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Esra Almas studied English and Comparative Literature at Bosphorus University and at the University of Auckland. She holds a PhD from the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam, where she was an ASCA Fellow. Her dissertation explored the link between literary capital and Istanbul’s cityscape through the work of Orhan Pamuk, examining his novels through the lenses of exile and melancholy.
Almas has published extensively on modern Turkish literature, and particularly on autobiographical narratives on Istanbul’s modernist literary cityscape. She has worked as a translator, moderator, and organizer for PEN International, has taught at the University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, Haliç University, and at İstanbul Şehir University. She recently held a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Katz Center of Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Almas is a member of the Memory Studies Association, Modern Language Association, and an honorary fellow at the Netherlands Institute in Turkey.
Almas’s current project is on Jewish memories 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. Her work has been published in the MHRA Working Papers, Culture, Theory and Critique, Life Writing, and Jewish Social Studies. Her research focuses on the intersections of memory studies and the urban imaginary. Her interests include autobiography, women, minor literatures, Sufism and visual narrative.