Ertegun Staff and Scholar Profiles

Mustafa Kemal Baran

MSt Classical Archaeology | 2014 Graduate

I am reading for a M.St. in Classical Archaeology at Lincoln College. Coming from a rather unorthodox educational background, I have travelled through different schools, academic disciplines and countries. I got my undergraduate degree in Industrial Design in Middle East Technical University, Ankara followed by a Master’s degree in Architectural History in 2011 at the same university. In 2007 with Erasmus scholarship, I spent a semester abroad at Fachhochschule Coburg, Germany while I was an undergraduate where my interest in history of art and architecture particularly burgeoned.

In my Master’s thesis titled “Travelling/Writing/Drawing: Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Architectural Journey to Italy (1824)”, I worked on the German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s second architectural journey to Italy in 1824. As part of my research, I was awarded a summer scholarship in 2010 from DAAD-German Academic Exchange Service to study German language and do archival research in Berlin.

Following my Master’s thesis, I chose to pursue similar research questions in a time period which would have more potential for research and on-site investigation. I have been long interested in Late Antiquity, a time marked by drastic social changes just like 19th century. In fall 2011, I was admitted to the PhD Programme in History of Art and Archaeology at Koç University, Istanbul where I focused particularly on the art and culture of Late antique Constantinople. In 2012, I spent another semester abroad as a visiting researcher at the University of Durham where I carried out a project on the late antique, Aphrodisias-style, mythological statuettes, unearthed in very different corners of the Roman World. Following my semester in Durham, I attended the Byzantine Greek Summer School at the University of Birmingham with a scholarship from the Classical Association, London. In April, 2013, with fellow graduate students, we organized an international graduate symposium titled “Cities: A Bigger Picture” in Istanbul which attracted speakers from 13 different universities dispersed around the globe.

My main research interests revolve the phenomena of cultural and artistic interaction through Late Antiquity across the Roman World. At Oxford, I am planning to focus particularly on the sculptures and statuary of the Roman world to read possible cultural and artistic interactions. As an essential centre for sculptural production in Antiquity, I will be focusing on the ancient city of Aphrodisias where I worked as a member of the excavation team in the summer of 2013. To complement my knowledge in Late Antiquity, I plan to work on the earlier periods of Roman Empire during my time at Oxford. I am hoping to continue my studies at Oxford at the doctoral level and work on a project on Aphrodisias and its cultural impact across the Roman Empire through its sculptural tradition. 

As an Ertegün Scholar, I am very fortunate and grateful and to be able to work in a beautifully-designed study environment like the Ertegün House with the other scholars coming from different backgrounds and research interests. I am also “extra-fortunate” to have a leading expert in my particular field, Bryan Ward-Perkins, at the House as the director. For the time left from my work and the numerous lectures and seminars at Oxford, I hope to take up hiking especially in a scenic nature of Oxfordshire and enjoy not only the academic but also the natural side of the city.