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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.   

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