Winamp Logo
Ottoman History Podcast Cover
Ottoman History Podcast Profile

Ottoman History Podcast

English, Social, 1 season, 165 episodes
Interviews with historians about the history of the Ottoman Empire and beyond
Episode Artwork

An Ottoman Imam in Brazil

with Ali Kulez hosted by Sam Dolbee | In 1866, a series of unexpected events led to an Ottoman imam by the name of Abd al-Rahman al-Baghdadi ending up in Rio de Janeiro. In this episode, Ali Kulez explains how he got there, and what happened when al-Baghdadi became close with enslaved and free Afro-Brazilian Muslims, and attempted to teach them his vision of Islamic orthodoxy. In addition to exploring themes of Islam and race in Brazil, Kulez also traces how the translation of al-Baghdadi's travel narrative can offer a window onto the history of South-South relations into the present. In closing, he discusses the challenge of evaluating past solidarities and differentiating them from those we might want to see.    « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Media of the Masses in Modern Egypt

with Andrew Simon, Alia Mossallam, and Ziad Fahmy hosted by Chris Gratien | The Egyptian revolution of 2011 is one of the most spectacular examples of how social media has played a pivotal role in political movements of the 21st century. However, in this final installment of our four-part series on "The Sound of Revolution in Modern Egypt," we argue that the true beginning of Egypt's media revolution arrived with the cassette tape, which for the first time, made it possible for every Egyptian to be a producer rather than a passive consumer of popular culture. As our guest Andrew Simon explains, this veritable "media of the masses" was not only a means of disseminating commercial music. Western pop music and classics of the Nasserist era mingled with new underground music, religious content, home recordings, and personal voice messages on Egyptian cassettes, which circumvented and subverted state censorship. Artists like Sheikh Imam and the poet Ahmed Fouad Negm produced celebrated political satire that defined the sound of the Infitah era, much to the chagrin of state authorities and the commercial recording industry. In 2011, when Egyptians took to the streets to protest the Mubarak regime, Imam's songs along with a century of sound stretching back to the First World War filled Tahrir Square in Cairo, as a new generation produced new sounds of revolution. We conclude our series with reflections from Alia Mossallam and Ziad Fahmy on the sounds of the square in 2011 and what they reveal about change and continuity in Egyptian politics.    « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Nazareth, the Nakba, and the Remaking of Palestinian Politics

with Leena Dallasheh hosted by Chris Gratien | As an Arab city inside the 1948 borders of Israel, Nazareth defies many of the general narratives of both Israeli and Palestinian histories. But as our guest Leena Dallasheh explains, that does not mean that Nazareth is necessarily an exception. In fact, its paradoxical survival is key to understanding the history of modern Palestinian politics. In this conversation, we chart the history of Nazareth's rise from provincial town to Palestinian cultural capital. We consider the reasons why Nazareth survived the Nakba, and we explore the important role of Palestinian communities in the years before and decades after the foundation of Israel.    « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Geç Osmanlı’da Materyalizm, Psikoloji ve Duygular Tarihi

Şeyma Afacan Sunucu: Can Gümüş | Bu bölümde, Dr. Şeyma Afacan ile geç Osmanlı’da biyolojik materyalizm, psikolojinin gelişimi ve Afacan’ın bir “ezber bozma alanı” olarak nitelediği duygular tarihi üzerine sohbet ediyoruz. Osmanlı’da materyalizm tartışmalarının eksikliklerine işaret eden Afacan, beden, duygu ve üretkenlik arasındaki ilişkiye odaklanmanın bu çalışmalara sunabileceği olası katkılara dikkati çekiyor ve biyolojik materyalizm tartışmasının her şeyden evvel “psikolojik bir tartışma” olduğunu öne sürüyor. Afacan tarih yazımında duyguları analitik bir kategori olarak kullanmanın imkânlarını ve kısıtlarını da detaylandırıyor. Afacan’ın bu söyleşide çizdiği genel çerçevenin bir izleğini Toplumsal Tarih’in Ocak 2024 sayısı için derlediği dosyadaki çalışmalarda görmek de mümkün. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Economics of the Armenian Genocide in Aintab

with Ümit Kurt hosted by Sam Dolbee | What were the economic forces that drove the violence of the Armenian genocide? In this episode, historian Ümit Kurt speaks about his research on the role of property in the history of the dispossession and deportation of Aintab’s Armenian community. Despite archival silences, he reveals the central role of legal mechanisms and local propertied elites in these processes. In closing, he discusses the legacies of the “economics of genocide” into the present day, and how his research has been received.    « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Nasser, Nubia, and the Stories of a People

with Alia Mossallam hosted by Chris Gratien | In 1952, a coup d'état led by Gamal Abdel Nasser ushered in a revolutionary period of Egyptian history in which sound played an integral role in shaping collective political consciousness. The culture of the 50s and 60s was dominated by songs by artists like Umm Kulthum and Abdel Halim Hafez that still resonate within national consciousness, but as we explore in this third installment of our four-part series on "The Sound of Revolution in Modern Egypt," the period produced spectacular sound as well as conspicous silence. As our guest Alia Mossallam explains, triumphant musical celebrations of the Egyptian state's signature achievement --- the construction of the Aswan High Dam --- shaped the terms through which Egyptian's have come to remember this period. At the same time, songs of workers and Nubian villagers displaced by the dam captured subaltern sentiments beneath the surface of Nasserist cultural hegemony. We conclude our conversion with a reflection on the singular importance of sources like folk songs for writing histories erased by official sources.    « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

A Sufi Novel of Late Ottoman Istanbul

with Brett Wilson hosted by Brittany White | Set between elite households and a Sufi lodge, Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu's 1922 novel Nur Baba was a provocative take on competing notions of religion, morality, gender, and romance in the dynamic world of late Ottoman Istanbul. In this episode, we speak to Brett Wilson, author of the first-ever English translation of Karaosmanoğlu's controversial classic. We discuss Yakup Kadri's ethnographic approach to his subject, its mixed reception, and the insights it offers about modern Turkish culture. We also discuss the joys of translation, and its importance for students of Ottoman history today. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab World

with Maha Nassar hosted by Susanna Ferguson | 1948 marks the year that Israel gained independence, and for Palestinians, an experience of mass exile known as the Nakba. The displacement of Palestinians and subsequent conflicts between Israel and its Arab neighbors had immense consequences. But how did the Palestinian Arabs who remained and make up roughly 20% of Israel's population today fit into a Middle East region defined by the "Arab-Israeli conflict?" In this podcast, we speak to Maha Nassar, whose first book Brothers Apart: Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab World casts new light on a community historically marginalized both within Israel and within broader discussions of contemporary Arab history. We discuss how Palestinian citizens of Israel were cut off from friends, relatives, and compatriots after 1948, and how they used literature as means of forging new transnational connections during the era of Arab nationalism and decolonization. Through the insights born out of their paradoxical experiences, Arab-Israeli authors of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction would come to occupy a prominent place not only within both Arab and Israeli literature but also global political thought.    « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Politics of Street Sounds in Interwar Egypt

with Ziad Fahmy hosted by Chris Gratien | During the interwar period, the recording industry reshaped Egyptian culture and politics through music. But as we discuss in part two of our four-part series on "The Sound of Revolution in Modern Egypt," everyday sounds of the city are no less part of Egypt's political history. As our guest Ziad Fahmy explains, writing sonic history requires listening to the sources with ears attuned to the sentiments and sensibilities of past people. Together, we listen to a early recording of Egyptian street sounds and explore the world of sound that awaits within the textual record, focusing on how class dynamics played out on the soundscape of Cairo and Alexandria. We also consider how the rise of a new medium, radio, began to reshape the sonic life of ordinary Egyptians during the interwar period, paving the way for the media revolution of the 1950s and 60s.    « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Ottoman Istanbul After Dark

with Avner Wishnitzer hosted by Sam Dolbee | What did the nighttime mean in the early modern Ottoman Empire? In this episode, Avner Wishnitzer discusses his recent book As Night Falls: Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Cities After Dark (also available in Turkish translation by Can Gümüş as Gece Çökerken). He explains how the night was a time for sleep, rest, devotion, sex, crime, drinking, and even revolt. He also talks about the challenges of past sensory states, the influence of the late Walter Andrews on his work, and, finally, the relationship between his work as a historian and his work as an activist.    « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Egyptian Labor Corps and the Echoes of WWI

with Kyle Anderson & Alia Mossallam hosted by Chris Gratien | In the aftermath of the First World War, the Egyptian streets rose up against British rule during a period of global anti-imperialism, and the voices of the 1919 revolution have echoed throughout Egyptian history ever since. In this first installment of our four-part series on "The Sound of Revolution in Modern Egypt," we consider how the First World War reshaped political consciousness in Egypt, as our guests Kyle Anderson and Alia Mossallam explore the experiences of the Egyptian Labor Corps and the sonic history of WWI. We examine the adventure, hardship, exile, and abuse Egyptian workers faced serving the British war effort, as well as how the war changed the society they returned to, in the words of one famous song from the period, "safe and sound." In discussing the popular songs of the war period that entered Egyptian national canon, our guests illuminate the ways in which shared songs can be modified and repurposed for new political contexts, drawing attention to the need for reconstructing the layers of context contained within some of history's earliest sound recordings. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Nationality on Trial in the 19th Century Mediterranean

with Jessica Marglin hosted by Brittany White | In 1873, Nissim Shamama died suddenly at his palazzo in Livorno. He was quietly one of the richest men in the Mediterranean. A Tunisian Jew born in the Ottoman Empire, Shamama had taken his place among the mercantile elite of a newly-unified Italy. He was a man who belonged to many places. But to whom would his vast inheritance belong? Our guest Jessica Marglin has published an award-winning book, The Shamama Case, that marshals an impressive array of archival sources to investigate how this question was resolved. As she demonstrates, the decade-long legal dispute over Shamama's estate was an international affair involving Tunisian officials, rabbis from throughout the Mediterranean, and some of Italy's foremost legal minds. In this conversation, we talk to Marglin about some of the highlights of the Shamama case, what it taught her about the history of citizenship and nationality in the 19th century Mediterranean, and the power of microhistory for disrupting conventional framings of the period. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Hundred Years' War on Palestine

with Rashid Khalidi hosted by Zeinab Azarbadegan | In this episode, Rashid Khalidi discusses his latest book The Hundred Years' War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917–2017, where he defines Zionism not only as a nationalist project in conflict with the Palestinian one, but also a settler colonial project supported by the British and later the American imperialism. We begin in the late Ottoman period as Khalidi examines the familiar episodes and key turning points, which he characterizes as declaratations of war and wagings of war on Palestinians. We discuss the 1917 Balfour declaration and the communal conflict in the British Mandate of Palestine that led to the general strike and Arab revolt of 1936. The 1948 war, the Palestinian Nakba, and the creation of the State of Israel provide the backdrop for Cold War period conflicts, the rise of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the oubreak of the First Intifada, which culminated in the Oslo Accords of 1993-95. Khalidi reflects on his experiences with the failures of Oslo, which set the stage for the rise of Hamas in Gaza and periodic sieges that have continued to the present day. We conclude with a consideration of the current war, situating the unprecedented civilian toll of both the attacks by Hamas in Israel and the subsequent Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip within Khalidi's larger narrative of more than a century of war on Palestine.   « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Ragusa Road and the Ottoman Balkans

Jesse Howell hosted by Sam Dolbee | In this episode, Jesse Howell discusses the history of the early modern caravan route between Ragusa (modern-day Dubrovnik) and Istanbul. In attending to the long-distance connections between the early modern Ottoman state and the Mediterranean world, he reveals the multi-ethnic communities that came together on the caravan route, the ways that Ottoman state established infrastructure to support mobility and circulation along these pathways, and the material afterlives of these layers of history in very different historical eras. We also talk about the challenge of not getting the information we want from sources, and how to grapple with that absence. In Jesse’s case, that struggle has included riding along a portion of the road on a bicycle, a trip that was chronicled in an earlier episode. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Life and Labor on the Suez Canal

with Lucia Carminati hosted by Susanna Ferguson | The Suez Canal was one of the largest infrastructure projects in the late Ottoman world. Built to connect the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, the canal construction's lasted from 1858-1869 and mobilized tens of thousands of workers from across Egypt and the broader Mediterreanan. Those workers' lives and labor transformed the canal zone and Egypt at large, and their stories, travels, pleasures, and challenges reveal the networks that knit the late-nineteenth century Mediterranean together from below.   « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Privileges and Nobility in Ottoman Kurdistan

with Nilay Özok-Gündoğan hosted by Sam Dolbee | As the Ottoman state expanded in the sixteenth century, it extended a number of privileges to elite families in Kurdistan. In this episode, Nilay Özok-Gündoğan discusses her new book The Kurdish Nobility in the Ottoman Empire, which explains how these hereditary privileges—unique in the empire—developed and changed in the region of Palu between this moment and the nineteenth century, when the Ottoman state attempted to rescind such autonomy. Writing against scholarship that either ignores such families or understands them only in nationalist terms, Özok-Gündoğan attends to property, labor, and mineral extraction and how they ultimately all shaped the nature of the unprecedented violence at the end of empire. She also discusses her own journey writing this book, including her time teaching in Mardin and eventually being forced to leave Turkey.   « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Osmanlı Kamusal Siyasetinin Oluşumu

Aslıhan Gürbüzel Sunucu: Can Gümüş | Bu bölümde, Doç. Dr. Aslıhan Gürbüzel’in bu sene başında University of California Press’ten çıkan kitabı “Taming the Messiah: The Formation of an Ottoman Political Public Sphere, 1600–1700” başlıklı kitabı temelinde Osmanlı’da kamusal siyasetin oluşumunu tartışıyoruz. Kitap, Osmanlı’da devlet inşası sürecinin bir parçası olarak devletin artan merkezî gücüne, genişleyen bir kamusal siyasetin eşlik ettiğine işaret ediyor; erken modern dönemin aktif yurttaş oluşumunu görmek açısından kritik bir öneme sahip olduğunun altını çiziyor. Bu sohbette, söz konusu dönemdeki çoğul kamusal alanların katılımcılarını tanıyıp devletle ilişkilerini incelerken, Osmanlı örneğinin kamusal alan tartışmaları ve araştırmalarına sunduğu katkıları detaylandırıyoruz. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Environment and Empire in the Ottoman Jazira

Samuel Dolbee hosted by Chris Gratien and Reem Bailony | What can we learn about the late Ottoman Empire from the histories of its would-be margins? In this episode, we explore that question in multiple senses through a conversation with longtime Ottoman History Podcast contributor Sam Dolbee about his book "Locusts of Power: Borders, Empire, and Environment in the Modern Middle East." The book studies the dynamic history of the Jazira region, which straddles the modern borders of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. From the Tanzimat-era reordering of the Ottoman provinces to the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of new nation-states, we discuss how the environment of the Jazira region and its people were both actors and objects in the remaking of the Middle East. Building out from the changing lives of locusts, grasshoppers that intermittently imposed themselves on the Jazira's history by devouring agricultural crops, Dolbee casts light onto communities of nomads and migrants often excluded from the empire's modern history. In the process, he shows how the people of Jazirah both made and resisted new administrative and national borders of the period. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Ottoman Boston: Discovering Little Syria

with Chloe Bordewich and Lydia Harrington hosted by Meryum Kazmi and Harry Bastermajian | a collaboration with Harvard Islamica --- In this episode, we leave Harvard and Cambridge to explore the little-known history of immigration from the former Ottoman Empire to Boston in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While completing their PhDs at Boston University and Harvard, Dr. Lydia Harrington and Dr. Chloe Bordewich began to research the history of the neighborhood in today's Chinatown and South End once known as Little Syria. Through the study of property maps, newspapers, oral history interviews, and immigration records, Chloe and Lydia have uncovered the story of this diasporic community from today’s Syria and Lebanon and added both to our understanding of Ottoman immigration to the United States and the history of Boston. The resulting public history project now includes walking tours of Little Syria, an article in both English and Arabic, an exhibit, and a digital humanities project. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Mongols and the Medieval Near East

with Nicholas Morton hosted by Maryam Patton | The Mongol Empire was the largest contiguous land empire in history, yet its influence on the social and political history of the realms that came under its domain is often minimized due to its short-lived nature. In some ways, the most lasting effects of the Mongol invasions were the unexpected geopolitical shakeups that their arrival brought. Notable examples included the increase in the slave trade which facilitated the rise of the Mamluk sultanate, or the controlled chaos of competing Turkmen tribes who had fled to Anatolia, setting the stage for the eventual rise of the Ottomans. The Mongols were not merely invaders, however, and an overemphasis on military history often conceals the rich cultural history of a nomadic society with its own religious traditions and policies of tolerance towards the diverse societies of the medieval Near East. In this episode, we discuss these topics and more with Nicholas Morton, the author of a new book on the Mongols, entitled The Mongol Storm: Making and Breaking Empires in the Medieval Near East. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Ottoman Empire and Eastern World Orders

with Ayşe Zarakol hosted by Zeinab Azarbadegan | What did the international system look like before the rise of the West? What was the place of the Ottomans within it? How did the Ottomans claimed sovereignty and recognition from other states in the sixteenth century world order? In this episode Ayşe Zarakol discusses the rise and fall of Eastern world orders from the Mongol times to the mid-eighteenth century. She critically interrogates both Euro-centric and Sino-centric histories of international relations in order to emphasise the Chingisid universal claims and their evolution throughout the centuries. Considering the Ottomans within this longue duree history, Zarakol emphasises the notion of millenial sovereignty that put the Ottomans in competition with the Safavids and the Mughals and how the crisis of the seventeenth century dismantled this world order and contributed to a sense of decline. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Kantika: from History to Fiction, a Sephardic Journey

with Elizabeth Graver hosted by Brittany White | Elizabeth Graver grew up knowing her grandmother Rebecca was from the Ottoman Empire and that her tumultuous, meandering life journey, like many in the Ottoman Sephardi diaspora, had taken her to Spain, Cuba, and finally, the United States. Like so many of us, she wanted to know more about her family history. Graver was twenty-one when she recorded her first interviews with her grandmother. Over the decades, this family history project would eventually become Kantika-—a historical novel inspired by the multigenerational story of Graver's family. In Kantika, she crafts compelling fiction from historical facts as she retraces her grandmother’s journey. Our conversation with Graver will explore familiar themes like migration, displacement, identity, and belonging after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. And we’ll also reflect on the possibilities and challenges of writing intimate family histories as literature and how fiction can help us better conceptualize and understand the past. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

