We are pleased to announce that William Bamber, a PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, was recently awarded Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion fellowships. These fellowships support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and related social sciences in the last year of PhD dissertation writing. ACLS awarded 65 fellowships in this competition for the 2019-20 academic year.
Bamber’s dissertation, “Fez & Sherwani: Self-fashioning, Consumption and Ottoman Influence in 19th Century South Asia,” explores why and how the Ottoman style fez and ‘istanbulin’ coat became widely adopted across South and South East Asia in the late 19th century—a time defined by European hegemony. Through a study of male self-fashioning in Ottoman Turkey and South Asia, this study highlights historical networks of South-South cultural interaction, and the transformative impact of new media on emerging ideas of identity. Drawing on archives of studio portraiture, illustrated journals and dress, Bamber argues that this style’s popularity was tied to new notions of urbane, masculine sophistication emerging across the region, framed by a strong sense of mutual anti-imperialist resentment.