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Join 2020-2021 Stroum Center graduate fellows Ben Lee, Busra Demirkol, and Oya Rose Aktaş, as they present their research in Jewish studies:

The Ladino Press: Using Machine Learning to Excavate Visual Content in Historic Ladino Newspapers

Ben Lee, Richard and Ina Willner Memorial Fellow

The Modernization of Education and Its Impact on Midwives: The Case of Jewish “Bloody Midwives”

Busra Demirkol, Mickey & Leo Sreebny Memorial Fellow

Mapping Early Migration from ‘Turkey’ to Seattle: A Social History of Seattle’s First Ottomans

Oya Rose Aktaş, Rabbi Arthur A. Jacobovitz Institute Fellow

Colloquium Respondent: Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania

Learn more about each presenter and their research:

A portrait of Ben Lee smiling, wearing a white button-up shirt and tan blazer, with a medieval painting visible in the background

Ben Lee, Richard and Ina Willner Memorial Fellow

“The Ladino Press: Using Machine Learning to Excavate Visual Content in Historic Ladino Newspapers”

Ben is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Paul G. Allen School for Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. His research lies at the intersection of machine learning and human-computer interaction, with application to cultural heritage and the digital humanities. Ben graduated from Harvard College in 2017 and has served as the inaugural Digital Humanities Associate Fellow at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as a Visiting Fellow in Harvard’s History Department. He is currently a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. For his fellowship research this year, Ben will be applying his project Newspaper Navigator to historic Ladino newspapers in order to extract and study the content using machine learning. Read about Ben’s research:

Portrait of Busra Demirkol smiling, putting her head in her hand, wearing a coat, sitting at a table, with a cityscape in the background

Busra Demirkol, Mickey & Leo Sreebny Memorial Fellow

“The Modernization of Education and Its Impact on Midwives: The Case of Jewish ‘Bloody Midwives'”

Busra Demirkol is a Ph.D. student the Interdisciplinary Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Washington. She received her B.A. degree in sociology at Galatasaray University and her M.A. degree in Turkish studies at Sabanci University. Her master’s thesis focused on modernization in the legal field during the late Ottoman era and its impact on women on the margins. Based on penal codes, codification discussions and court records, she traces how marginal women were redefined and constructed within the boundaries of the public sphere in Ottoman legal culture, and were subjected to the state intervention according to a modern understanding of crime and punishment. Prior to graduate school, she also worked as a social worker with African, Afghan and Syrian refugees in Istanbul and conducted research about the official and unofficial schooling of Syrian children.

Portrait of Oya Aktas smiling, wearing a sweater and necklace, with a gray backdrop behind

Oya Rose Aktaş, Rabbi Arthur A. Jacobovitz Institute Fellow

“Mapping Early Migration from ‘Turkey’ to Seattle: A Social History of Seattle’s First Ottomans”

Oya Rose Aktaş is a Ph.D. student in the University of Washington’s Department of History studying non-Muslim communities in the transition from imperial subject to liberal citizen in the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic. Her current research focuses on how state violence targeted at Christians affected the position of Jews in Istanbul, and her project for the Stroum Center graduate fellowship will include work on the Sephardic diaspora in Seattle, Washington. Prior to graduate school, Oya worked on U.S. foreign relations and economic policy at Washington DC think tanks. Read about Oya’s research:

Colloquium Respondent

Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano smiling, wearing glasses and a button-up shirt

Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano, Assistant Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania

Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano studies early modern Ottoman intellectual history, and its connections to literature, poetry, and bureaucracy. Aguirre-Mandujano recently co-edited the book “Sephardic Trajectories: Archives, Objects, and the Ottoman Jewish Past in the United States” and is currently working on another book project, “Poetics of Empire: Literature and Political Culture at the Early Modern Ottoman Court.” Oscar is a former graduate fellow of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies.

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