News, Leaks, and Propaganda in Modern Egypt

with Chloe Bordewich hosted by Maryam Patton | In times of conflict, state governments can be especially sensitive about protecting secrets. When new technologies are involved, like the telegraph, confusion over how exactly it functions and whether it is secure invite new debates over the nature of knowledge and what the public has the right to know. In this episode, Chloe Bordewich discusses her research about news, leaks, and propaganda in modern Egypt. By highlighting a particular court case around the turn of the 20th century involving leaks of sensitive military information and telegraph operators, Bordewich shows how Egypt was at the center of a global story involving the Egyptian public's right to knowledge, new technologies, and the pressures of colonialism. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Osmanlı Tarihyazımını Dijitalleştirme Platformu: Digital Ottoman Studies

Fatma Aladağ & Yunus Uğur Sunucu: Can Gümüş | Dijital beşeri bilimlerin Osmanlı tarihyazımına sunduğu imkânlar nelerdir? Bu sohbetimizde, Osmanlı ve Türkiye Çalışmaları perspektifinden Dijital Beşeri Bilimler'e katkıda bulunan dijital projeleri, araçları ve yayınları bir araya getiren bir platform olan Digital Ottoman Studies’in çalışmaları ve tarihyazımına katkılarını değerlendiriyoruz. Platformun kurucusu Fatma Aladağ ve proje yöneticisi Doç. Dr. Yunus Uğur ile dijital beşeri bilimler perspektifi alanın mevcut kaynaklarını ve çalışmalarını nasıl zenginleştirebilir sorusuna odaklanırken, bu yaklaşımın kısıtlarını da tartışmaya açıyoruz. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Tax Administration in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire

Linda Darling hosted by Sam Dolbee | In this episode, Linda Darling discusses the history of tax administration in the early modern Ottoman Empire, and how attention to it can open up a broad range of questions about technology, governance, and military power and, in the process, dispell simplistic stereotypes such as the "Sick Man of Europe." In addition, she speaks more broadly about her path to Ottoman history, her studies with Halil Inalcık, and how she came to write a book about tax administration. In closing, she touches on what projects--on the cusp of retirement--she is thinking about now.. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Arab-Ottoman Imperialists at the End of Empire

with Mostafa Minawi hosted by Zeinab Azarbadegan | What did it mean to be Arab during the last decades of the Ottoman Empire? What did it mean to be Arab and invested in continuation of the Ottoman Empire? In this episode Mostafa Minawi answers these questions by focusing on the lives of two Arab-Ottoman Imperialists from the same family in Damascus, the al-'Azm or Azamzade family. By recounting their lives, excavating their writings, and narrating how their descendants remember them, Minawi explores questions of belonging, race and ethnicity, and the emotional world of a family divided by the fracturing of an centuries-old empire. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

On the Hajj Trail

with Tyler Kynn hosted by Matthew Ghazarian | Beyond attending classes, reading books, or listening to podcasts, how do people learn about the history of the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East and the Islamic world? In this episode, we discuss a gaming project, The Hajj Trail, as one alternative. Like the 1970s educational computer game The Oregon Trail, The Hajj Trail is an interactive simulation of historical Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca. It aims to provide students with an opportunity to interact with 17th century Ottoman social and cultural history through a hypothetical journey on the road to Mecca. Also like its US-based predecessor, the simulation asks participants to make choices along the way, one beset with financial, ecological, and political obstacles. The visuals, music, and situations have been drawn from primary sources gathered by our guest Tyler Kynn, and his collaborators. As the co-founder and current project lead, Kynn sat down with us to talk about creating the The Hajj Trail and how he has used it in the classroom. We discuss the impetus for the project, the mechanics of assembling it, and the learning opportunities that can arise when historians take seriously the potential of pairing education and play. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Hayrullah Efendi'den Türk-İslam Sentezine Türkiye'de Tarihyazımı ve Tarihçilik

Erdem Sönmez Sunucu: Can Gümüş | Bu bölümde, Dr. Erdem Sönmez ile Osmanlı’dan Türkiye’ye tarihin ayrı bir disiplin olarak ortaya çıkış sürecini tartışıyor, bu sürecin önemli kurumlarını, yayınlarını ve aktörlerini detaylandırıyoruz. Dönemin siyasi, ekonomik ve kültürel iklimiyle yakinen ilişkili olan tarihyazımı pratiğinin on dokuzuncu yüzyılın ikinci yarısından Cumhuriyet dönemine geçirdiği dönüşümleri incelerken bu husustaki mitleri de yeniden ele alıyoruz. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

An Interconfessional History of Missions in the Middle East and North Africa

Episode 537 with Norig Neveu, Karène Sanchez Summerer, and Annalaura Turiano hosted by Andreas Guidi Since the 19th century, different forms of missionary activities and preaching have been shaping the role of religion within the societies of the Middle East and North Africa. Not only Christian congregations, but also Muslim and Jewish institutions participated in this phenomenon. Emulation but also competition existed across confessional boundaries and intersected with colonialism, wars, emancipation projects, and state authority. In this episode, we approach the galaxy of missions and preaching in the longue durée with the three editors of a recently published edited volume, Missions and Preaching: Connected and Decompartmentalised Perspectives from the Middle East and North Africa (19th-21st Century). This episode is cross-listed with The Southeast Passage. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Recovering Migrant Histories

with Randa Tawil hosted by Chris Gratien & Brittany White | What are the perils and possibilities of writing the histories of everyday people? In this episode, we return to this question with Randa Tawil, as she reflects on the process of research and writing. Tawil previously joined us on the Ottoman History Podcast to talk about the life of Zeinab Ameen, a woman from late Ottoman Lebanon who set out for the United States with her family, only to become separated from them and endure a difficult, circuitous, and ultimately heartbreaking journey that illuminates what it meant from Arab migrants to navigate the many spaces of the mahjar. In this conversation with University of Virginia students, we go behind the scenes to examine how the category of "migrant" can be both problematic and productive in writing about past people. We explore the importance of speculative analysis, and we discuss how history writing functions as an act of recovery with value for our present. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Natural Sciences in Early Modern Morocco

with Justin Stearns hosted by Shireen Hamza and Taylor Moore | When you think of the history of science, what people and places come to mind? Scientific knowledge production flourished in early modern Morocco, and not in the places you might expect. This episode transports us into the intellectual and social worlds of Sufi lodges (zawāya) in seventeenth-century Morocco. Our guest, Justin Stearns, guides us through scholarly and educational landscapes far removed from the imperial urban centers of Fez and Marrakech. We discuss his new book, Revealed Sciences, which examines the development of the natural sciences through close study of works produced by rural Sufi scholars. Challenging the idea that the early modern period was one of intellectual decline, Stearns reveals the vibrant multi-ethnic, intellectual networks of the early modern Maghreb and the implications of their story for the history of science and the writing of history. We speak about paper mâché astrolabes, Borgesian fantasies, resisting the lure of triumphant narratives, and the importance of failure for creativity and innovation. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Shipping and Empire around the Arabian Peninsula, Part 2

with Laleh Khalili hosted by Matthew Ghazarian | How did massive, modern shipping ports emerge from the sands of the Arabian Peninsula, and what they teach us about our present forms of global exchange? Combining historical research with site visits that included multiple voyages around the Arabian Peninsula, our guest Laleh Khalili sheds light on these questions in this two-part series on shipping and empire around the Arabian Peninsula. Through her investigation of the entangled realms of commerce, technology, and empire in the Indian Ocean world, Khalili shows how changes in any of one of them sparked associated changes in the others. In this second part, we focus on the period from the mid-20th century period when new centers of trade like Dubai vied to attract commerce and investment to their shores. As vessel size grew, so too did ports, whose construction and maintainence have remade coastal ecologies in the Gulf. We discuss the the impacts of armed conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic on shipping, as well as the recent shifts in global logistics that have arisen with the rise of large Middle East-based ports management firms. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

What is Islamic Art?

with Wendy M. K. Shaw hosted by Zeinab Azarbadegan | What is an image in Islam? Is its permissibility the main preoccupation of Islamic discourses? In this episode, Wendy M.K. Shaw revisits the foundations of art history and considers their colonial and Eurocentric roots. She discusses the stories of art and artists that circulated in the Islamic world, not all of which were accompanied with images, in order to understand what the role of art and the artist were conceived of the pre-modern Islamic world. Redefining concepts such as the image, perspective, art, and history, she sketches the alternative Islamic perceptual culture in which seeing with the ear and seeing with the heart are central to understanding this world as the manifestation of the divine. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Vernacular Photography in Early Republican Turkey

with Özge Calafato hosted by Zeinab Azarbadegan | What can family and individual studio photographs tell us about social life in the early Republic of Turkey? In this episode, Özge Calafato highlights the negotiations between the Kemalist state, the photographers, and the people being photographed that led to classed and gendered representation of modern Turkish citizens in vernacular photography. Calafato analyzes not only the image, but also the context of production and the inscriptions written behind photographs. Looking at photos of subjects as ranging from beauty queens and feminist activists to bank employees and soldiers, she considers the production and circulation of photos not only in urban studios and within families but also in rural areas and within friendship groups. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Shipping and Empire around the Arabian Peninsula

with Laleh Khalili hosted by Matthew Ghazarian | How did massive, modern shipping ports emerge from the sands of the Arabian Peninsula, and what they teach us about our present forms of global exchange? Combining historical research with site visits that included multiple voyages around the Arabian Peninsula, our guest Laleh Khalili sheds light on these questions in this two-part series on shipping and empire around the Arabian Peninsula. Through her investigation of the entangled realms of commerce, technology, and empire in the Indian Ocean world, Khalili shows how changes in any of one of them sparked associated changes in the others. In this first part, we focus on the period from the 16th century Ottoman entry into the region until decolonization in the 20th century, covering topics including the Hajj, disease, steam engines, ship laborers, Anglo-Ottoman rivalries, and the retreat of the British Empire after the Second World War. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Life and Music of Armenian Soprano Zabelle Panosian

with Ian Nagoski hosted by Suzie Ferguson | Zabelle Panosian's ethereal music transfixed audiences from Boston to Paris in the early years of the twentieth century. Yet, by the 1960s, her work was all but forgotten. In this episode, we explore Panosian's life story and some of her exceptional music. What did it mean to leave behind an Ottoman homeland, only to watch the destruction of the 1915 Armenian genocide from afar? What was it like to be diva in Europe and an ambitious Armenian woman artist in the United States, only to be siloed into the category of "ethnic music" by major record labels as anti-immigrant sentiment rose? In this epsiode, we listen to many of Zabelle's songs to explore these questions and more with record producer and music researcher Ian Nagoski. Zabelle's story helps us to understand how and why 'serious artists' have been remembered or forgotten in the annals of American music, especially the immigrants among them. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Water from Stone

with Jesse Howell & Marijana Mišević hosted by Sam Dolbee | In this special episode of the Ottoman History Podcast, Sam Dolbee and Jesse Howell travel by bike along the Ćiro Trail from Dubrovnik in Croatia to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they meet fellow Ottoman historian Marijana Mišević. Along the way, they consider the legacy and traces of early modern Ottoman caravan roads across this space, as well as their intersections with the Austro-Hungarian, Yugoslav, and more recent past. The episode is about mobility, memory, and the built environment. Also bicycles, friendship, and the journey. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Catastrophic Success of the Armenian Tanzimat

with Richard Antaramian hosted by Matthew Ghazarian | How did the Ottomans secure widespread buy-in for modernization projects across the empire's many geographies and communities? This episode explores that question through the experiences of Armenians in the Ottoman East. Our guest, Richard Antaramian, shares some of his research, which argues that Ottoman shared governance worked through networks of power that linked center to periphery and sustained relationships among notables of different confessions, classes, and locations. The Ottoman tax-farming system of the 18th century forged ties among central authorities, provincial notables, and Armenian financiers. As the Ottoman government embarked upon the modernizing reform projects of the late 1700s and 1800s, those forms of shared governence frayed. In the Ottoman East, the Armenian Patriarchate's attempts to enact new notions of reform saw major successes, with the establishment limited representative governance, a constitution, and new educational institutions. Yet, those successes came at the cost of weakening the ties between provincial Armenians and important power brokers like provincial notables and Kurdish tribal leaders. Ultimately, the Armenian Patriarchate's successes at reform translated into trouble for its newly-isolated flock in the empire's eastern borderlands. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

A New History of The Eastern Question

with Ozan Ozavci hosted by Zeinab Azarbadegan | How was European military intervention in the Ottoman Empire justified throughout the nineteenth century? What did Ottoman statesmen and subjects think of these would-be attemepts to provide them with more security? From the late eighteenth century, as a new international system was emerging, European powers considered the Ottoman Empire a weaker foil to their own expanding empires. In this episode, Ozan Ozavci explores how this perception of Ottoman weakness, known as the Eastern Question, affected the Ottoman Empire's place in and engagement with the new international system and law. Exploring the different phases of the Eastern Question, from the French invasion of Egypt in 1798 to the Civil War in Greater Syria durings the 1860s, Ozavci highlights agency of individual actors in the Ottoman capital and the provinces. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Moriscos and the Early Modern Mediterranean

Mayte Green-Mercado hosted by Brittany White | In 1609, King Phillip III of Spain signed an edict to expel a community known as the Moriscos from the Iberian Peninsula. The Moriscos were Muslims forcibly converted to Christianity during the 16th century, after Christian kingdoms displaced the last remaining Muslim rulers in Iberia. The persecution and erasure of the Moriscos following the Reconquista are well documented in the historiography, where alongside Iberian Jews, they appear as victims of the fall of Islamic al-Andalus. But in this episode of Ottoman History Podcast, we’ll explore what these events looked like through the eyes of the Moriscos themselves and study their roles as political actors in the momentous political shifts of the 16th century. In this conversation with Mayte Green-Mercado about her book Visions of Deliverance, we discuss the circulation of Muslim and crypto-Muslim apocalyptic texts, known as jofores; and how these texts were catalysts for morisco political mobilization against the Spanish crown. We chart the formal and informal networks of communication between Moriscos, the Ottoman Empire, and the broader Mediterranean world. And we reflect on the challenges and benefits of using biased sources like the records of the Inquisition alongside other material. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Scholarly Salons in 16th-Century Damascus

with Helen Pfeifer hosted by Maryam Patton | In 1517, the Ottomans captured Cairo and with it, the Arabophone lands of the Mamluk Sultanate. Suddenly, scores of learned scholars who had been preparing and vying for positions of esteem in either the academy or the bureaucracy found themselves under new authority. How did these scholars navigate the new political and linguistic environments? As Helen Pfeifer argues in a new book, Empire of Salons: Conquest and Community in Early Modern Ottoman Lands, the answer lies in gentlemanly salons, where elite men displayed their knowledge and status. These social laboratories played a key role in negotiating Syria and Egypt’s integration into the empire. Through Pfeifer's study of the life and network of the star scholar Badr al-Din al-Ghazzi, we learn how urban elite of former Mamluk Syria and Egypt continued to exert social and political influence, rivaling powerful officials from Istanbul. The gentlemanly salons also illustrate how Ottoman culture was forged collaboratively by Arabophone and Turcophone actors. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

