Life Story Funeral Homes®
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Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Ulku Bates

August 7, 2023
Climax, MI




Ulku Ulkusal Bates, 84, of New York, New York, died surrounded by loved ones while in memory care in Portage, Michigan on August 7th, 2023. She was born in Costanta, Romania, on December 3rd, 1938, to Mustecib Ulkusal, a prominent lawyer and writer in the Crimea, Bulgaria, and Turkey; and Emine Ulkusal, also from a well-known family in the Crimea, and an educator.

Ulku earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Istanbul and her PhD in Art History from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her teaching career began at Oakland University and the University of Michigan, where she taught Islamic and Chinese art history. She began teaching full time at City University of New York, Hunter College in 1971 where she taught up until she retired in 2008. Her major focus was Islamic art history, but she also taught Indian, Chinese, and Japanese art history. She was, and still is, an influence too many people she has met throughout her career, and she thoroughly enjoyed being a mentor to them.

Ulku, a feminist, co-authored a groundbreaking book published in 1983; Women's Realities, Women's Choices, the first interdisciplinary text, as an introduction to a course on women's studies. She carried out archeological and other fieldwork on Islamic architecture in Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Egypt. She also maintained a long-term close association with the Islamic Department at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among her other accolades she was a visiting Professor at Harvard University and gave a number of speeches around the world.

Ulku was married twice. Her first husband, Daniel Bates, is a Cultural Anthropologist who taught at Hunter College. Her second husband, Peter Hartmann, who passed in 2020, ran a maritime shipping company. Ülkü and Daniel adopted their son, Anthony Murat Bates, in 1971.

Ulku was an avid traveler and enjoyed visiting many countries, some for pleasure, others for work. She also enjoyed reading and had an extensive personal library in her home.

Ulku is survived by her son, Anthony Murat Bates; daughter-in-law Cheryl Bates; granddaughter Kyla Bates; and her first husband, Daniel Bates.

A memorial will be held at a later date. Please visit Ulku's tribute page to share memories and condolences at