Professor, Humanities Department
Carel Bertram is an Emerita Professor in the Department of Humanities. She received her MA in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley and her PhD in Art and Architectural History at UCLA. Her field is urban history and historical consciousness in the Islamic world. Dr. Bertram asks, “how do we find out how individuals and groups understood their world?” She answers this through the lens of the Humanities with historically contextualized studies of cultural production and representation. What did historical actors produce (art, architecture, literature, poetry, and, especially places); what did these mean to their makers and, more importantly, how were these experienced over time? Thus, Prof. Bertram studies art, such as codex and manuscript illumination and illustration (and what the reader might have known and felt) and architecture (how are buildings are used and even romanticized so that they become iconic), and particularly the complex place of the city as it is built, walked, filmed and remembered. Some of these ideas form the core of her book Imagining the Turkish House: Collective Visions of Home, published in 2008 with University of Texas Press. Her book was subsequently translated into Turkish and published in Turkey.
Prof. Bertram taught classes on the Cultural Expression in Islam, as well as courses on Istanbul and Jerusalem. Other cities of interest: Sarajevo (Bosnia), Damascus (Syria), Amasya and Safranbolu (Turkey) and Vienna (Austria). She is working to offer a study-abroad project that would give SFSU students an opportunity to study Turkish history through field work in an in-tact Ottoman town in Anatolia.
Moreover, Prof. Bertram has extensively researched the Diaspora Armenians from Anatolia, investigating their histories and historic consciousness as they make pilgrimages to the lost homes of their families. A book on her findings is forthcoming with Stanford University Press.