An Environmental History of the Late Ottoman Frontier

with Chris Gratien hosted by Susanna Ferguson | How did ordinary Ottoman subjects experience the momentous changes that made our modern world? This episode explores that question through the history of the Çukurova region of southern Turkey. As our guest Chris Gratien has argued in a new book entitled The Unsettled Plain: An Environmental History of the Late Ottoman Frontier, Çukurova can be studied as a microcosm of social and environmental change in the late Ottoman Empire. In our conversation, we explore how the approaches of environmental history can offer a fresh perspective on the political history of the Tanzimat period, and we discuss how the history of malaria -- an ancient disease -- sheds light on a modern experience of displacement and dispossession for rural communities in the Ottoman Empire and beyond. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Locating the Lost Islamic Archive

with Marina Rustow hosted by Chris Gratien | State archives that function as a site of history scholarship are generally a modern creation. But in this episode, we discuss how past Islamic empires, while not necessarily leaving behind an organized archive used by scholars today, had much more sophisticated documentary practices than often assumed. As our guest Marina Rustow has recently shown in a new book entitled The Lost Archive, the relative absence of extant documentation, in the case of the Fatimid Caliphate of Cairo, belies a long paper trail. Using fragments of Fatimid documents surviving in the storeroom (genizah) of a Cairo synagogue, Rustow has identified traces of a lost Fatimid archive. In part one of this two-part interview with Professor Rustow, we explore how she followed a trail of scrap paper and scholarship to locate the lost archive of a medieval Islamic dynasty. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Islam and Science Fiction

with Jörg Matthias Determann hosted by Shireen Hamza | Islam and science fiction have more history together than you might expect. In this episode, we speak with Jörg Matthias Determann about the many ways science has fueled the imagination of people in Muslim-majority contexts over the last few hundred years. In his latest book, he shows how artists and missionaries participated in "cultures of astrobiology," or the study of life on other planets. Exploring the ways that a variety of authors, artists, and governments have imagined a future with and for Muslims, Matthias shows that there are many overlapping and competing visions of Muslim Futurism. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Spiritual Vernacular of the Early Ottoman Frontier

with Carlos Grenier hosted by Maryam Patton | How did one learn to be a good Muslim in the early 15th century? In newly conquered Ottoman lands where Christians and converts lived side by side, how would one go about learning the proper rites and beliefs to hold? This conversation with Carlos Grenier explores the lives and ideas of two brothers, Mehmed Yazıcıoğlu and Ahmed Bican, Sufis of the frontier city of Gelibolu who grappled with this very question. Their response was to craft a synthesis, an Ottoman Islam so to speak, in the form of Turkish texts that guided their communities on the proper way to be a Muslim. They reached an enormous readership and rank as some of the most popular books to ever be produced in Ottoman Turkish. And as Grenier explains, the Yazıcıoğlus articulated a new Ottoman spiritual vernacular forged in the balance between two worlds of the Balkan and Mediterranean frontiers and the Islamic intellectual sphere. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Sultanic Saviors

with Marc Baer hosted by Zeinab Azarbadegan | The expulsion of Sephardic Jews from the Iberian Peninsula and their arrival in the Ottoman Empire thereafter changed the relationship of Jewish communities to the Ottoman dynasty. The history of Ottoman Jews would become part and parcel of a narrative that contrasted the Ottoman Empire's beneficence and tolerance with the anti-Semitism of other European societies. Yet as Marc Baer explains in this second part of a two-part conversation, the image of "Sultanic saviors" became entangled with the denial not only of anti-Semitism in Turkey but also of violence against Christians in the late Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide. Adopting a history of emotions approach, Baer explores the reasons for the erasure of violence and persecution in the memory of the Ottoman Empire's relationship with Christians and Jews and uses the sentiments that animate this historiography and memory as a starting point for a way forward. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Bulgarian Muslims between Empire and Nation

Episode 518 with Milena Methodieva hosted by Andreas Guidi and Jovo Miladinović In 1878, following the Congress of Berlin, Bulgaria became a de facto independent principality. Not anymore under Ottoman rule, the Muslims of Bulgaria navigated this political shift by redefining their place as a minority of a nation-state. The community underwent a political polarization between traditional notables and a group pushing for reforms within Muslim institutions. In this episode, we discuss how these reformists engaged with state and nation-building in Bulgaria by highlighting their connections with the broader Muslim world. Not only did Bulgarian Muslims contribute to the rise of the Young Turk movement, they were also part of a transnational space in which intellectuals and activists debated issues such as the place of Islam in modern society, the value of education, and the question of political relationship with non-Muslim rulers. This episode is cross-listed with The Southeast Passage. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

İtikadın Peşinde: Osmanlı Bürokratları ve Amerikan Misyonerleri

Emrah Şahin Sunucu: Can Gümüş | Amerikalı misyonerlerin Osmanlı Devleti sınırlarındaki faaliyetlerini incelemek, İslam ve Hristiyan dünyası ilişkilerine dair yaygın kabuller hakkında bize ne anlatır? Osmanlı Devleti sınırları dahilindeki misyoner varlığını tespit, teftiş ve tahdid etmek amacıyla hangi yöntemlere başvurmuş, bu süreç aktörler arasında ne gibi gerilimlere yol açmıştır? Bu bölümde Emrah Şahin ile ”İtikadın Peşinde: Osmanlı Bürokratları ve Amerikan Misyonerleri” kitabı odağında Amerikan misyonerlerinin Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nda bıraktığı mirası ve devlet erkanı ile misyonerler arasındaki çok katmanlı ilişkiyi değerlendiriyoruz. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Muslim Communities of Medieval Gujarat

with Jyoti Balachandran hosted by Shireen Hamza | How did Sufis shape the identity of Gujarat, a region in northwest India? Gujarat is best known for its ancient port cities and its connectivity to the broader Indian Ocean world. It is also the site of some of the oldest Muslim settlements in the Indian subcontinent. In this interview, Jyoti Balachandran traces the way Sufi saints and communities settled the region in the fifteenth century, with lasting impacts for Gujarat's regional identity. Taking us on a tour of the vast Sarkhej tomb complex outside Ahmedabad where Sufis and Sultans are buried side by side, and through a variety of historical texts from the Sultanate to the Mughal periods, Balachandran explores the many layers of this story of Muslim belonging. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Dear Palestine

  with Shay Hazkani hosted by Sam Dolbee | The 1948 War resulted in the creation of the state of Israel and the Nakba of 750,000 Palestinian refugees. In Dear Palestine, Shay Hazkani sheds new light on these events through a unique source base: hundreds of personal letters secretly copied by an Israeli censorship apparatus. We talk in this episode both about his struggle to access these materials and the subversive truths that they reveal, including everything from Moroccan Jewish volunteers who felt solidarity with Arabs to Palestinian refugees who attempted to care for and return to their homes in the immediate aftermath of the conflict. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Osman of Timisoara: Prisoner of the Infidels

with Giancarlo Casale hosted by Brittany White | Osman of Timișoara was a Muslim subject of the Ottoman Empire born during the late 17th century in modern-day Romania. As a young man serving in the Ottoman military, he was captured by the Habsburg army. He would spend more than a decade as a captive in Austria. Many people of his time had similar stories. What made Osman special was that he left behind a rare autobiographical account of his experiences and exploits. In our conversation with Giancarlo Casale about his translation of Osman’s memoir entitled Prisoner of the Infidels, we’ll explore the similarities among experiences of enslavement in the Ottoman and Habsburg lands and learn how Osman positioned himself as a linguistic and later diplomatic go-between. And through the life of Osman, his account of his own efforts to return to the Ottoman Empire, and the momentous events he witnessed, we will reflect on his autobiography as a work of literature and the messages contained within it. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Circassian Diaspora

with Şölen Şanlı Vasquez hosted by Brittany White | Over the course its final decades, millions of Muslim immigrants, many of them refugees of war and Russian conquest, settled in the Ottoman Empire. Between a quarter and a third of people in Turkey today have ancestors who arrived with those migrations. Yet their history often stops short of capturing the personal experiences of such people, what was erased, and what they have sought to preserve. In this episode, we speak with sociologist Şölen Şanlı Vasquez about how to write a more empathetic history of migration in Turkey through the lens of the Circassian diaspora. For her, this history is not just the story of how people from the North Caucasus were expelled from one empire and settled in an another. It is also a personal story about continuity, rupture, and recovery within the families of immigrants across generations and continents. Through a conversation about her ongoing research project called "The Home Within," we explore the themes of family, gender, ethnicity, race, and erasure --- not only in Turkey --- but across contexts of migration and displacement in the US and elsewhere. And we also reflect on the importance of public history that makes these issues relevant and relatable to a wider audience. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Rewriting the Black Death

with Monica Green hosted by Chris Gratien | For years, the historiography of the 14th-century Black Death produced more questions than answers. Then, roughly a decade ago, genomic research confirmed that the medieval Black Death was caused by the same bacteria, Yersinia pestis, which causes the modern bubonic plague. This settled the burning question of precisely which disease had caused the pandemic that produced colossal mortality in many parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. In this episode, we speak to Monica H. Green, whose recent work has raised new questions about the Black Death by showing that the chronology of the Black Death was incomplete. As she explains, prior outbreaks of plague in 13th-century Asia occurred at the edges of the ascendant Mongol Empire, roughly a century before the plague arrived in Western Europe. In our conversation, we learn how Green uncovered the new story of the "four Black Deaths" and in doing so, explore the historiography of the Black Death and how genetics, archaeology, and a fresh approach to textual sources have brought us to a deeper understand of one of history's deadliest pandemics. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Origins of Ottoman History

with Rudi Lindner hosted by Joshua White & Maryam Patton | Among the most murky periods of the Ottoman dynasty's six-century history is the period of its very emergence in medieval Anatolia. In this episode, we talk to Rudi Lindner about his attempts to understand this early period of Ottoman history and the development of hypotheses and methods concerning the investigation of Ottoman origins over the past century of scholarship. We also reflect on what decades of research and teaching have taught Lindner about sources for history and the questions they require us to ask. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Politics of Mass Violence

with Laura Robson hosted by Sam Dolbee and Deren Ertaş | Depictions of the Middle East as a space of timeless violence pervade media, popular culture, and scholarship. In The Politics of Mass Violence in the Middle East, Laura Robson offers a rejoinder to such misconceptions while providing a historical explanation of these distinctly modern forms of violence in greater Syria and Iraq, also known as the Mashriq. In this episode, we discuss how a new kind of territoriality in the late nineteenth century combined with imperialist interventions to transform violence into a way of making political claims through the twentieth century and up to the present across the region. We additionally talk about historical research and writing more generally, and how Robson’s past as a trained pianist has shaped her work. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Many Lives of Waqf in Beirut

with Nada Moumtaz hosted by Susanna Ferguson | The waqf, often translated as "endowment," is a critical player in the story of urban landscapes, charitable giving, property management, and religion in the Islamic world. But what is a waqf? In this episode, Nada Moumtaz uncovers the many lives of waqf in the city of Beirut, from Ottoman times until the present. We talk about waqfs as buildings, processes, acts, and investments. We see how the story of waqf illuminates central features of the modern state while blurring boundaries between family life and public life, religion and business, charity and investment, past and future, and human and divine. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Layers of History in Downtown Beirut

with Rayya Haddad | The modern history of Beirut has been defined by periods of intense construction, destruction, and reconstruction. In this episode, we explore the layers of history in Beirut's cityscape through a walking tour with Rayya Haddad. We chart Beirut's transformation from its rise as a late Ottoman capital through the expansion of the port during the French Mandate period, its golden age as a commercial center in independent Lebanon during the 1950s and 60s, the long civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990, and the postwar reconstruction carried out by the company Solidere. We also explore the history of Beit Beirut, a unqiue building designed by Youssef Aftimus--Beirut's foremost architect of the late Ottoman and French Mandate period--from its Mediterranean revivalist origins to its redesign as a sniper's haven during the war, ending with its rescue and renovation by activists in recent decades. We conclude with some thoughts on what this layered history of the city means for the new layer of destruction and reconstruction created by the port explosion during August 2020. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Galata and the Early Modern Mediterranean World

with Fariba Zarinebaf hosted by Sam Dolbee and Nir Shafir | In this episode, Fariba Zarinebaf discusses the history of Galata and the early modern Mediterranean more broadly. Beginning with the incorporation of Galata's Genoese community of Istanbul under Ottoman rule in 1453, Zarinebaf explains how the treaties known as the capitulations (ahdname in Turkish) provided a durable framework for commercial exchange and pluralistic everyday life in Ottoman port cities. She also considers how these arrangements compared with commerce and life in non-Ottoman Mediterranean ports. Through a focus on French-Ottoman relations, Zarinebaf offers a glimpse of how treaties become involved in changing economic fortunes in the Mediterranean and the world. She also attends to how these economic patterns shaped the more intimate aspects of social life in Galata, closing with the impact of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt on the French community of Galata. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Refik Halit: A Life of Opposition

with Christine Philliou hosted by Sam Dolbee and Brittany White | Refik Halit Karay (1889-1965) was a writer, bureaucrat, and political exile whose life spanned the end of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. Christine Philliou traces his life as well as a genealogy of political opposition more broadly in her new book Turkey: A Past Against History. Following Refik Halit between his exiles in Sinop, Syria, and elsewhere as well as his momentous encounter with Mustafa Kemal in the Telegraph Episode, Philliou sheds light on the complicated transition between empire and nation. She also grapples with the challenge of telling history based on the voluminous and often satirical musings of a figure himself deeply invested in interpreting the past. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Devrimin Karaborsası: Balkan Komitacıları, Teknoloji ve Şiddet

Ramazan Hakkı Öztan Sunucu: Can Gümüş | 19. yüzyılın ikinci yarısında, dinamit gibi patlayıcıların icadı ile küresel düzeyde oluşan küçük silah fazlası Osmanlı Balkanlarındaki devrimcileri hangi bakımlardan güçlendirdi? Osmanlı Devleti, imparatorluk karşıtı eylemleri kolaylaştıran bu "devrim karaborsası"nı hangi yöntemleri kullanarak kontrol etmeye çalıştı? Bu bölümde, Dr. Ramazan Hakkı Öztan ile geç Osmanlı Balkanlarında devrimcilik, şiddet ve teknoloji ilişkisini, meselenin küresel politik ekonomi boyutunu da dikkate alarak değerlendiriyoruz. Devrimci şiddetin kavramsallaştırılması ve ideolojilerin devrimci siyasetteki önemini eleştirel olarak ele alırken, bu alandaki arşiv kaynaklarının nasıl incelenebileceğini de örneklerle tartışıyoruz. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Environmental Origins of Ottoman Iraq

with Faisal Husain hosted by Chris Gratien | The Ottoman conquests of the 16th century represented a watershed moment in many senses. Our guest Faisal Husain explains the most literal of these senses: the unification of the Tigris and Euphrates basins under a single political authority and its ramifications for the history of Iraq. In our conversation, we explore how Ottoman rule in Iraq created new ecological possibilities and realities, setting the stage for momentous interventions in the rivers detailed in Husain's recent book Rivers of the Sultan: The Tigris and Euphrates in the Ottoman Empire. We also reflect on what Iraq reveals about Ottoman history writ large and the empire's dualist historical identity as an agrarian empire on one hand and flexible one on the other, in which accommodating local ecological difference was critical to governance. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Conversion and Jewish Histories of the Ottoman Empire

with Marc Baer hosted by Zeinab Azarbadegan | In this first part of a two-part interview, we talk to Marc Baer about how he first became interested in Ottoman history and explore the main themes and the questions underpinning the research in his five books. In this conversation, we place special focus on the books Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe and The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks. Our discussion centers on approaches to the subject of conversion in the Ottoman Empire and the history of the dönme community born out of the transformations of the 17th century. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Portraits of Unbelonging

with Zeynep Gürsel | The Ottoman archives contain just over a hundred photographs that look like old family portraits, but they were created for an entirely different purpose. They document the renunciation of Ottoman nationality, "terk-i tabiiyet," by Armenian emigrants bound for the US and elsewhere. As our guest Zeynep Devrim Gürsel explains, these photographs were "anticipatory arrest warrants for a crime yet to be committed"--the crime of returning to the Ottoman Empire. Gürsel's research goes far beyond the story of the small number of photographs that remain as she has documented over four thousand individuals who went through the process of "terk-i tabiiyet." In this Ottoman History Podcast-AnthroPod collaboration, we talk to Gürsel about her research project on the production, circulation and afterlives of these photographs titled "Portraits of Unbelonging." It is a double-sided history that explores not only the context of Armenian migration and policing during the late Ottoman period but also the experiences of those pictured and their descendants following their departure from the Ottoman Empire. (Recorded August 2019) This episode is dedicated to the memory of Mary Lou Savage (née Khantamour). « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Ottoman Mecca and the Indian Ocean Hajj

with Michael Christopher Low hosted by Sam Dolbee | In the Hijaz, the Ottoman Empire managed not only Mecca and Medina--the two holiest cities in Islam--but also port cities of the Red Sea with connections to the Indian Ocean and beyond. In this episode, Michael Christopher Low explains how the empire ruled this region as the hajj transformed thanks to steam travel in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. While European colonial anxieties about the hajj focused on epidemic disease and subversive politics, Ottoman concerns centered on the legal status of the region and its infrastructural networks. Although projects such as the Hijaz Railway are often understood as manifestations of Abdulhamid II's commitment to pan-Islam, Low suggests that these measures were more accurately a product of emerging technocratic forms of Ottoman governance. He also discusses continuities with the Saudi state. Low's book is Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj.  « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Ottoman Port Cities of the Modern Mediterranean

