Graduate School of Decision Science and Technology

Tokyo Institute of Technology

2-12-1-W9-64 O-okayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8554 Japan

Tel/Fax: +81-(0)3-5734-2375

Email: bektasy@me.titech.ac.jp

Office: West Bldg 9, Room 406A




Yakup Bektas earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Kent in 1995 and 1991 respectively. Prior to joining the Tokyo Institute of Technology in January 2004, where he was a postdoctoral research fellow (of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) from 1996 to 1998, Bektas held post-doctoral research positions at the Smithsonian Institution (National Museum of American History), and Duke University (New Beginnings Program and History Department). At Duke he also taught courses in the history of technology, and technology and the environment.


Bektas’ principal research and teaching interests are in the history of technology, particularly in the introduction of Western technological innovations to the non-Western world in the nineteenth century; communications–information- technologies (esp. telegraph), railways; technology and the environment. His research topics include British and American techno-cultural encounters with the Ottoman Empire (and Meiji Japan) in the 19th century; the role of technological innovations and artifacts in promoting cross-cultural exchange; the cultural history of the electric telegraph and railways; technology’s interactions with the natural environment and landscapes; the ideas of nature, progress, improvement, modernity, and determinism in narrating technological change; and the ideas of “East” and “West.”


At the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Bektas contributes to research and teaching. His ongoing projects include a booklet for SHOT/AHA series.

He is currently a Contributing Editor to Technology and Culture.


Selected Publications


1)      “Railroads,” in Gabor Agoston and Bruce Masters, eds., Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire (Facts on File, 2009), 478-484.


2)      “Telegraph,” in Gabor Agoston and Bruce Masters, eds., Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire (Facts on File, 2008), 557-558.


3)      “The German-Turk Miracle,” Essay Review, Technology and Culture 48 (October 2007): 840-44.


4)      Morse’s Most Cherished Honor: The Nishan-i Iftihar of the Ottoman Empire” in Mine Haydaroglu, ed., The Story of Communications Past to Future, (Jan 2007, YKY, Istanbul), 93-107.


5)      “Visions of Vanishing Japan,” ICON -World Monuments- (Summer 2004): 18-23.


6)      “Displaying the American Genius: The Electromagnetic Telegraph in the Wider World,” British Journal for the History of Science 34 (June 2001): 199-232.


7)      “The Sultan’s Messenger: Cultural Constructions of Ottoman Telegraphy 1847-1880,” Technology and Culture 41 (October 2000): 669-696.





  1. “Reflections on Meiji Japan’s Technological Transformation,” (forthcoming).
  2. “That New and Dangerous Magic’: the Telegraph and Communication in the Crimean War,” (forthcoming, Technology and Culture).
  3. “Technological modernity of the Crimean War,” in Alexandre Toumarkine, ed., ... (forthcoming, Isis, Istanbul)


Book Reviews


1.      Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Science, Technology and Learning in the Ottoman Empire (Ashgate, 2004), British Journal for History of Science 39 (June 2006): 287-88.

2.      Gabor Ágoston, Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University, 2005), Technology and Culture 47 (April 2006): 405-407.

3.      Jorma Ahvenainen, The European Cable Companies in South America before the First World War (Helsinki, 2004), Technology and Culture 46 (October 2005): 828-830.

4.      Jonathan S. McMurray, Distant Ties: Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and the Construction of the Baghdad Railway (Praeger, 2001) Technology and Culture 45 (October 2004): 872-74.

5.      Wendy M. K. Shaw, Possessors and Possessed: Museums, Archaeology, and the Visualization of History in the Late Ottoman Empire (University of California, 2003), Technology and Culture 45 (July 2004): 666-686.

6.      Marcia Yonemoto, Mapping Early Modern Japan: Space, Place, and Culture in the Tokugawa Period, 1603-1868 (University of California, 2003) Technology and Culture 45 (January 2004): 175-6.

7.      Ken Beauchamp, A History of Telegraphy: Its Technology and Application (Edison, NJ: Institution of Civil Engineers, 2001), Technology and Culture 44 (April 2003): 396-397

8.      John B. Dwyer, To Wire the World: Perry M. Collins and the North Pacific Telegraph Expedition (Praeger, 2001), Technology and Culture 43 (January 2002): 189-191.