Aleksandar Shopov

Membership:  2018

Member Bio

Aleksandar Shopov is a historian with interests in economic and environmental histories of the Ottoman eastern Mediterranean. His research and activism have focused on the history of and present-day debates about urban agriculture, especially in Istanbul. He received his MA from Sabanci University in Istanbul in 2007 and his PhD from Harvard University in 2016. His dissertation explored connections between Early Modern farming manuscripts in Ottoman Turkish and Arabic, the rise of agricultural capitalism, and environmental change in the Ottoman eastern Mediterranean. He previously held fellowships at Dumbarton Oaks Library in Washington DC, the Research Center for Anatolian Civilization in Istanbul, and the Center for Mamluk Studies in Bonn, Germany. At the Rachel Carson Center, he is completing the first monograph on the history of urban farming in Early Modern Istanbul.


  • “When Rice Paddies Made Life Unbearable and Scholars and Bureaucrats Retreated to the Mountains: The Changing Waterscape of Filibe, an Ottoman City in the Balkans.” In “Ottoman Waterscapes: New Archaeological, Anthropological and Historical Studies of Hydraulic Landscapes in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1500 to the Present Day,” edited by S. McPhillips, A. Meier and A. Rabo. Special issue, Levant, The Journal of the Council for British Research in the Levant (forthcoming 2018).
  • “The Vineyards of Edirne and Istanbul, the Vernacularization of Farming Treatises, and New Topographies of Wine Drinking in the Mid-sixteenth Century.” In Environmental Approaches in Pre-modern Middle Eastern Studies, edited by Bethany Walker. Göttingen: Bonn University Press, forthcoming 2018.
  • “The Transformation of an Imperial Library: The Newly Copied Farming Manuals at Topkapı Palace 1503–1512.” Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World (forthcoming 2018).
  • “Urban Agriculture in Early Modern Istanbul.” In Early Modern Istanbul, edited by Shirin Hamadeh and Çiğdem Kafesçioğlu. Brill’s Companions to European History. The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, forthcoming 2018.