Adrien Zakar

Assistant Professor
VC 312, Victoria College, 91 Charles St. W., University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 1K7


Fields of Study


I am a historian of the late Ottoman world and the modern Middle East with expertise in political and social history, technology studies, and spatial history. Broadly, my research concerns late imperial modes of governance and knowledge production as critically grounded in the materiality of concrete practices such as cartography, geography, and magnetism. Prior to joining the University of Toronto, I received a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 2018 and worked as a Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar at the Stanford Humanities Center and a lecturer in the Department of History at the same institution.   
Using a new range of archival sources in Ottoman, Turkish, Arabic, and French, my work joins historical research with an interdisciplinary approach to science and technology studies, critical geography, and war studies. My first book project, Territory, Society, and the Instruments of Empire (1850–1950) centers on the proliferation of maps, atlases, and geographical books in the transition from empire to nation-states. My second project, Suggestion and Ottoman Power (1870-1928), investigates the transformation of pseudo-sciences, magnetism, attention, charisma, and imperial ideologies in the late 19th and early 20th-centuries.  

For more information, visit:  

Selected Publications

“L’Hégémonie verticale par le bas : La photographie aérienne dans la Syrie d’entre-deux-guerres,” Transbordeur (2022), forthcoming.  
“Jawlān," co-authored with Aamer Ibraheem, Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication (2022), forthcoming.  
“Review of Kären Wigen and Caroline Winterer (eds.). Time in Maps: From the Age of Discovery to Our Digital Era. 272 pp., maps, index. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2020.”ISIS (2021), forthcoming.  
“The Joke Is On Us: Irony and Community at a Beirut Scrapyard,” co-Authored with Elizabeth Saleh, Anthropology Today 34:3 (June 2018): 3-6.   
“Landscape Photography and the Values of Objectivity” in Essays and Stories on Photography in Lebanon, Clémence Cottard & Arab Image Foundation (eds.), (Beirut: Kaph Books, 2018): 262-267.   
“Aerial Photography and the Obstacle of Dazzle” in Essays and Stories on Photography in Lebanon (Beirut: Kaph Books, 2018): 216-221.   
“The End of Ottoman Positivism: The Gökalp-al-Husari Debate of 1916,” The International Journal of Middle East Studies 47:3 (August 2015): 580-583.