Nicolas Trepanier

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2017/2018
discipline History
Associate Professor of History Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, University of Mississippi

Research project

Reconstructing the Landscapes of Medieval Anatolia


This project seeks to reconstruct the landscapes, defined as "a portion of territory as it is perceived", in late medieval Anatolia. It is driven by two central research questions: (i) What physical stimuli did the medieval Anatolian countryside present to the visitors? and (ii) How did medieval Anatolians interpret these physical stimuli? The research draws from a broad range of narrative, legal and archaeological sources examined through a combination of deep textual analysis and landscape phenomenology. Unusual because of the equal attention it gives to subjective perceptions and the physicality of the land itself, this project opens up the possibility for twenty-first century observers to share some of the experience that medieval Anatolians had of the land.


At the most basic level, the original questions it asks will bring about a new understanding of the relationship between people and the land during the pivotal period of transition from the Byzantine to the Ottoman era. In doing so, it will offer a model for the study of daily life and worldviews for historical contexts where limited source material is available. The integration of the phenomenological approach to landscapes—a archaeological method centering on the human body as the mediator between physical environment and subjective perceptions—into a text-based, historiographical project will deeply enrich my analysis of textual sources (and introduce the approach to historians of the Middle East, whose awareness of archaeology typically ranges from minimal to inexistent). This will also provide a useful case study to respond to the most common criticism of landscape phenomenology, which is that it relies too much on imagination and not enough on empirical evidence.


Most importantly, this project will draw from the understanding of the past it generates to suggest guidelines for how modern visitors to the Anatolian countryside can guide their perceptions in a way that, at least to some extent, parallels the experience of our medieval counterparts. It will therefore open the door, however narrowly, to a connection to the people of the past that bypasses the mediation of primary sources.





Nicolas Trépanier is Associate Professor of History at the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History, University of Mississippi. He holds a Ph.D in Middle Eastern Studies and History from Harvard University. His main research interests focus on landscape and the way ordinary people in medieval Anatolia perceived the land on which they lived. In parallel, he is also interested in the relations between history and videogames.



Selected publications

'The Giving Divide: Food and Social Identity in Medieval Anatolia', in C. Isom-Verhaaren & K. Schull (eds), Living in the Ottoman Realm: Sultans, Subjects, and Elites, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2016, pp. 21-28.


Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia: A New Social History. University of Texas Press, Austin, 2014.

'The Assassin’s Perspective: Teaching History through Videogames', Perspectives on History [online], May 2014.


'Harvesting Semantics in Late Medieval Anatolia', in P. Blessing & R. Goshgarian (eds), Architecture and Landscape in Medieval Anatolia, 1100-1500, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2017, pp. 185-199.


'Starting without Food: Fasting and the Early Mevlevî Order', ​​​​​​​Princeton Papers: Interdisciplinary
Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 
vol. 16, 2011, pp. 1-21.




junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW)
discipline Political Science
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW)
discipline Linguistics
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW)
discipline Political Science
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW)
discipline Social Anthropology