Episode 500 with Malte Fuhrmann hosted by Andreas Guidi and Zeynep Ertuğrul At the turn of the twentieth century, Ottoman port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean were sites of vibrant cultural encounters. While infrastructural innovations at docks and quays reshaped the urban waterfront, the inhabitants of Izmir, Istanbul, and Salonica engaged with new forms of entertainment arriving from Europe. Operas, balls, and beerhouses changed the way people mingled and interpreted coexistence and diversity in their urban environment. Migrants from Europe and from the hinterlands of major port cities created an original form of Ottoman Mediterranean modernity. This cosmopolitan urban culture was alluring and festive but also had its discontents, who denounced it as decadent and servile to European imperialism. Exploring the everyday life of late Ottoman port cities reveals an effervescent lapse of time in which notions such as modernity, Europe, empire, and nation could be experienced in manifold ways, before the major conflicts of the twentieth century gave a fatal blow to Mediterranean urban diversity. This episode is cross-listed with The Southeast Passage. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Maghreb in the Gramophone Era

with Christopher Silver | The history of North Africa is usually framed by the period of French colonialism and the era of independent nations that followed. But what happens if we let an object like the 78 rpm record do the work of periodization? In this episode, we talk to Christopher Silver about the unique vantage point that gramophone records offer on the emergence of national culture in the Maghreb during the first half of the 20th century. We will explore the work of artists whose lives straddled Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco as well as the colonial metropoles, and we will highlight the role of North African Jewish singers, musicians, producers, and promoters in the development of the region's music industry. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Stage Turk in Early Modern English Drama

with Ambereen Dadabhoy hosted by Maryam Patton and Chris Gratien | William Shakespeare's lifetime overlapped with the height of Ottoman prowess on the world stage, which is partly why so many Turkish characters graced the Elizabethan stage during the 16th and 17th centuries. As our guest Ambereen Dadabhoy explains, the representations of "Turks" and "Moors" in early modern English drama offer a window onto conceptions of race in Europe before the modern period. In this conversation, Dadabhoy shares her experience writing and teaching about race in early modern English literature, and we reflect on the value of Shakespeare for charting connections and transformations in conceptions of Muslim societies from Shakespeare's time to the present. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Musical Archives of the Midwest Mahjar

with Richard Breaux | Richard Breaux needed a hobby. He began collecting 78 rpm records as a break from his work as a professor of Ethnic and Racial Studies at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. But when he stumbled upon a trove of Arabic language records at an estate sale, his hobby became a scholarly project of its own to document and reconstruct the history of the Arab diaspora in La Crosse, Wisconsin and the Greater Midwestern United States. In this episode, we talk about the history of early 78 rpm Arabic records in the United States, the people who owned them, and the story of a forgotten center of the Midwest Mahjar. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Recovering God's Intent in the Modern Age

with Monica Ringer hosted by Matthew Ghazarian | What is Islamic modernism, and how did authors of this movement position themselves vis-á-vis other 19th century intellectual movements? In this episode, we examine how Islamic modernism was more than a product of 19th century social and political reforms or even an attempt at using Islamic language to justify such reforms. Rather, Islamic modernism was a substantive theological reform movement, fueled by the belief that God's intent could be recovered through correct and contextual readings of the past. As a result, Islamic modernists helped give rise not only to new understandings of Islam but also to new understandings of history. In our discussion, we draw on Dr. Ringer's book Islamic Modernism and the Re-enchantment of the Sacred in the Age of History out from Edinburgh University Press in 2020. In it, she takes up the work of four authors from across Eurasia: Namık Kemal from the Ottoman Empire, Ataullah Bayezidof from the Russian Empire, Syed Amir Ali from British India, and Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, who spent his formative years in Iran. Although they shared a religion, it was much more Islam that tied their ideas together. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Paraskevi Kyrias, Albania, and the US at the Paris Peace Conference

with Nevila Pahumi hosted by Susanna Ferguson | In 1919, Paraskevi Kyrias went to Paris to advocate for Albanian independence. As a woman in the overwhelmingly masculine space of international diplomacy, she faced sexism and unwanted romantic overtures. Nevertheless, she called on her connections within a global Protestant community, her life in diaspora in the United States, and her experiences at the elite Constantinople Girls' School to play a unique role in the Albanian campaign for independence after World War I. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Nevila Pahumi about Kyrias' story, her leadership of the early Albanian women's movement, and the diary of her experiences in Paris she left behind. We also trace the history of this remarkable woman after 1919, as she and her family were repudiated by a secularizing Albanian state determined to exise Protestant activism from their national history -- until she was once again remade as a feminist icon in the last years of her life. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Early Modern Islamic World

narrated by Chris Gratien featuring Mohamad Ballan, Joshua White, Zoe Griffith, Aslıhan Gürbüzel, Neelam Khoja, Fahad Bishara, Jeannie Miller, and Maryam Patton | Across the 14th to 17th centuries, significant political transformation occurred in the Islamic world. Muslim al-Andalus was conquered and largely erased by the Christian kingdoms of Iberia, and the Byzantine Empire was absorbed and conquered by the Ottoman Empire. By the beginning of the 17th century, much of the Islamic world was controlled by three major empires, the Ottomans, the Safavids, and the Mughals, who combined a long tradition of Turco-Persian culture and Islamic statecraft with the military organization of post-Mongol societies and new possibilities created by the adoption of firearms. The empires they built laid the foundation for the societies of the modern period. In this episode, we detail the momentous rises and fall that accompanied the early modern period in the Islamic world. Beginning with itinerant scholar-statesmen like Ibn Khaldun, we explore how the Islamic world was changing during the period following the Black Death of the mid-14th century. We cover the gradual erasure of al-Andalus as well as the rise of the Ottomans and their rivalry with the Safavids of Iran. We also detial the life of Babur and the Mughal Empire his descendants built, and we consider the enduring status of the Indian Ocean as a "Muslim lake." We conclude with a reflection on how the intellectual developments of the early modern period built on medieval legacies. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Rumi's World

narrated by Chris Gratien featuring Joshua White, Neelam Khoja, Aslıhan Gürbüzel, and Maryam Patton | The political expansion of the Umayyad and Abbasid periods brought a wide range of territories into the Islamic fold. By the end of the 9th century, the Abbasid Empire could no longer exert central authority over its vast caliphate. Semi-autonomous governors throughout the Islamic world would gradually form their own dynasties. In the eastern portion of the Islamic world, this resulted in the rise of a number of Persian and Turkic dynasties that rather than displacing the Arabo-Islamic culture of early Islam, fused it with a Persianate tradition of statecraft, literature, and scholarship. In this episode, we're exploring the Turco-Persian dynasties of the 9th-13th centuries. We'll discuss the works of scholars like Ibn Sina, Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, and Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi and their far-reaching impacts in the Islamic world and beyond. In addition to examining the evolution of Islamic polities, we'll shed light on the rise of Sufism and how it tied the new regions of the Islamic world together. We'll call that world "Rumi's world" after the 13th century mystic, scholar, and poet who was born in Khorasan but rose to fame in the newly conquered lands of the Seljuk Empire in Anatolia. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Zeinab's Odyssey: Gender, Mobility, and the Mahjar

Episode 478 with Randa Tawil hosted by Chris Gratien How do social categories like gender and race impact migrant trajectories as they move through different imperial, national, and liminal spaces? In this episode, we explore this question through the incredible journey of Zeinab Ameen, one of many Syrian migrants featured in the work of our guest Randa Tawil. Zeinab Ameen was born in late Ottoman Lebanon. Like hundreds of thousands of other people of her generation in the Ottoman Empire, she and her family decided to emigrate to America during the early 20th century. The result was a tale of tribulation that spans more than three decades. In telling Zeinab’s story, we’ll visit a number of other global ports, including Marseille, Liverpool, New York City, and Veracruz. We’ll also visit both land borders of the United States--the Canadian border and the Mexican border, as well as the Midwest, one of the great centers of the Syrian-American mahjar. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Travel Images Between Europe and the Ottoman Empire

Episode 473 with Elisabeth Fraser hosted by Emily Neumeier For centuries, people have been documenting their travels with images, which purportedly function as visual evidence for someone’s experience far from home. This was no less the case for Europeans touring through Ottoman lands, who created a whole industry selling pictures from their time abroad. In this episode, Elisabeth Fraser explains how Western European artists at the turn of the eighteenth century began to create a new type of popular media, the illustrated travel volume. But these were not small guide books to tuck away in your pocket, they were large-scale luxury publications for the discerning armchair traveler. The enormous size and high production quality of these books and the accompanying images means that they were not the work of a single person but rather a large team of artists. Reflecting on these questions of authenticity, Dr. Fraser discusses how her research aims to take up a more nuanced view of the complexities of cross-cultural encounter. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Life and Times of Sultan Selim I

Episode 472 with Alan Mikhail hosted by Sam Dolbee Sultan Selim I is well known for the conquests he pursued that brought places like Cairo, Damascus, and Mecca into the Ottoman Empire. But in this episode, we're exploring the life and times of Selim I in an entirely new light by placing the Islamic world at the center of the momentous events of the turn of the 16th century. We talk with historian Alan Mikhail about his new book God's Shadow: Sultan Selim, His Ottoman Empire, and the Making of the Modern World. We discuss the events and developments that led to Selim's rise as well as the ignored centrality of Islam in the imagination of the early European explorers of the Americas and thinkings of the Protestant Reformation.   « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

David Ohannessian: Art, Exile, and the Legacies of Genocide

Episode 471 with Sato Moughalian hosted by Sam Dolbee David Ohannessian is one of the foremost pioneers of the ceramic styles associated today with the city of Jerusalem, but the remarkable story of how he ended up there has never been properly told. Born in 1884 outside of Eskişehir (modern-day Turkey), David Ohannessian became a master in the iconic Kütahya style of Ottoman ceramics. He worked on important architectural projects of the Ottoman government, only to be deported during the Armenian Genocide. He managed to survive, however, and continued his craft afterward in Jerusalem, where he became involved with restoration of the Dome of the Rock and opened his own ceramics studio in the Old City. Yet the past stayed with him, especially the weight of his experience during the genocide. In this episode, Sato Moughalian discusses Feast of Ashes, her recent biography of Ohannessian. She also talks about his story's personal resonance for her as Ohannessian's granddaughter. His artistic persistence provided a model of resilience to emulate in her own art, but the violence and displacement experienced by Ohannessian and his family also left a legacy of secrets and complicated grief in Moughalian's life that was long felt but seldom addressed.  « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Shibli Nomani's Urdu Travelogue of the Ottoman Empire

Episode 468 with Gregory Maxwell Bruce hosted by Zoe Griffith In 1892, the renowned Islamic scholar and educator Shibli Nomani traveled to the Ottoman Empire, where he visited cities in modern-day Turkey, Syria, and Egypt. His travelogue, entitled Safarnāmah-i Rūm o Miṣr o Shām, was published in the Urdu language within his own lifetime. In this episode, we talk to Gregory Maxwell Bruce, the author of an annotated translation of Shibli's travelogue, which has been recently published by Syracuse University Press. In our conversation, we delve into the process of translating the travelogue and explore the South-South connections between South Asia and the Middle East revealed by Shibli Nomani's relationships and contacts during his travels in the Ottoman Empire. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Economic Roots of Modern Sudan

Episode 466 with Alden Young hosted by Chris Gratien As a site of recent civil wars, ethnic cleansing, and genocide, Sudan's history is often framed by violence. In this podcast, our guest Alden Young offers an alternative framing of Sudan's modern history, as we discuss Sudan's economy and its relationship to the broader Middle East from the 19th century onward. We discuss Sudan's unique experience of colonialism under Ottoman/Egyptian rule and how the issue of slavery intensified as Sudan's ties to Egypt and the broader Ottoman world intensified during the 19th century. We also discuss how colonial planners slowly reoriented Sudan's economy towards agricultural export and away from pastoralism. We explore the Gezira scheme, a long foretold irrigation project that would become the centerpiece of Sudanese economic development after independence during the 1950s. And we consider the fate of the class of Sudanese economists and technocrats who straddled the late colonial and postcolonial periods. At the bottom of this post, we also offer an activity module for university classrooms based on this podcast, a documentary about the Gezira scheme from the 1950s, and the novel Season of Migration to the North by Sudanese author Tayeb Salih. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Mementos from Habsburg Life in Ottoman Istanbul

Episode 465 with Robyn Dora Radway hosted by Emily Neumeier What was it like to be a foreigner living in Ottoman Istanbul? In this episode, our guest Robyn Dora Radway answers this question by providing an in-depth look at an unusual type of document: alba amicorum, or friendship albums, which were essentially the social media of the sixteenth century. Produced in the Habsburg embassy (aka the “German House"), these albums functioned like yearbooks in that the owners residing in the embassy would strive to collect all manner of mementos from their time abroad, including signatures, poems, short anecdotes, and even drawings and paintings. At the German House, men from all walks of life would end up assembling their own album amicorum, from the Habsburg ambassador to the cook (who was quite popular and had the largest album by far). We discuss how these albums can thus serve as a valuable resource for historians, as they offer a full picture of the social makeup of these kinds of diplomatic spaces—information that does not often turn up in more traditional archives. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Cemal Kafadar Between Past and Present, Part 1

Episode 464 with Cemal Kafadar hosted by Maryam Patton, Chris Gratien, and Sam Dolbee In part one of our interview with Cemal Kafadar, we discuss his intellectual influences in the broadest sense, ranging from the Balkan accents of the Istanbul neighborhood in which he grew up to his early interest in theater and film. Kafadar talks about key events that shaped his worldview, including the Vietnam War and the Iranian Revolution. He also touches on the works of history and literature that inspired him, as well as his first archival forays in the shadow of the 1980 military coup. And in closing, he brings up a question that nagged him from the beginning: "do we do what we do to understand, or do what we do to change the world?" We'll speak more about that question in part two of this interview, coming soon. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Journeys of Ottoman Greek Music

Episode 463 with Panayotis League hosted by Chris Gratien What is Greek music? For our guest Panayotis League, it's no one thing. Rather, it is diversity that defines the many regional musical traditions of Greece and the broader Greek diaspora. In this episode, we discuss League's ethnomusicological research on Greek music in diaspora, and we explore the history and transformation of Ottoman Greek music before and after the exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece. As League explains, Greek music in the Ottoman Empire was inextricably linked to the musical traditions of neighboring Turkish, Armenian, and Sephardic communities. However, the First World War, the Second Greco-Turkish War, and the exchange of populations that sent the entire Greek Orthodox population of Anatolia to Greece eliminated spaces of intercommunality where Ottoman music thrived. In our conversation, we discuss how the intercommunal music of the Ottoman Empire survived in Greece among exchanged people who pioneered the new rebetiko style that would reshape Greek popular music. We also discuss how the music of Ottoman Greeks fit into a larger diasporic communal dynamic in places like the United States. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Singing the Prophet's Praise

