Open Archaeology

Elvan Cobb

Elvan Cobb

Elvan is a historian of the built environment, especially focusing on the histories of place in the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. She currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at the Hong Kong Baptist University. In her work, Elvan juxtaposes histories of space with histories of technology, archaeology, tourism, environment and the senses. In her doctoral dissertation, Railway Crossings: Encounters in Ottoman Lands, Elvan investigates how spatial practices were altered with the advent of the railways in western Anatolia during the second half of the 19th century.

Building on over a dozen years of experience, her current field research engages with 19th and 20th century histories of place, utilizing oral histories as well as architectural surveys. Such histories not only inform the current dynamics of place, but also help elucidate how local spaces have been activated throughout time, contextualizing the archaeological evidence. This connection between past and present is central to much of her work and especially informs her cultural heritage practice. Thus, my fieldwork keeps my scholarship grounded in practice and ensures research engagement and knowledge transfer with multiple local communities.

Elvan was a junior research fellow at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations during the 2014-2015 academic year and was the recipient of a SALT Research Award in 2015. She has taught at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University and KoƧ University.  She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong in 2019.  During 2019-2020, she was a post-doctoral fellow in Levantine Studies at the Humanities Research Center of Rice University.
 
  • PhD, Cornell University (History of Architecture and Urban Development)
  • Masters, University of Pennsylvania (Historic Preservation)
  • Bachelors, Middle East Technical University (City Planning)