History Seminar: Aleksandar Sopov (Rachel Carson Center)


Sabancı University

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences





Urban Farming and Leasing in Early Modern Istanbul



Dr. Aleksandar Sopov

Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich


Monday, February 26, 2018

15:30-17:30 FASS 2031



This talk presents my current book project on the early history and emergence of Istanbul’s market gardens in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These market gardens shaped the city’s economy, food culture, and environment, yet their history has remained little explored. Using a variety of archival and literary sources, I argue that the gardens’ emergence was connected with changes in leasing practices that led to the de facto privatization of land in and around Istanbul. A few such market gardens still exist today and are severely threatened by development. This project can therefore contribute to the current efforts to preserve them. 


Born in Skopje, Dr. Aleksandar Shopov received his MA from Sabanci University in Istanbul in 2007 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2016. His dissertation explored connections between Ottoman farming manuscripts and the rise of commercial farming in the eastern Mediterranean in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He previously held fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library in Washington D.C., the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations at Koç University in Istanbul, and the Center for Mamluk Studies in Bonn, Germany. He is currently postdoctoral fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, where he is completing the first monograph on the history of urban farming in Early Modern Istanbul.