Episode 462 with Oludamini Ogunnaike hosted by Shireen Hamza Reading and writing poems in praise of the prophet Mohammad is no simple matter in West Africa. Their composition was a vehicle for intellectual debate, just as their recitation was a means of spiritual transformation for the listener. In this episode, we speak to Dr. Oludamini Ogunnaike, the author of a recent book about praise or "madih" poetry in West Africa, and we listen to recordings of several recitations. Madih poetry is widely recited by Muslims in West Africa; we learn of several major authors from the 18th century to now, including Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse and Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba. Professor Ogunnaike explains the complex Sufi cosmologies and epistemologies intrinsic to the memorization and recitation of madih poetry, which make this such a powerful and widespread practice in Muslim communities. Finally, we discuss why these poems -- manuscripts of which can be found in every collection in West Africa -- remain so little studied. While part of this can be explained by the colonial legacy of considering Islam to be essentially Arab, and thus a foreign importation to Africa, there are other epistemological issues at stake. Professor Ogunnaike's work thus broadens our understanding of a form of embodied knowledge in Islam. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Music and Silence in the Armenian Diaspora

Episode 461 with Sylvia Angelique Alajaji hosted by Sam Dolbee Music, at its best, can give us a reason to live. In this episode, Sylvia Alajaji discusses how in the wake of the Armenian Genocide, music not only served this function for Armenians, but also opened up broader questions about how to define what it meant to be Armenian. Drawing from her book Music and the Armenian Diaspora, she traces the Armenian musical cultures that emerged over a century from New York to Beirut to California. On one hand, the diaspora sought to preserve the folk music of Ottoman Armenian communities destroyed and scattered throughout the First World War and its aftermath. Meanwhile, in new homes like Beirut, Armenian artists began to create new musical forms in which the use of Armenian language was more crucial than the particularities of music style. At the same time, the memory of Ottoman Armenian music in the Turkish language that arrived in places like the United States with the first waves of migrant began to fade as the Armenian diaspora grew more distant from its origins in what is modern Turkey. For Alajaji these acts of preservation, creation, erasure, and recovery all are part of what music means to the Armenian diaspora. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Science in Early Modern Istanbul

Episode 456 with Harun Küçük hosted by Sam Dolbee and Zoe Griffith What did science look like in early modern Istanbul? In this episode, Harun Küçük discusses his new book, Science without Leisure: Practical Naturalism in Istanbul, 1660-1732 (University of Pittsburgh Press), which tackles this question in a bold fashion. Tracing the impact of late seventeenth and early eighteenth transformations of the Ottoman economy, Küçük argues that the material conditions of scholars greatly deteriorated in this period. The changes did not, however, stop people from wanting to know about the world, but rather reoriented their work toward more practical applications of science. Küçük contrasts these conditions with those in some parts of northwestern Europe, where a more leisurely version of science--often theoretically inclined--emerged. He also grapples with the parallels between educational institutions in the early modern period and today.    « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Plague in the Ottoman World

Episode 455 featuring Nükhet Varlık, Yaron Ayalon, Orhan Pamuk, Lori Jones, Valentina Pugliano, and Edna Bonhomme narrated by Chris Gratien and Maryam Patton with contributions by Nir Shafir, Sam Dolbee, Tunç Şen, and Andreas Guidi The plague is caused by a bacteria called Yersinia pestis, which lives in fleas that in turn live on rodents. Coronavirus is not the plague. Nonetheless, we can find many parallels between the current pandemic and the experience of plague for people who lived centuries ago. This special episode of Ottoman History Podcast brings together lessons from our past episodes on plague and disease in the early modern Mediterranean. Our guests offer state of the art perspectives on the history of plague in the Ottoman Empire, and many of their observations may also be useful for thinking about epidemics in the present day.   « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Indian Ocean Exchange in Early Modern Yemen

Episode 453 with Nancy Um hosted by Zoe Griffith The Red Sea port of Mocha enjoyed ties with London, Amsterdam, Surat, and Jakarta in the eighteenth century. But not all of the ivory, porcelain, and coffee that passed through Mocha was sold for a profit. In this episode, Nancy Um brings the eye of an art historian to the history of exchange and diplomacy in the early modern Indian Ocean, focusing on the ceremonies and gift exchanges that legitimated and lubricated English and Dutch trade with Yemen’s Qasimi rulers. Gift-giving was far more than an annoyance to the major overseas merchants in Mocha. We explore how “promiscuous” objects became valuable beyond their price tag, allowing merchants to communicate across linguistic, religious, and cultural lines. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Freedom and Desire in Late Ottoman Erotica

Episode 448 with Burcu Karahan hosted by Suzie Ferguson Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud "One Thousand Kisses," "Plate of Cream," "Story of a Lily:" these are some of the provocative titles that graced the covers of Ottoman erotic novels in the early decades of the twentieth century. While erotic fiction and poetry had a long history in Ottoman and Arabic manuscript culture, the erotic novels of the second constitutional period (1908-1914), some creatively adapted from French originals, emerged in a period of unprecedented freedom for writers. Yet the novels themselves were often less explicit and transgressive than their their titles might suggest. In this episode, Burcu Karahan shows how, in late Ottoman fiction, stories about sex and desire celebrated not only sexual freedom, but also conservative fantasies about male sexual power and the power of heterosexual love. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Mediterranean in the Age of Global Piracy

Episode 446 featuring Emrah Safa Gürkan, Joshua White, and Daniel Hershenzon narrated by Chris Gratien with contributions by Nir Shafir, Taylor Moore, Susanna Ferguson, and Zoe Griffith Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Piracy is often depicted as a facet of the wild, lawless expanses of the high seas. But in this episode, we explore the order that governed piracy, captivity, and ransom in the early modern Mediterranean and in turn, how these practices shaped early modern politics, Mediterranean connections, and the emergent notions of international law. Emrah Safa Gürkan talks about Ottoman corsairs and the practicalities of piracy in the early modern Mediterranean. Joshua White discusses facets of Islamic law and gender in the realm of piracy. And Daniel Hershenzon explores the paradoxical connections forged by slavery, captivity, and ransom on both sides of the Mediterranean.  « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Mystical Turn in Ottoman Political Thought

Episode 444 with Hüseyin Yılmaz hosted by Nir Shafir and Alp Eren Topal Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In medieval Anatolia, political authority could be found in surprising places. In this podcast, we speak to Hüseyin Yılmaz about the political role of Sufi leaders in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. We explore how these shaykhs could become powerful political leaders in their own right and how the nascent Ottoman state dealt with their power, ultimately participating in what Yılmaz calls "the mystical turn" in Ottoman political thought. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Afghanistan's Constitution and the Ottoman Empire

Episode 443 with Faiz Ahmed hosted by Shireen Hamza and Huma Gupta Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In this episode, Professor Faiz Ahmed recounts the fascinating history of Afghanistan’s first modern constitution, contextualizing it within a broader legal and political history. The constitution was developed by Afghan, Ottoman and Indian and other scholars, at the behest of the country’s monarch, between 1919-1925. After the first world war, Afghanistan was one of few sovereign Muslim countries. This was one factor which drew many scholars and activists to the court of Amanullah Khan — a “Young Afghan,” graduate of an Ottoman institution in Kabul, and a Muslim modernizer. We learn about the role of figures like Queen Soraya, her father Mahmud Tarzi, and myriad scholars and jurists in shaping the constitution. We discuss the nature of the constitution as a living document, which acknowledges its place within an Islamic legal heritage — as well as the fact that the constitution will evolve. Professor Ahmed also reads from one section of the constitution, which determines “Who is an Afghan?,” and shares his translation. We also learn how the history of the constitution is remembered in Afghanistan today. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Language, Power, and Law in the Ottoman Empire

Episode 441 with Heather Ferguson hosted by Zoe Griffith Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In this episode, historian Heather Ferguson takes us behind the scenes of early modern Ottoman state-making with a discussion of her recent book The Proper Order of Things. We discuss how the architecture of Topkapı palace, the emergence of new bureaucratic practices, and the administration of space from Hungary to Lebanon projected early modern discourses of “order” that were crucial to imperial legitimacy, governance, and dissent. Heather also offers rare insights into the challenges, vulnerabilities, and victories of transforming a dissertation into a prize-winning book manuscript. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Ottoman Children and the First World War

Episode 440 with Nazan Maksudyan hosted by Chris Gratien Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Children are often imagined as victims of war or passive bystanders. But in this episode, Nazan Maksudyan is back on the program to talk about how the First World War looked through the eyes of Ottoman children and their lives as historical actors during and after the conflict. We explore the experience of child workers and the many situations faced by children throughout the war, and we also explore the themes of survival and resilience as expressed in the experience of children, especially Ottoman Armenians. We also discuss the challenges of writing amid a tumultuous period for Turkey and an experience of exile.  « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

A Political Biography of Talaat Pasha

Episode 435 with Hans-Lukas Kieser hosted by Graham Auman Pitts and Önder Eren Akgül Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud World War I and along with it the life of Talaat Pasha, who headed the Ottoman Ministry of Interior and became empire’s Grand Vizier after 1917, remain contentious in Turkey today. Hans-Lukas Kieser, professor at Australia’s Newcastle University, has recently published a pioneering biography of Talaat Pasha, which casts him as the primary author of the Armenian Genocide and a founder of modern Turkey. In this episode, we sit down with Kieser to talk about this new book and the significance of Talaat Pasha not only for understanding the history of the late Ottoman Empire but also Europe during an era of extremes. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Family Papers and Ottoman Jewish Life After Empire

Episode 434 with Sarah Abrevaya Stein hosted by Sam Dolbee Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In this episode, historian Sarah Abrevaya Stein speaks to us about the journey of one Jewish family from Ottoman Salonica in the late nineteenth century to Manchester, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and beyond during the twentieth century. In her new book Family Papers, she reveals the poignant continuities and changes that accompanied the Sephardic family's movement from an imperial world into a national one through stories of displacement and genocide, endurance and survival. She also discusses the cache of family papers that allowed her to provide this uniquely intimate vantage on large-scale historical transformations. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Politics of Armenian Migration to North America

Episode 433 with David Gutman hosted by Sam Dolbee Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Beginning in the 1880s, thousands of Ottoman Armenians left the Harput region bound for places all around the world. The Ottoman state viewed these migrants as threats, both for their feared political connections and their possession of foreign legal protections. In this episode, David Gutman discusses the smuggling networks that emerged in response to these legal restrictions, as well as the evolving understandings of citizenship they entailed. Restrictions on movement were repealed after the Constitutional Revolution in 1908, but the respite from control of motion would be short-lived for Harput's Armenians, many of whom were killed in the genocide of 1915. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

How War Changed Ottoman Society

Episode 429 with Yiğit Akın hosted by Chris Gratien and Susanna Ferguson Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud World War I brought unprecedented destruction to the Ottoman Empire and resulted in its fall of as a political entity, but war also produced new politics. In this podcast, Yiğit Akın is back to talk about his book When the War Came Home and how years of war transformed the Ottoman Empire. We discuss how the experience of the 1912-13 Balkan Wars reshaped Ottoman officials' understanding of modern warfare and informed decisions taken during the First World War. We also discuss the social history of the war for ordinary Ottoman citizens and consider how the particularities of the Ottoman case reveal new insights about WWI and its legacy. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Social Networks in Ottoman Reform

Episode 427 with Yonca Köksal hosted by Matthew Ghazarian Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud How do social networks determine the results of government reform? In this episode we examine this quesiton during the Tanzimat reform era (1839-76) with historical sociologist Yonca Köksal. Her research focuses on the differing outcomes of the Tanzimat in two core provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Ankara and Edirne. Applying social network analysis to imperial correspondence and provincial petitions, Köksal shows how differing network structures could lead to different outcomes in government reforms, empowering local dynasties in some areas and giving rise to cross-confessional coalitions in others. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Medical Metaphors in Ottoman Political Thought

Episode 425 with Alp Eren Topal hosted by Susanna Ferguson and Sam Dolbee Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In this episode, Alp Eren Topal traces the history of medical metaphors for describing and diagnosing state and society in Ottoman political thought. From the balancing of humors prescribed by Galenic medicine to the lifespan of the state described by Ibn Khaldun and the germ theory of nineteenth-century biomedicine, we explore some of the ways people thought about the state and its health or illness in the early-modern and modern Mediterranean world. How did these metaphors and images change over time, and how did they inform the policies of the Empire and its rulers? « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Egypt, Libya, and the Desert Borderlands

Episode 423 with Matthew Ellis hosted by Zoe Griffith Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud When the Ottoman state granted the province of Egypt to the family of Mehmed Ali Pasha in the 19th century, neither party much cared where Egypt's western border lay. As Matthew Ellis argues in his book, Desert Borderland, sovereignty in the eastern Sahara, the expanse of desert spanning Egypt and Ottoman Libya, was not simply imposed by modern, centralized states. In this episode, we discuss the various groups and actors who complicated the question of borders and political identity in one of the least studied corners of Ottoman and Middle Eastern history. Conflict and negotiations between oasis dwellers, Ottoman bureaucrats, Egyptian royals, the Sanusi order, and colonial officials kept this territory unbounded until the border was ultimately drawn in 1925. How did modern states attempt to practice sovereignty and claim territory in this vast desert borderland? And how did local populations resist and assist in state-making in the decades surrounding the First World War? « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Population and Reproduction in the Late Ottoman Empire

Episode 421 with Gülhan Balsoy and Tuba Demirci hosted by Suzie Ferguson Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud How did the experience of pregnancy and childbirth change in the Ottoman Empire in the context of nineteenth-century reforms? In this episode, we discuss how the question of managing a "population" become a key concern for the Ottoman state, bringing new opportunities and difficulties for Ottoman mothers and midwives alike. Questions about childbirth also became enmeshed in late-imperial demographic and cultural anxieties about the relationship between the Empire and its non-Muslim populations. As pregnancy and childbirth drew the attention of medical men, state bureaucrats, and men and women writers in the emerging periodical press, new technologies, regulations, and forms of medical knowledge changed what it meant to give birth and raise a child. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Captivity and Ransom in Ottoman Law

Episode 420 with Will Smiley hosted by Zoe Griffith Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud How did an Irish-born Russian nobleman serving in the Russian army end up an Ottoman slave and valet to an Ottoman-Albanian officer? And what possibilities existed for his eventual release? In this episode, Will Smiley traces the history of Ottoman laws of captivity and ransom in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, showing how older practices of enslavement and ransom transformed into a new legal category of "prisoner of war" and shedding light on a path to modern international law that lies outside of Europe. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Good Poets & Bad Poetry at the Ottoman Court

Episode 416 with Sooyong Kim hosted by Nir Shafir and Elisabetta Benigni Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud What made for a good poet in the Ottoman Empire? It is a question that far too few historians tackle because Ottoman poetry, especially that of the court, is often regarded as inaccessible. In this podcast, Sooyong Kim brings to life the social world of Ottoman poets, focusing in particular on Zati, a poet plying his trade in the imperial court in the first half of the sixteenth century. We speak about how poets succeeded and failed and why Zati's successors erased him from the canon of good poetry. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

American Music of the Ottoman Diaspora

Episode 412 with Ian Nagoski hosted by Chris Gratien Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of people from the Ottoman Empire and post-Ottoman states emigrated to the U.S. Among them were musicians, singers, and artists who catered to the new diaspora communities that emerged in cities like New York and Boston. During the early 20th century, with the emergence of a commercial recording industry in the United States, these artists appeared on 78 rpm records that circulated within the diaspora communities of the former Ottoman Empire in the United States and beyond, singing in languages such as Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Armenian, Assyrian, Kurdish, and Ladino. Their music included folks songs from their homelands and new compositions about life and love in the diaspora. In this episode, Ian Nagoski of Canary Records joins the podcast to showcase some of these old recordings, which he has located and digitized over the years, and we discuss some of the remarkable life stories of these largely forgotten artists in American music history. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork


