Günseli Gürel holds a PhD from the University of Oxford. Her proposed project is to revise and extend her PhD thesis with the aim of transforming it into a book-length monograph entitled Picturing Marvels, Magic, and Monsters at the Ottoman Court, 1574–1603. The monograph explores the Ottoman court’s unprecedented interest in illustrating wonders of the ancient world and distant lands.
The goals of the book are two-fold: Firstly, it demonstrates how the Ottoman court constructed antiquity as compatible with Islam and the Ottoman present, and how the Ottomans were presented as heirs to this ancient wisdom. Secondly, it will expose for the first time the significance of the peoples and places of the Indian Ocean and the Americas in Ottoman illustrated manuscripts and discuss the ways in which the early modern discoveries were a source of wonder for Ottoman observers.
Together, these examinations of Ottoman cultural perspectives contribute to the decolonization of early modern cultural history, as most of the academic literature contextualizing the representation of the supernatural in this period has a strong focus on Renaissance Europe.