David Selim Sayers

DAVID SELIM SAYERS is a scholar of Ottoman and Turkish Studies with a focus on history and literature. He is a co-founder and core faculty member of the Paris Institute for Critical Thinking (PICT).

David is a permanent faculty member at the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC). His previous posts include Lecturer at HEC Paris (2019-22) and Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 (2019-20), University Professor (visiting) at the University of Vienna (2017-18), Research Fellow at Justus Liebig University Giessen (2016-17), and Lecturer at San Francisco State University (2013-16). He received his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University, his M.A. in Turkish Literature from Bilkent University, and his B.A. in Theology from the University of Cambridge. A native speaker of English, German, and Turkish, David has taught university courses in all three languages as well as French.

David’s publications include the books The Wiles of Women as a Literary Genre (Harrassowitz, 2019) and Tıfli Hikayeleri (Bilgi University Press, 2013) as well as the translated volumes The Struggle for Modern Turkey (Bloomsbury, 2019) and Muhacirname: Poetry’s Voice for the Karamanlidhes Refugees (Istos, 2016). His scholarly introductions to the work of Sabahattin Ali and Sabiha Sertel have been published by Penguin Classics and Bloomsbury, and his articles have appeared in academic and literary journals alike. David has also commented on Turkish current affairs in the media, including the ABC television show Good Morning America.

In November 2021, David co-authored the academic exposé, “The Real Academy in Exile,” with Evrim Emir-Sayers for the PICT journal, The Faculty Lounge. Sparking a major debate on clique formation in contemporary academia, the article received extensive discussion in international media ranging from the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to the state-run Turkish news agency Anadolu Ajansı. Since Fall 2022, David has been co-translating works of Turkish poetry, including by Alevi-Turkish folk poet Âşık Veysel and Kurdish-Turkish poet Ahmed Arif, in The Faculty Lounge. He is also currently translating the memoirs of Turkish political exile Gün Benderli. 

As editor-at-large, David works on virtually every piece of writing published by PICT, including the PICT Manifestos, the journals The Faculty Lounge and The Thinking Cap, the annual critical review dePICTions, and the PICT Books imprint. David is series host of the PICT podcast, The Last Ottoman.

To find out more about David, check out his:

PICT Courses

PICT Public Lectures

PICT Conferences

PICT Podcasts

PICT Articles

PICT Books