Episode 411 Produced and Narrated by Chris Gratien Episode Consultant: Devin Naar Series Consultant: Emily Pope-Obeda Script Editor: Sam Dolbee with additional contributions by Devi Mays, Claudrena Harold, Victoria Saker Woeste, Sam Negri, and Louis Negri Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Leo lived in New York City with his family. Born and educated in the cosmopolitan Ottoman capital of Istanbul, he was now part of the vibrant and richly-textured social fabric of America's largest metropolis as one one of the tens of thousands of Sephardic Jews who migrated to the US. Though he spoke four languages, Leo held jobs such as garbage collector and shoeshine during the Great Depression. Sometimes he couldn't find any work at all. But his woes were compounded when immigration authorities discovered he had entered the US using fraudulent documents. Yet Leo was not alone; his story was the story of many Jewish migrants throughout the world during the interwar era who saw the gates closing before them at every turn. Through Leo and his brush with deportation, we examine the history of the US as would-be refuge for Jews facing persecution elsewhere, highlight the indelible link between anti-immigrant policy and illicit migration, and explore transformations in the history of race in New York City through the history of Leo and his family. This episode is part of our investigative series Deporting Ottoman Americans. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Survivor Objects and the Lost World of Ottoman Armenians

Episode 407 with Heghnar Watenpaugh hosted by Emily Neumeier Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud The genre of biography usually applies to people, but could a similar approach be applied to an object? Can a thing have a life of its own? In this episode, Heghnar Watenpaugh explores this question by tracing the long journey of the Zeytun Gospels, a famous illuminated manuscript considered to be a masterpiece of medieval Armenian art. Protected for centuries in a remote church in eastern Anatolia, the sacred book traveled with the waves of people displaced by the Armenian genocide. Passed from hand to hand, caught in the chaos of the First World War, it was divided in two. Decades later, the manuscript found its way to the Republic of Armenia, while its missing eight pages came to the Getty Museum in LA. In this interview, we discuss how the Zeytun Gospels could be understood as a "survivor object," contributing to current discussions about the destruction of cultural heritage. We also talk about the challenges of writing history for a broader reading public. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Forging Islamic Science

Episode 400 with Nir Shafir hosted by Suzie Ferguson Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In this episode, Nir Shafir talks about the problem of "fake minatures" of Islamic science: small paintings that look old, but are actually contemporary productions. As these images circulate in museums, on book covers, and on the internet, they tell us more about what we want "Islamic science" to be than what it actually was. That, Nir tells us, is a lost opportunity. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Orientalism in the Ottoman Empire

Episode 399 with Zeynep Çelik hosted by Zeinab Azarbadegan and Matthew Ghazarian Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud How did the Ottomans react to European attitudes and depictions of their own lands? Pondering on the groundbreaking book 'Orientalism' by Edward Said forty years after its publication, our guest Zeynep Çelik discusses the ways in which urban, art, and architectural historians have grappled with representations of the Ottomans by Europeans and representations of Ottomans by Ottomans themselves. Telling us about a number of paintings, monuments, scholarly writings and stories, she argues that Orientalism is still relevant and with us wherever we go. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Turkish Economic Development Since 1820

Episode 398 with Şevket Pamuk hosted by Matthew Ghazarian Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud What forces have governed Turkey's economic growth over the past two centuries? In this episode we speak with Şevket Pamuk about development in Turkey since 1820. In the late Ottoman period, low barriers to trade, agrarian exports, and European financial control defined the limits of economic expansion, while the transition from Empire to Republic brought more inward-looking policies aimed at protecting domestic industries. From the 1980s until the present, the Turkish government came to embrace the set of policy recommendations now called the Washington Consensus, defined by trade liberalization, privatization, and de-regulation. We discuss key moments during each of these periods, comparing Turkey to other countries around the world. We also discuss broader historical debates about Islam in economic history as well as approaches to the economic as an object of study. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Autonomy and Resistance in Ottoman Kurdistan

Episode 395 with Metin Atmaca hosted by Matthew Ghazarian Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Zones of autonomy and resistance make up the region historically called Kurdistan - areas that can include parts of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Armenia - depending on whom you ask. This region, whose territory spans the boundaries of nation-states created after the First World War, continues to host conflict between powerful states and their opponents. Who ruled these areas in the past, and how did they become the rebel lands they are today? In this episode, we speak with Metin Atmaca about the rise and fall of Kurdish emirs who ruled in the Ottoman-Iranian borderlands, from their rise in the 1500s to their fall in the 1850s. We also discuss the afterlife of the Kurdish dynastic families who, in exile, re-invented themselves as political leaders, bureaucrats, and rebels in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman world. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Getting High at the Gates of Felicity

Episode 391 with Stefano Taglia hosted by Taylan Güngör Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud The use of stimulants, what we now refer to as recreational drugs (marijuana and hashish – esrar and haşiş), in the late Ottoman world constitutes a lens through which one can observe multiple aspects of both the history of the Ottoman Empire and its historiography in its broader sense. The life and social dynamics of those involved in drug consumption contributes to sketching a picture of the social life of the Ottoman Empire and its capital and, in this sense, helps expand a field that is somewhat limited. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Syrian in Sioux Falls

Episode 390 Produced and Narrated by Chris Gratien Episode Consultant: Reem Bailony Series Consultant: Emily Pope-Obeda Script Editor: Sam Dolbee with additional contributions by Akram Khater, Graham Pitts, Linda Gordon, Victoria Saker Woeste, Nadim Shehadi, and Mohamed Okdie Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In the years after the world war that ravaged the Ottoman Empire, Hassan left his native village in modern-day Lebanon to join his parents and siblings in the growing Midwest town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. To do so, he had to sidestep the stringent immigration quotas newly implemented by the US. But years later, when the authorities learned that he entered and was living in the US illegally, he was threatened with deportation. Through Hassan's story, we'll learn about the experience of Arab migration to the United States and get to know the Syrian-American community that despite numbering in the hundreds of thousands by the 1920s, found itself repeatedly compelled to prove its worthiness to be included in a society where nativism was on the rise and being entitled to full citizenship often meant being considered white. This episode is part of our investigative series Deporting Ottoman Americans. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

America, Turkey, and the Middle East

Episode 386 with Suzy Hansen hosted by Chris Gratien Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Turkey is a country that most Americans know little about, and yet the United States has played an extraordinary role in the making of modern Turkey. In this podcast, we explore this disparity of awareness and the role of the US in the history of the Middle East through the lens of an American journalist's slow realization of her own subjectivity and the myriad ways in which the US and Turkey have been intertwined. In this conversation with Suzy Hansen about her award-winning book "Notes on a Foreign Country," we critically examine the formation of journalistic and scholarly expertise, and we discuss reactions of readers and reviewers to Hansen's work. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Ottoman Armenians and the Politics of Conscription

Episode 382 with Ohannes Kılıçdağı hosted by Sam Dolbee Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud The history of Ottoman Armenians in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ottoman Empire is inevitably in the shadow of 1915. In today’s episode, we explore new approaches to this history with Dr. Ohannes Kılıçdağı. We speak in particular about the hopes that the empire’s Armenian citizens attached to the 1908 Constitutional Revolution, which were high indeed. On the basis of research utilizing Armenian-language periodicals from across the empire, Kılıçdağı explains how the Armenian community enthusiastically embraced military conscription, and how this phenomenon connects to the theme of citizenship in the late Ottoman Empire more generally. We conclude by considering what use there is for history in the politics of the present. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Hamidian Quest for Tribal Origins

Episode 379 with Ahmet Ersoy & Deniz Türker hosted by Matthew Ghazarian and Zeinab Azarbadegan Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud How did the Ottomans come to visually represent their mythical origins? And to what ends? In this episode we speak with Ahmet Ersoy and Deniz Türker about the formation, development, and visualization of Ertuğrul sancak, the mythical birthplace of the Ottoman dynasty. In 1886, Sultan Abdülhamid II commissioned an expedition of military photographers, painters, and cartographers to record the region, its architecture, and its nomadic tribes. Ersoy and Türker talk to us this mission and its economic and diplomatic ramifications, drawing on their recent exhibition, Ottoman Arcadia, at the Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in Istanbul. Our discussion touches on the proliferation and dissemination of visual materials during the reign of Abdülhamid II (1876-1909), as well as his massive collection of visual materials held today as part of the Yıldız Palace Library. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Mihri Rasim Between Empire and Nation

Episode 378 with Özlem Gülin Dağoğlu hosted by Sam Dolbee and Shireen Hamza Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Many myths have accompanied the life of Mihri Rasim, but few are as interesting as her life itself. Born to a wealthy family in Istanbul in the late Ottoman period, Mihri Rasim became a politically connected painter, living in Italy for several years on her own and then Paris, where she played a key role in the salons of Ottoman dissidents known as the Young Turks. In the wake of the 1908 Constitutional Revolution, she returned to Istanbul, and opened the Fine Arts School for Women in Istanbul, where she went on to teach. After the war, she went to Italy, and then the United States, where she continued her work painting and teaching. In addition to many self-portraits, she also painted various powerful figures, among them Mustafa Kemal, Mussolini, and Thomas Edison. Listen for a discussion of art, gender, and migration in a period of momentous political change. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Sultan's Eunuch

Episode 369 with Jane Hathaway hosted by Sanja Kadrić and Emily Neumeier Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud For more than three centuries, a cadre of African eunuchs were responsible for guarding the Ottoman harem at the imperial palace in Istanbul. The head of this group, the Chief Harem Eunuch, emerged as an extremely influential individual at the court. This was especially true during the crisis years of the long seventeenth century, when the palace became divided along ever-shifting lines of political factions. In this episode, we trace the long trajectory of the office of Chief Harem Eunuch, from its establishment—coinciding with the sultan’s decision to begin residing full-time in the harem—until the ultimate demise of the empire. In particular, we highlight the high degree of mobility for these eunuchs, beginning with their initial journey from Ethiopia to the shores of the Bosphorus, and later on using their position to maintain strong ties to Cairo as well as the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. A liminal figure in every sense of the word—in terms of gender, race, and his duties at the court—the Chief Harem Eunuch offers unique insights into the nature of political life at the Ottoman palace. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine

Episode 367 with Salim Tamari hosted by Sam Dolbee Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Nationalism has greatly influenced the way we think about Palestinian history. In this episode, Salim Tamari discusses this question in relation to his new book, The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine, which explores Palestine under Ottoman rule during World War I. Tamari highlights the transformative nature of the conflict in Palestine, and the Ottomanist roots of many Palestinian and Arab nationalists. He also tackles the question of sources in Palestine, and how family papers have been crucial to his work. We conclude by discussing the stakes of recovering that past as the dispossession of Palestinians continues into the present. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Istanbul and the Ottoman Olfactory Heritage

Episode 363 with Lauren Davis hosted by Susanna Ferguson Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud What did Istanbul's Spice Bazaar smell like in Ottoman times? In this episode, we explore the historical smellscape of this iconic market space from its early history up to the present day. Through a story about Ottoman smells and their transformations in the twentieth century, we touch on the trade routes of exotic spices, Ottoman marketing practices, and the greener, more fragrant Istanbul that still lives in the memories of twentieth-century shopowners who spent their lives in and around the Bazaar. Finally, we consider how telling history through smell could change the way we think about the past and struggle to preserve it. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Slavery and Servitude in the Ottoman Mediterranean

Episode 362 with M’hamed Oualdi & Hayri Gökşin Özkoray hosted by Andreas Guidi Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Our latest podcast in collaboration with The Southeast Passage examines how slavery flourished in the Ottoman Mediterranean in the wake of growing connectivity with other world regions and territorial expansion. The discussion draws out the ambiguity between slavery and servitude in the case of the Mamluks of the Tunisian Beylik during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Which economic processes, legal interpretations, and geographic routes impacted the evolution of the slave trade from the sixteenth century until its abolition? What are the possibilities for and problems in retracing the self-narratives of those directly involved in the slave trade? « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Dervish Piety and Alevism in Late Medieval Anatolia

Episode 359 with Zeynep Oktay Uslu hosted by Matthew Ghazarian and Işın Taylan Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In this episode, we explore the evolution of Abdal and Bektashi doctrine from the 14th to 17th centuries. The Abdals of Rum and the Bektashis were two dervish groups in Anatolia who by the 16th century would merge to become the Bektashi Sufi order. Many Bektashi beliefs and practices are also inter-connected with those of Alevi communities. By taking a closer look at Abdal and Bektashi poetry, we examine how poetry, fiction, and other aspects of dervish piety evolved into the core beliefs of contemporary Alevism in Turkey. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Love Poems of an Ottoman Woman: Mihrî Hatun

Episode 357 with Didem Havlioğlu hosted by Chris Gratien Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud What did it mean to be a woman in the intellectual world of early modern Islamic empires? In this episode, our guest Didem Havlioğlu offers one answer to this question through the life and works of Mihrî Hatun, an Ottoman woman from 15th-century Amasya whose poetry survives to this day. Mihrî was unique within the male-dominated sphere of early modern love poetry, and as we discuss in this podcast, her position as a woman was integral to her poetry and its meaning. These poems and the relationships of this exceptional writer are the subject of Havlioğlu's new book entitled Mihrî Hatun: Performance, Gender-Bending, and Subversion in Ottoman Intellectual History (Syracuse University Press). « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Dragomans and the Routes of Orientalism

Episode 354 with Natalie Rothman hosted by Nir Shafir and Aslihan Gürbüzel Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Dragomans are often known as diplomatic translators, but their responsibilities and roles went much further than being mere interpreters. In this podcast, we speak with Natalie Rothman about how dragomans negotiated both linguistic space and social space across the Eastern Mediterranean. Focusing specifically on the case of Venetian dragomans, we discuss their training and how they managed to become brokers of knowledge and connections between the Ottoman Empire and myriad publics in Venice and beyond. In the second half of the podcast, we delve a bit deeper and examine how dragomans came to contribute to the budding world of Orientalist knowledge among seventeenth-century European scholars. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

States of Emergency in the Late Ottoman Empire

Episode 349 with Noémi Lévy-Aksu hosted by Taylan Güngör and Michael Talbot Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Idare-i örfiyye (or örfi idare), loosely translated as a “state of emergency or siege,” was a neologism introduced in the first Ottoman constitution in 1876 to allow the suspension of ordinary legal order in Ottoman localities in case of actual or potential uprisings. While the term clearly referred to the Ottoman legal tradition, the idare-i örfiyye was also inspired by contemporary definitions of regimes of exception in France and other countries. This conversation offers an insight into the genesis of this legal notion and seeks to understand the political, geographic and social impact of the widespread implementation of idare-i örfiyye in the Ottoman provinces during Abdülhamid II reign and the early Young Turk period. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Republic of Arabic Letters

Episode 348 with Alexander Bevilacqua hosted by Maryam Patton and Shireen Hamza Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud When and how did European scholars first begin to seriously study Islam and the Arabic language? It has often been assumed that Medieval misconceptions and polemic towards Muslims were not cast off until the secularism of the European Enlightenment. In this episode, we learn that the foundations of the modern Western understanding were actually laid as early as the 17th century. Alexander Bevilacqua shares his research on the network of Catholic and Protestant scholars he calls the “Republic of Arabic Letters.” These scholars went to great lengths to learn Arabic and gather Arabic books and manuscripts, and eventually produced careful translations of the Qur’an and histories of Muslim societies based on Arabic sources. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Hürrem Sultan or Roxelana, Empress of the East

Episode 340 with Leslie Peirce hosted by Suzie Ferguson and Seçil Yılmaz Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In this episode, we explore the life and times of Roxelana, also known as Hürrem Sultan, a slave girl who became chief consort and then legal wife of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I (r. 1520-1566). We trace Roxelana's probable beginnings and the possible paths that took her to Istanbul, asking how she rose above her peers in the Old Palace to become a favored concubine and then the wife of the Sultan. We explore her relationship to other women at the Ottoman court, the politics of her motherhood and philanthropy, and her role in Ottoman diplomacy. In the end, Roxelana's work, her relationship with Suleiman, and the unusual nuclear family they created despite the otherwise polygynous patterns of reproduction at the Ottoman court would transform the rules of Ottoman succession, the role of Ottoman royal women, and the future of the Empire as a whole. The life story of this one remarkable woman sheds light on many facets of the history of the Ottoman Empire, showing how a single individual's story can serve as a lynchpin for grasping the complexities of an age. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Tanzimat in Ottoman Cappadocia

Episode 339 with Aylin de Tapia hosted by Susanna Ferguson, Seçil Yilmaz and Ella Fratantuono Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In this episode, we consider the story of the Tanzimat reforms from the perspective of rural Cappadocia, a region in central Anatolia now famous as a tourist destination. In the nineteenth century, Cappadocia was home not only to the Muslim subjects who made up the majority of Anatolia's population but to a large population of Orthodox Christians as well. How did these communities experience the Tanzimat period and how did their relationships to each other and to the state change between 1839 and the demise of the Ottoman Empire? « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Spies of the Sultan

