Ünver Rüstem specialises in the art and architecture of the Islamic world, with a focus on the Ottoman Empire in its later centuries. He is particularly interested in East-West intersections and interactions, and his BA and MA, both from the University of London (SOAS and UCL), were jointly in Islamic and European art history. He earned his doctorate at Harvard University, where he wrote a dissertation on the architectural transformation of eighteenth-century Istanbul, a project for which he was awarded a Junior Fellowship at Istanbul's Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations. Before coming to Cambridge, he was a Mellon Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow and Lecturer at Columbia University.
Dr Rüstem's research cuts across media and genres. His first article, which in its draft form won the 2009 Margaret B. Shevchenko Prize for the best unpublished article on Islamic art by a young scholar, explores the reception of illustrated Islamic manuscripts as revealed by a group of Ottoman textual inserts added to the famous Shahnama (Book of Kings) of Shah Tahmasp. His forthcoming publications include an article on the importation of marble tombstones from Istanbul to Cyprus, edited translations of two later Ottoman primary sources on architecture and its ceremonial context, and a coauthored essay about a unique jewelled gun commissioned by Sultan Mahmud I. At present, he is writing a book on Ottoman Baroque architecture, which will be the first major anglophone study devoted to the subject, and he is also working on the Ottomans' use of costume books and clothed mannequins to represent their empire to foreign audiences between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries.
Ahmed Efendi’s History of the Noble Mosque of Nuruosmaniye: The Making of a Monument in Eighteenth-Century Istanbul, supplement to Muqarnas (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
'An Afterlife Continued: More Ottoman Inserts from the Shahnama-yi Shahi', in Shahnama Studies IV. Firdausi: The Next Thousand Years, ed. Charles Melville (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
'"High as the Heavens": The Dome-Closing Ceremony of the Sultanahmet Mosque', Muqarnas, vol. 33 (2016).
'The Man behind the Gun: Mahmud I as Ruler and Patron' (section of the chapter 'Armed and Splendorous in Eighteenth-Century Istanbul: The Jeweled Gun of Sultan Mahmud I', coauthored with Bora Keskiner and Tim Stanley), in Traces of the Poet, Artist, and Patron in Histories of Islamic Art, exhibition catalogue, ed. Amy Landau (Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 2015).
'Imports from Istanbul: Ottoman Exiles to Famagusta and Their Tombs', in Famagusta: City of Empires (1571–1960), ed. Michael Walsh (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2015).