Headshot of Esra Almas

Esra Almas

Spring 2024

Esra Almas is an Assistant Professor in Turkish Literature at Bilkent University, Ankara. She holds a PhD from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam. Her dissertation explored the link between literary capital and Istanbul’s cityscape through the work of Orhan Pamuk, examining his metropolitan novels through the lenses of exile and melancholy. 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. Almas is an honorary fellow at the Netherlands Institute in Turkey. She held fellowships from the Katz Center of Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and from the Neubauer Collegium at the University of Chicago.

She is a part of a NEH-funded research project to co-write a textbook about Jews in the Modern Middle East. Her research focuses on the intersections of memory studies, diaspora, and the urban imaginary. Her work has been published in the MHRA Working Papers, Culture, Theory and Critique, Life Writing, and various edited volumes. Almas’s current project is on Jewish memory narratives of Istanbul. Through readings that prioritize sight, sound, taste, and thought, her study probes how Jewish lives are inscribed in the fabric of the city, shedding light on the multidirectional memory of the region.

Learn more about Dr. Almas