Episode 334 with Emrah Safa Gürkan hosted by Chris Gratien Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Along with new maritime networks, information stiched together the empires of the early modern period. One component of the growing networks of information in the increasingly connected space of the Mediterranean world was espionage. As we learn in our latest conversation with Emrah Safa Gürkan about his new book Sultanın Casusları (Spies of the Sultan), the Ottoman Empire was both party and subject to the fascinating exploits of early modern spies. In this episode, we learn about the lives of Ottoman spies profiled in Gürkan's book, and we consider how the transformation of espionage in the Mediterranean relates to the development of early modern empires. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Migrants in the Late Ottoman Empire

Episode 331 with Ella Fratantuono hosted by Chris Gratien and Seçil Yılmaz Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Though it is often ignored among the many histories of the great migrations of the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire experienced the arrival of millions of migrants over the course of its last decades. The migrant or muhacir was therefore not just a critical demographic component of both Ottoman cities and the countryside but also part of and subject to different political projects associated with the empire's transformation. In this conversation with Ella Fratantuono, we offer an introduction to the history of migration in the late Ottoman Empire and seek to understand the muhacir as a legal, administrative, and conceptual figure in Ottoman society. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Intellectual Currents in Early Modern Islam

Episode 328 with Khaled El-Rouayheb hosted by Shireen Hamza and Abdul Latif Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud The seventeenth century, contrary to popular belief, was a time of great originality and change for scholars in the Ottoman Empire and the Maghreb. In this interview, Khaled El-Rouayheb debunks the many myths of intellectual decline by showing how the intellectual production changed in tandem with major migrations across the Islamic world. We start with the influx of Kurdish and Azeri logicians into the Ottoman Empire, and the new disciplines that they brought with them. We then discuss the movement of scholars from North Africa to Egypt and the Hejaz, and how they insisted on methods of taḥqīq, or verification, rather than taqlīd, or the acceptance of knowledge based on authority alone. Finally, we touch on how the spread of Sufi orders from India and Central Asia into Arabic-speaking regions impacted the development and disputation of the concept of waḥdat al-wujūd, or the unity of being. How does this detailed research on intellectual trends change our understanding of "modernity" and the period we call the "early modern"? « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Visual Sources in Late Ottoman History

Episode 327 with contributions by Zeynep Çelik, Leyla Amzi-Erdoğdular, Özde Çeliktemel-Thomen, Mehmet Kentel, Michael Talbot, Murat Yıldız, Burçak Özlüdil Altın, Seçil Yılmaz, Burçin Çakır, Zeinab Azerbadegan, Dotan Halevy, Chris Gratien, and Michael Ferguson Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Visual sources such as photographs, maps, and miniatures often serve as accompaniment or adornment within works of Ottoman history. In this episode, we feature new work that interrogates methods of analyzing and employing visual sources for Ottoman history that go beyond the practice of "image as decoration." Following a conversation with the organizers of the "Visual Sources in Late Ottoman History" conference held at Columbia University in April 2017, we speak to conference participants about the visual sources they employ in their work and how these visual sources allow us to understand the history of the Ottoman Empire and post-Ottoman world in a new light. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Genetics and Nation-Building in the Middle East

Episode 324 with Elise Burton hosted by Shireen Hamza, Chris Gratien, and Maryam Patton Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Genetics have emerged as a new scientific tool for studying human ancestry and historical migration. And as research into the history of genetics demonstrates, genetics and other bioscientific approaches to studying ancestry were also integral to the transformation of the very national and racial categories through which ancestry has come to be described over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. In this podcast, we speak to Elise Burton about her research on the development of human genetics in the Middle East. Burton has studied the history of genetics within a comparative framework, examining the interrelated cases of human genetics research in Turkey, Israel, Iran, and elsewhere. In this episode, we focus in particular on the history of genetics in Turkey and its relationship to changing understandings of nation and race within the early Republic. In a bonus segment (see below), we also look under the hood of commercial genetic ancestry tests to understand present-day science within the context of these historical developments. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Kemalism and the Making of Modern Turkey

Episode 323 with Erik-Jan Zürcher hosted by Andreas Guidi and Elif Becan Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In this collaboration with The Southeast Passage, we discuss the emergence of the Turkish nationalist movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the establishment of a sovereign Republic of Turkey in 1923. As our guest Prof. Erik-Jan Zürcher notes, Kemalism can be studied both as a political transformation from armed struggle to a one-party state administration system and as a repertoire of discursive symbols based on the imaginary of nation, civilization, and modernity. This installment is structured along a series of lectures that Prof. Zürcher has given at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, in which he has framed Kemalism’s activism and worldview within its contemporary international context as well as along a broader chronological axis continuing into the 1950s. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Ottoman New York

Episode 320 featuring Bruce Burnside & Sam Dolbee Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud The distance between the shores of the Ottoman Empire and New York City may be great, but, as this episode suggests, a great many connections exist between these places, too. This episode explores both the everyday lives of those hailing from the Ottoman domains over several centuries in the Big Apple, as well as the perceptions New Yorkers and Americans more generally had of the Ottoman Empire. Through visits to sites across the island of Manhattan, we shed light on the long and largely forgotten shared history of the Ottoman Empire and New York City, and we find it in unlikely places – such as a modest walk-up apartment on the Upper East Side – as well as in the shadow of New York landmarks like 1 World Trade Center and the Stonewall Inn. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Sabbatai Sevi and the Ottoman-Turkish Dönmes

Episode 308 with Cengiz Şişman hosted by Matthew Ghazarian Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In 1665, an Izmir-born Rabbi named Sabbatai Sevi (1626-76) was proclaimed to be the Jewish Messiah. His messianic movement attracted tens of thousands of followers and become known throughout the early modern world. Ottoman authorities, however, arrested Sevi in 1666, and, under duress, the charismatic leader converted to Islam. Many members of his movement followed suit and became the communities who today are called dönme (which literally means "convert"). After Sevi's death, dönme communities continued to outwardly practice Islam but inwardly retain practices of Judaism. In this episode, Cengiz Şişman talks about his research on the development of Sevi’s movement, the trajectories of dönme communities, and questions of conversion and communal boundaries, which became more pressing in the late nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Syrian Alawis under Ottoman Rule

Episode 303 with Stefan Winter hosted by Chris Gratien Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Although the Alawi communities of Syria have played an important role in the politics of the 20th century, the longer history of these communities has often been obscured by generalizations and discourses of mystification. In this episode, we talk to Stefan Winter about the history of the Alawis over the centuries, which is the subject of his new book A History of the ‘Alawis: From Medieval Aleppo to the Turkish Republic. In particular, we focus on the ways in which Syrian Alawis were incorporated into the Ottoman Empire and experienced changes in Ottoman politics and governance. We also examine the social and economic history of the Alawis during the early modern period and the encounter with modernity. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Rethinking "Decline" in the Second Ottoman Empire

Episode 300 with Baki Tezcan hosted by Susanna Ferguson Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Did the Ottoman Empire "decline" after an initial golden age of rapid expansion and military conquest? This question has long haunted the telling of Ottoman history. Critics note that describing centuries of Ottoman history simply as "decline" makes it seem inevitable that the Empire would be defeated in World War I, emptying the story of the contingency and nuance it deserves. How else might we describe the nature of political, economic, and cultural change in the later centuries of the Ottoman Empire? What other questions could we ask? In this episode, Baki Tezcan describes the period he calls the "Second Ottoman Empire," between roughly 1580 and 1826, not as a period of decline but as one of political transformation. His story radically remakes existing narratives about the nature and history of Ottoman political authority and governance and offers an important alternative to the "decline thesis" that has haunted Ottoman history for so long. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Exploring the Art of the Qur'an

Episode 297 with Massumeh Farhad & Simon Rettig hosted by Emily Neumeier Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud The preeminent position of manuscript painting and poetry at the Ottoman court has been well established by historians, yet the equally important practice of commissioning and collecting sumptuously decorated copies of the Qur’an--the sacred text of Islam--has been less explored. The role of the Qur’an in the artistic culture of the Ottoman world is just one facet of the landmark exhibition The Art of the Qur’an: Treasures from the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. The show traces the formal evolution of the Qur’an, especially in terms of calligraphy and manuscript illumination, with over 60 manuscripts and folios spanning a thousand years and created in an area stretching from Egypt to Afghanistan. Besides having an opportunity to appreciate the level of labor and skill invested in producing such high-quality manuscripts, visitors will also be surprised to learn about the mobility of these books, as they were avidly collected, repaired, and donated by members of the Ottoman court to various religious institutions around the empire. In this episode, curators Massumeh Farhad and Simon Rettig sit down with us to reflect both on the reception of the exhibition in the United States, as well as the process of organizing this collaborative venture between the Smithsonian and the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts in Istanbul. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Ottoman Erotic

Episode 289 with İrvin Cemil Schick hosted by Susanna Ferguson and Matthew Ghazarian Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud What terms and ideas were considered erotic in early modern Ottoman literature, and what can studying them tell us about later historical periods and our own conceptions of the beauty, love, and desire? In this episode, we welcome İrvin Cemil Schick back to the podcast to discuss a project he is compiling with İpek Hüner-Cora and Helga Anetshofer: a dictionary called the "Erotic Vocabulary of Ottoman Literature." Release Date: 18 December 2016 « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Nouveau Literacy in the 18th Century Levant

with Dana Sajdihosted by Chris Gratien and Shireen Hamza Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud In the conventional telling of the intellectual history of the Ottoman Empire and the Islamicate world, there has been very little room for people outside the ranks of the learned scholars or ulema associated with the religious, intellectual, and political elite of Muslim communities. But in this episode, we explore the writings of Shihab al-Din Ahmad Ibn Budayr, an 18th-century Damascene barber, as well as a host of writers that our guest Dana Sajdi has described as representatives of "nouveau literacy" in the Ottoman Levant. We discuss how non-elite writers left records of the people and events they encountered during a period of socioeconomic transformation in Greater Syria, and we listen to readings from the text of Ibn Budayr--the barber of Damascus--that bring to life the literary style of the unusual and extraordinary authors who wrote from the margins of the learned establishment in early modern Ottoman society. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

War, Environment, and the Ottoman-Habsburg Frontier

with Gábor Ágostonhosted by Graham Auman Pitts and Faisal Husain Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud Whereas military histories once focused narrowly on armies, battles, and technologies, the new approach to military history emphasizes how armies and navies were linked to issues such as political economy, gender, and environment. In this episode, we sit down with Gábor Ágoston to discuss the principal issues concerning the relationship between the Ottoman-Habsburg military frontier in Hungary and the environmental history of the early modern period. From the battle of Mohacs in 1526, through the dramatic battle of Vienna 1683, and until the Treaty of Sistova 1791, the Ottoman-Habsburg frontier was the site of fighting, fortification, and mobilization. In our conversation, we consider the environmental dimensions of these centuries of conflict and contact, focusing on how the military revolution transformed the way in which armies used and managed resources and the role of both anthropogenic and climatic factors in reshaping the Hungarian landscape. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Festivals and the Waterfront in 18th Century Istanbul

with Gwendolyn Collaçohosted by Chris Gratien, Nir Shafir, and Huma Gupta Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud The illustrated account of the festivals surrounding the circumcision of Sultan Ahmed III's sons in 1720 is one of the most iconic and celebrated depictions of urban life in Ottoman Istanbul. With its detailed text written by Vehbi, accompanied by the vibrant miniature paintings of Levni, this work has been used as a source for understanding the cast of professions and personalities that occupied the public space of the Ottoman capital. In this episode, we focus not on the colorful characters of Levni's paintings but rather the backdrop for the celebrations: the Golden Horn and the waterfront of 18th-century Istanbul. As our guest Gwendolyn Collaço explains, the accounts of festivals in early modern Istanbul reflect the transformation of the city and an orientation towards the waterfront not only in the Ottoman Empire but also neighboring states of the Mediterranean.  « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Translating the Ottoman Novel

with Melih Levihosted by Zoe Griffith Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | SoundCloud Emerging as a literary genre towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Ottoman novel has been overshadowed by the transformation of the Turkish language and alphabet after 1928. In this episode, we speak with Melih Levi about his recent English translation with Monica Ringer of one the first examples of the Ottoman novel, Ahmed Midhat Efendi's Felatun Bey and Rakım Efendi (Syracuse University Press, 2016). Far from a derivative imitation of European literary themes and forms, Ahmed Midhat's novel revolves both seriously and playfully around the concepts of ala franga and ala turca, cajoling and instructing its readers on how live as authentically "modern" Ottomans in a rapidly modernizing empire. Published in 1875, the novel opens windows onto the Ottoman family, slavery, masculinity, and social orders, as well as literal and psychological relations with Europe in nineteenth-century Istanbul.  « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Ottoman Red Sea

with Alexis Wickhosted by Susanna Ferguson Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud The body of water now known as the Red Sea lay well within the bounds of the Ottoman Empire's well-protected domains for nearly four centuries. It wasn't until the 19th century, however, that this body of water began to be called or conceived of as "the Red Sea" by either Ottomans or Europeans. In this episode, Professor Alexis Wick argues that we have much to learn about how history (and Ottoman history in particular) "makes its object" by studying not only the emergence of the concept of the Red Sea, Ottoman or otherwise, but also the surprising absence of such a history in previous scholarship. His new book The Red Sea: In Search of Lost Space (University of California Press, 2016) is both a conceptual history of the Red Sea as seen through both Ottoman and European eyes, and a reflection on the methodologies, tropes, and preoccupations of Ottoman history writ large. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Caliphate: an idea throughout history

with Hugh Kennedy hosted by Taylan Güngör Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | Soundcloud What is a caliphate? Who can be caliph? What is the history of the idea? How can we interpret and use it today? In this podcast we discuss with Prof Hugh Kennedy his forthcoming book The Caliphate (Pelican Books) and the long-term historical context to the idea of caliphate. Tracing the history from the choosing of the first caliph Abu Bakr in the immediate aftermath of the Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632, the Orthodox (Rashidun) caliphs (632-661), the Umayyads (661-750), the Abbasids (750-1258) and the use of the idea of caliphate by the Ottomans down to the emergence of another Abu Bakr as “caliph” of the IS in 2014. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Economics and Justice in the Ottoman Courts

with Boğaç Ergenehosted by Nir Shafir Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | Hipcast | Soundcloud Were Ottoman courts just? Boğaç Ergene discusses this basic question in this podcast by forging a new path beyond the earlier views of the justice system as inherently fickle and capricious—immortalized in Weber’s concept of kadijustiz—and the idealistic views of Ottoman courts as a site of equal and fair treatment for all. Drawing on the results of research for his forthcoming publication with Metin Coşgel entitled The Economics of Ottoman Justice, Ergene argues for employing the quantitative methods of “law and economics” scholars, demonstrating that entrenched power holders in early modern Ottoman society were always able to use the Ottoman court system to produce outcomes favorable to themselves.  « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Venetian Physicians in the Ottoman Empire

with Valentina Pugliano hosted by Nir Shafir This episode is part of an ongoing series entitled History of Science, Ottoman or Otherwise.   Download the seriesPodcast Feed | iTunes | Hipcast | Soundcloud Starting in the fifteenth century, medical doctors from the Italian peninsula began accompanying Venetian consular missions to cities in the Mamluk and Ottoman empires. These doctors treated not only Venetian consular officials, but also local artisans and rulers. In this podcast, Valentina Pugliano discusses the experiences of these travelling doctors both in the Italian peninsula and in the Middle East. We explore their interactions with the local population and their effect on the medical ecology of the Middle East as well as the sources we use to write such histories. Together, the experiences of these doctors point to the connected histories of medicine and science in the early modern Mediterranean. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Gender, Politics, and Passion in the Christian Middle East

with Akram Khater hosted by Graham Pitts . Scholars have long neglected the Middle East’s Christian communities in general and Christian women in particular. In this episode, Akram Khater draws attention to the biography of Hindiyya al-'Ujaimi (1720-1798) to explore the religious and political upheavals of 18th-century Aleppo and Mount Lebanon. Hindiyya’s story speaks to the dynamic history of the Maronite Church, the fraught encounter between Arab and European Christianities, and the role of faith as a historical force. For half a century, she held as much sway over the Maronite Church as any other cleric. The extent of her influence won her powerful enemies in Lebanon and the Vatican. Hindiyya weathered one inquisition but was eventually convicted of heresy and confined to a solitary cell for the final decade of her life. The story of her ascent and demise illuminates gendered aspects of piety and politics in the Christian Middle East. Download the podcast Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | Soundcloud Scholars have long neglected the Middle East’s Christian communities in general and Christian women in particular. In this episode, Akram Khater draws attention to the biography of Hindiyya al-'Ujaimi (1720-1798) to explore the religious and political upheavals of 18th-century Aleppo and Mount Lebanon. Hindiyya’s story speaks to the dynamic history of the Maronite Church, the  fraught encounter between Arab and European Christianities, and the role of faith as a historical force. For half a century, she held as much sway over the Maronite Church as any other cleric. The extent of her influence won her powerful enemies in Lebanon and the Vatican. Hindiyya weathered one inquisition but was eventually convicted of heresy and confined to a solitary cell for the final decade of her life. The story of her ascent and demise illuminates gendered aspects of piety and politics in the Christian Middle East. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Picturing History at the Ottoman Court

