professor Joel Gordon, dean Robin Roberts and provost Sharon Gaber for their generous support of my research and my academic leave that would allow me to successfully complete my book project.”
During his stay, Antov will research and write his book, “Imperial Expansion, Colonization, and Conversion in the Islamic World’s Wild West: The Formation of the Muslim Community in Ottoman Deliorman (N.E. Balkans), 15th-18th Centuries.”
“This is the second year in a row a member of our history faculty has received a highly competitive fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said Robin Roberts, dean of Fulbright College. “It’s wonderful to see professor Antov and the department continue the Fulbright legacy of excellence and achievement.”
In his research for the book, Antov uses a wide array of Ottoman administrative, legal and narrative sources, including hagiographic literature (the Vitas of heterodox Muslim saints that came to be widely revered in the region). During the summer of 2012, Antov spent three months working in the Ottoman archives in Istanbul, where he mined a new genre, sufi hagiography, to flesh out the more cultural aspects of his work on Islamic heterodoxy in Deliorman.
“In the book, I am tracing the formation of one of the most significant and compact Muslim and Turkish-speaking communities in the Balkans, which is still in existence today, and the only one with a very significant heterodox Muslim element,” Antov said.
The American Research Institute in Turkey is a consortium of thirty-nine North American universities and museums. The Istanbul facility maintains a research facility with library in Byzantine, Ottoman and modern Turkish studies. In Ankara, scholars have access to a library focused on archaeology and modern Turkey. Opportunities for collegial exchanges with Turkish and other scholars occur in the course of the lecture series and educational tours offered at each center.
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