Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Organization Logo Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

Visiting Fellow, 2023 – 2024

Esra Almas

Assistant Professor of Turkish Literature Bilkent University, Ankara


Esra Almas’s research focuses on the intersections of memory studies, diaspora, and the urban imaginary. Her current project is on Jewish memories of Istanbul. Through readings that prioritize sight, sound, taste, and thought, her studies probe how Jewish lives are inscribed in the fabric of the city, shedding light on the multidirectional memory of the region.

She has worked as a translator, moderator, and organizer for PEN International, has taught at the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, and at İstanbul Şehir University. She held a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Katz Center of Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Almas is an honorary fellow at the Netherlands Institute in Turkey. She is also a part of an NEH-funded project to co-write a textbook about Jews in the Modern Middle East. During her residency at the Neubauer Collegium, she is contributing to the Quest for Modern Language Between the Mediterranean and Black Sea project, focusing on the emergence of modern Turkish language in the eyes of German-Jewish academic exiles.

Almas holds a PhD from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. She completed her graduate degree at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and received her undergraduate degree from Bogazici University, Turkey.


Detail of a 19th century map of the Middle East

The Quest for Modern Language Between the Mediterranean and Black Sea, 1820–1948

2021 – 2024