Sinem Casale, PhD

Academic Assistant

Sinem Casale is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Art History, University of Minnesota. She specializes in Islamic art and architecture, with an emphasis on the history and visual culture of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals. Centering on the relationship between art, diplomacy, religion, and trade in the early modern Muslim world, Casale's research explores issues that relate to exchange and encounters, materiality, gift-giving practices, and courtly rituals.
Prior to joining the Art History Department at the University of Minnesota, Casale was an Assistant Professor at McGill University's Institute of Islamic Studies. She was recently an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, and a Max Weber Post Doctoral Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. Her research has also been supported by the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, the Social Science Research Council, American Research Institute in Turkey, and the Kress Foundation.

Early Modern Art, Diplomacy and Food Culture This project investigates the ceremonial and sensory function of food in early modern cross-cultural encounters. The official banquet was an integral part of the formal reception of embassies at the Ottoman sultan's court in Constantinople, an early modern diplomatic and commercial hub where people and things from around the Mediterranean and beyond were in constant circulation. Drawing on recent scholarship offering innovative approaches to materiality and the senses in art history, as well as new diplomatic history, this study integrates the banquet into court politics. By investigating the spatial, visual and gustatory configuration of banquets—as highly formal ceremonies that prefigured the ambassador's audience with the sultan—this study shows that they were highly politicized events rather than unconditional tokens of hospitality and cordiality.


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