Department Chair:
Cynthia Chapman

Administrative Assistant:
Brenda Hall

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8866
Fax: (440) 775-6910

Rice Hall 316
10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Esra Akin-Kivanc

Esra Akin-Kivanc

Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion and Art History

Contact Information


Art Building 166A
(440) 775-8146

Personal Office Hours:
By appointment

Esra Akin-Kivanc

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts, Bosphorus University, Istanbul, Turkey, 1994
  • Master of Art, Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, Turkey, 1997
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Ohio State University, 2007

Esra Akin teaches courses in Islamic art and visual culture with special emphasis on the relationship between art and religion. She is currently working on a compilation of pre-nineteenth century Ottoman art-historical texts, and researching the Islamic art collection at Oberlin’s Allen Memorial Art Museum.


- Visual Culture of the Muslim World
- Figurative Painting in Islam
- Approaches to Islamic Art and Architecture
- Introduction to Muslim Cultures and Civilizations: A Humanistic Approach
    (co-taught with Professor Ali Yedes and Professor Jafar M. Mahallati)
- History of Western Art: The Ancient World to the Early Renaissance
- Art and Architecture of the Ancient Near East and the Western World
- Art and Architecture of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance


Mustafa Âli’s Epic Deeds of Artists: A Study on the Earliest Ottoman Text About the Calligraphers and Painters of the Islamic World. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2011.

Sinan’s Autobiographies: Five Sixteenth-century Texts. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006 (with Howard Crane).


“Modern Narratives of the Past at Çatalhöyük.” The Ohio State University, Middle East and South Asia Folklore Bulletin, December 2000.


“Illustrated Manuscripts from Persia, India, and Ottoman Turkey in Oberlin College’s Islamic Art Collection.”


“Beyond the Surface: Text and Image in Islamic Art,” Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio, Fall 2012-Spring 2013.


Midwest Art Historical Society, Panel on Islamic Art, Chair, Columbus, Ohio, March 2013.

“Iraq Year Zero: A Panel Discussion on the Cultural Destruction of Iraq,” Moderator, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, May 2003.


“’Such a Qur’an No Individual Might Own’: The Story of a 14th-century Mamluk/Ilkhanid Qur’an in Oberlin College’s Special Collections," The Islamic Manuscript Association, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, September 2013.

“Ignorant Collectors, False Artists, and Deceitful Scribes: Mustafa Âli’s Critique of the Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Artistic World,” Canakkale University, Gallipoli, Turkey, May 2013.

“Ottoman Historiography through its Orphaned Primary Sources,” Society of Architectural Historians, 66th Annual Conference (Session: Shifting the Historiography of the Near East: Re-Interpreting the Past), Buffalo, New York, April 2013.

"The Muslim Jerusalem," guest lecturer in Saints and Relics in Medieval and Renaissance Art taught by Professor Erik Inglis, Art Department, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, November 2012.

“Safavid and Ottoman Visual Culture: A Comparative Introduction,” guest lecturer in Islam taught by Professor Jafar Mahallati, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, November 2011.

“Who Owns Culture? The Case of the Great Tahmasp Shahnameh,” Oberlin College, Ohio, March 2011.

“The Role of Turkish Women in Building the Modern Republic of Turkey,” The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, November 2005.

“Sinan’s Autobiographies: Literary Sources for Sixteenth-century Ottoman Architecture,” College Art Association 90th Annual Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 2002 (with Professor Howard Crane).

“Atatürk’s Public Imagery and Turkish National Identity,” 36th Annual Conference of Graduate Students, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, April 2001.

“Modern Narratives of the Past at Çatalhöyük,” Annual Conference of the American Folklore Society, Columbus, Ohio, October 2000.