with Emine Fetvacı hosted by Emily Neumeier and Nir Shafir Emine Fetvacı discusses her research for Picturing History at the Ottoman Court (Indiana University Press) with Emily Neumeier and Nir Shafir. Download the episode Podcast Feed | iTunes | Soundcloud In the second half of the sixteenth century, the Ottoman court became particularly invested in writing its own history. This initiative primarily took the form of official chronicles, and the court historian (şehnameci), a new position established in the 1550s, set to work producing manuscripts accompanied by lavish illustrations. However, the paintings in these texts should not be understood merely as passive descriptions of historical events. Rather, these images served as complex conveyors of meaning in their own right, designed by teams of artists to satisfy the aspirations of their patrons, which included not only the sultan but also other members of the court. In this episode, Emily Neumeier and Nir Shafir speak with Emine Fetvacı about these illustrated histories, the subject of her 2013 volume Picturing History at the Ottoman Court.  « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Greeks in the Ottoman Empire

with Molly Greene hosted by Chris Gratien Download the episode Podcast Feed | iTunes | Hipcast | Soundcloud Nearly two centuries ago, Greece achieved its independence from the Ottoman Empire. Yet for centuries before, and for many Greeks even a century after, the story of Greek history was deeply intertwined with that of the Ottoman state, its institutions, and its other subjects. In this episode, we sit down with Molly Greene to discuss her new work on the history of Greeks from the beginning of the Ottoman period into the 18th century, which is a contribution to the The Edinburgh History of the Greeks series. We explore how recent research is changing the picture of the Greek experience of Ottoman rule and the complex relations between state and society throughout the transformation of the imperial structure, and we reflect on the ways in which the history of Ottoman Greeks enriches our understanding of the empire as a whole. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Ottoman Empire's Sonic Past

with Nina Ergin hosted by Chris Gratien Download the episode Podcast Feed | iTunes | Soundcloud When employing textual sources for history, it is easy to lose track of the fact that experiences of the past were immersed in rich sensory environments in which "the word" was only a small component of daily life. How can we restore the sights, sounds, and sensations of the Ottoman past? In this episode, Nina Ergin presents some of her research involving the sonic history of the Ottoman Empire, exploring topics such as architecture, gender, and politics through different sources that offer clues about Ottoman soundscapes. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Naked Anxieties in the Baths of Ottoman Aleppo

with Elyse Semerdjian hosted by Chris Gratien Download the episode Podcast Feed | iTunes | Soundcloud Bath houses or hamams were mainstays of the Ottoman city. But as semi-public spaces where people could mix and implicitly transgressed certain boundaries regarding nudity, they were also spaces that produced anxiety and calls for regulation. In this episode, Elyse Semerdjian discusses how in a certain time and place of eighteenth century Aleppo, the issue of Muslim and Christian women bathing together aroused the concern of Ottoman state and society. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Central Asians and the Ottoman Empire

with Lale Can hosted by Chris Gratien Within nationalist understandings of Turkish identity, connections between Central Asia and the people of modern Turkey are often conceived of in terms of ancient genealogy of Turkic peoples. But as our guest in this episode of Ottoman History Podcast Lale Can illustrates, much more recent bonds forged not by ethnic but rather spiritual affinity during the Ottoman period point to enduring connections between Central Asia and the Ottoman Empire maintained through migration and pilgrimage. In this episode, we discuss Dr. Can's work on Central Asians moving in the Ottoman Empire and the transformation of travel and pilgrimage during the late nineteenth century century. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Slavery and Manumission in Ottoman Galata

with Nur Sobers-Khan hosted by Chris Gratien and Nir Shafir The legal and social environments surrounding slavery and manumission during the early modern period varied from place to place and profession to profession. In this episode, Nur Sobers-Khan presents her exciting research on the lives of a particular population of slaves in Ottoman Galata during the late sixteenth century, how they were classified and documented under Ottoman law, and the terms by which they were able to achieve their freedom. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Time and Temporal Culture in the Ottoman Empire

with Avner Wishnitzer hosted by Chris Gratien In daily life, time appears as an unavoidable fact. It marches forward uniformly, and much like money, is a fungible commodity that can be spent, wasted, and saved. However, this view often obscures the fact that our engagement with time is mitigated through socially-constructed ways of understanding, measuring, and using time. In this episode, Chris Gratien talks to Anver Wishnizter about his research in this realm of social time--what he describes as "temporal culture"--and the changes in such a temporal culture during the late Ottoman period. *Update* Dr. Wishnitzer's monograph entitled Reading Clocks, Alla Turca has since been published with Chicago University Press. Follow this link to access this new publication. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Alevis in Ottoman Anatolia

with Ayfer Karakaya-Stump hosted by Chris Gratien The history of Anatolia's Alevi or Kizilbash community has long been written by outsiders who have variously portrayed them as mysterious, heretical, heterodox, or uncivilized. Alevism has been often juxtaposed with the high religion would-be orthodox Sunni practice. This historical understanding of Alevis has continued to influence the way these communities are represented in the present. In this episode, Ayfer Karakaya-Stump challenges this binary. Drawing on previously unexamined sources produced by the Ottoman Alevi community itself, she seeks a new road to understanding Alevism and the relationship of Alevi communities with the Ottoman and Safavid states, Sufi movements of the time, and the communities that surrounded them. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Ottoman Scramble for Africa

with Mostafa Minawi hosted by Chris Gratien The Ottoman Empire occupies an unusual place among the competing imperial powers of the nineteenth century. On one hand, a weak military position often forced the Ottomans to accept unfavorable economic and political arrangements while playing other empires off each other to maintain autonomy. On the other, we find expansion of state institutions throughout the Ottoman domains and an increased Ottoman presence in many parts of Asia and the Indian Ocean. Many even point to a form of Ottoman colonialism practiced in the frontiers of the empire. In this episode, Mostafa Minawi offers a glimpse at Ottoman practices in the realm of strategic imperial diplomacy within the context of the Scramble for Africa and European competition over influence in Sub-Saharan Africa.  iTunes Mostafa Minawi is an Assistant Professor of History at Cornell University. (faculty page) Chris Gratien is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University researching the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. (see Episode No. 143 Release date: 1 February 2014 Location: Feriköy, Istanbul Editing and production by Chris Gratien Citation: "The Ottoman Scramble for Africa," Mostafa Minawi and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 143 (1 February 2014) SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY David Levering Lewis, The Race to Fashoda: European Colonialism and African Resistance in the Scramble for Africa (New York: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1987). Idris Bostan, “The Ottoman Empire and the Congo: the crisis of 1893-95,” in Studies on OttomanDiplomatic History, part v, ed. Selim Deringil and Sinan Kuneralp (Istanbul: ISIS, 1990). Lisa Anderson, The State and Social Reformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830–1980 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986). Sidqi al-Dajani, Al-Haraka al-Sanusiyya, Nashʾatuha wa Numuwaha fi al-Qarn at-Tasiʿ ʿAshar (Cairo: 1967). Abdulmola S. el-Horeir, “Social and Economic Transformations in the Libyan Hinterland During the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century: The Role of Sayyid Ahmad al-Sharif al-Sanusi” (Ph.D. diss, UCLA, 1981). Claudia Anna Gazzini, “Jihad in Exile: Ahmad al-Sharif al-Sanusi, 1918–1933” (MA thesis, Princeton University, 2004). Jonathan Miran, Red Sea Citizens: Cosmopolitan Society and Cultural Change in Massawa (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2009). The Royal Geographical Society, “Delimitation of British and French Spheres in Central Africa,” The Geographical Journal 13, no. 5 (May, 1899): 524–25.
Episode Artwork

Alchemy in the Ottoman World

with Tuna Artun hosted by Nir Shafir This episode is part of an ongoing series entitled History of Science, Ottoman or Otherwise.   Download the seriesPodcast Feed | iTunes | Hipcast | Soundcloud Alchemy has traditionally been understood as a pseudoscience or protoscience that eventually gave way to modern chemistry. Less often have the writings of alchemists been studied on their own terms. Yet, given the endurance and prolific nature of the alchemical traditions and the involvement of important figures of "modern science" such as Isaac Newton in the field of alchemy, a teleological understanding of the transition from alchemy to chemistry seems inadequate for discussing how science was practiced in the past. This may be particularly true for the Ottoman context, where a longstanding tradition of alchemy becomes subsumed under a larger narrative of the triumph of Western science during the nineteenth century. In this podcast, Tuna Artun explores the world of alchemy and discusses its transformation during the Ottoman period. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Neither Muslim Nor Christian

with Zeynep Türkyılmaz hosted by Chris Gratien and Vedica Kant Stories of insincere conversion under duress and secret Christian communities in the Ottoman Empire give the impression that many Christians lived in hiding from a Muslim majority. However, as Zeynep Türkyılmaz argues in this podcast, the phenomenon of Crypto-Christianity is really more complex, as diversity and heterogeneity among the Ottoman Empire's rural communities gave rise to "in-between" groups that did not conform to categories of identity being formulated in the center. In this episode, we focus on the Trabzon region in order to understand how local communities sought to define their participation in a rapidly transforming society and economy of the nineteenth century. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Ottoman Qur'an Printing

with Brett Wilson hosted by Chris Gratien and Nir Shafir This episode is part of an ongoing series entitled History of Science, Ottoman or Otherwise.   Download the seriesPodcast Feed | iTunes | Hipcast | Soundcloud Printing in Ottoman Turkish first emerged during the eighteenth century. Yet, even when print had arrived in full force by the middle of the nineteenth century, it remained forbidden to print the text most sought after by Ottoman readers: the Qur'an. In this episode, Brett Wilson discusses the rise of print and Qur'an printing in the Ottoman Empire as well as the emergence of Turkish translations of the Qur'an in the late Ottoman and early Republican eras. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

The Spread of Turkish Language and the Black Sea Dialects

with Bernt Brendemoen Dialects are formed by complex historical processes that involve cultural exchange, migration, and organic transformation. Thus, the study of dialects can provide information about the history of a particular language as well as the communities that have historically spoken that given language. In this episode, Bernt Brendemoen discusses the emergence of the Turkish dialect of the Black Sea region, its relationship with early Anatolian and Ottoman Turkish as well as Pontic Greek, and what it can tell us about the evolution of the modern Turkish language. Bernt Brendemoen is a Professor of Turkology at the University of Oslo in Norway (see faculty page) Chris Gratien is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University researching the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. (see Episode No. 79 Release Date: 16 November 2012 Location: Beyoğlu, Istanbul Editing and Production: Chris Gratien This episode is part of our Historicized Identities series Citation: "The Spread of Turkish Language and the Black Sea Dialects," Bernt Brendemoen and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 79 (November 16, 2012) Select Bibliography Brendemoen, Bernt (1999). Greek and Turkish Language Encounters in Anatolia, In Bernt Brendemoen; Elizabeth Lanza & Else Ryen (ed.),  Language Encounters across time and space. Studies in language contact.  Novus, Oslo.  ISBN 82-7099-308-5.  s 353 - 378 Brendemoen, Bernt (2006). Aspects of Greek-Turkish language contact in Trabzon, In Hendrik Boeschoten & Lars Johanson (ed.),  Turkic Languages in Contact.  Harrassowitz Verlag.  ISBN 3-447-05212-0.  Kapittel.  s 63 - 73 Brendemoen, Bernt (2003). A note on vowel rounding in the Trabzon dialects, In  Studies in Turkish linguistics. Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference in Turkish Linguistics.  Bogazici University Press.  ISBN 975-518-210-1.  Artikkel.  s 313 - 320 Brendemoen, Bernt (2005). Some remarks on the phonological status of Greek loanwords in Anatolian Turkish dialects, In  Linguistic Convergence and Areal Diffusion. Case studies from Iranian, Samitic and Turkic.  Routledge Mental Health.  ISBN 0-415-30804-6.  Part 3: Turkic Languages.  s 335 - 345 Brendemoen, Bernt (1998). Some Remarks on the -mIs past in the Eastern Black Sea Coast Dialects. In: Turkic Languages (Wiesbaden) 1/2, 1997, 161-183.. Turkic languages.  ISSN 1431-4983.  1(2), s 161- 183 Brendemoen, Bernt (2006). Ottoman or Iranian? An example of Turkic-Iranian language contact in East Anatolian dialects, In Lars Johanson & Christiane Bulut (ed.),  Turkic-Iranian Contact Areas. Historical and Linguistic Aspects.  Harrassowitz Verlag.  ISBN 3-447-05276-7.  Kapittel.  s 226 - 238 Brendemoen, Bernt (1998). The Turkish Language Reform, In Lars Johanson & Eva A. Csato (ed.),  The Turkic Languages.  Routledge Mental Health.  ISBN 0-415-08200-5.  s 242 - 247 Brendemoen, Bernt (1998). Turkish Dialects, In Lars Johanson & Eva A. Csato (ed.),  The Turkic Languages.  Routledge Mental Health.  ISBN 0-415-08200-5.  s 236 - 241
Episode Artwork

Did the Ottomans Consider Themselves an Empire?

with Einar Wigen 77. Whose Empire? The entity known today as the Ottoman Empire is often taken by historians as an exemplary model of an imperial state. Yet, until the nineteenth century, Ottomans had never referred to their state as an empire in their writings or bureaucratic records and diplomatic correspondences. In this podcast, Einar Wigen explores the curious absence of the term "empire" within the Ottoman vocabulary, explains how the concept entered Ottoman Turkish, and deals with some possibly equivalent Ottoman titles and designations that may be considered imperial. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Ecology and Empire in Ottoman Egypt

with Alan Mikhail 70. Nature and Empire in Ottoman Egypt Ottoman life was deeply embedded in the countryside and rural production, and thus, issues of irrigation and ecology surrounding the production of staple food crops ranked high on the list of imperial concerns. In this episode, Alan Mikhail explains the ecological history of the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and its breadbasket in Egypt, and explores other issues related to the nascent field of Middle East environmental history. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Dreams in Ottoman Society, Culture, and Cosmos

with Aslı Niyazioğlu hosted by Chris Gratien and Nir Shafir This episode is part of an ongoing series entitled History of Science, Ottoman or Otherwise.   Download the seriesPodcast Feed | iTunes | Hipcast | Soundcloud Dreams are an essential part of the human experience but are attributed different significance in various times and places. For many Ottomans, dreams were a forum for the revelation of hidden or unseen knowledge, and dream narratives as well as their interpretations found their way into many Ottoman texts. In this podcast, Aslı Niyazioğlu explains the role of dreams within Ottoman society, focusing on dream narratives in biographical dictionaries of the early modern era, and we discuss possible changes over time in the understanding of dreams in the Ottoman world.  « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Sex, Love, and Worship in Classical Ottoman Texts

with Selim Kuru  hosted by Chris Gratien and Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano  This episode is part of a series on Women, Gender, and Sex in Ottoman history Download the seriesPodcast Feed | iTunes | Soundcloud Historians have used classical Ottoman texts to explore social issues such as sexuality, with compiled manuscripts from various literary genres often forming a data-mine for historical information. However, this type of selective reading has often distorted or obscured the original meaning and context of literary works. Sometimes, texts that appear erotic or sexual in nature such as gazel could have been intended for an entirely different purpose. In this episode, Dr. Selim Kuru examines the concepts of mahbub peresti (worship of the beloved) and gulâm pâregi (pederasty) and various motifs concerning male beauty in the shehrengiz (Gibb's "city-thrillers") genre in search of a more contextualized approach these would-be erotic texts. « Click for More »
Episode Artwork

Deconstructing the Ottoman State

with Emrah Safa Gürkan hosted by Chris Gratien Although it is not uncommon when reading about the Ottoman Empire to see it portrayed as a monolithic, rational state apparatus serving a purported state interest, factions with their own interests and agendas played a major role in Ottoman decision-making. In this episode, Dr. Emrah Safa Gürkan explains the importance of disconglomerating state interests and examining factionalism when approaching politics in the Ottoman Empire. « Click for More »