Nov 24, 2012

The Journey of an Ottoman Painting

with Emily Neumeier

hosted by Chris Gratien

Osman Hamdi Bey is recognized today as the foremost artist of the late-Ottoman period. Yet, in his time, it was his unique access to the ancient past as the head of Istanbul's archaeology museum that drew the interest of his Western contemporaries. In this episode, Emily Neumeier retraces the story of a rare Osman Hamdi Bey painting (At the Mosque Door, 1890 - click for high res image) that turned up in the Penn archaeology museum and explains what it tells us about art, artifacts, and diplomacy during the late-Ottoman era.

Emily Neumeier is a PhD student of Ottoman art history at the University of Pennsylvania
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see

Citation: "Lost and Found: Art, Diplomacy, and the Journey of a Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Painting," Emily Neumeier and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 81 (November 24, 2012)

Enjoy these images associated with the podcast:

1. Osman Hamdi Bey (1842-1910)
2. Unknown Photographer, Osman Hamdi Bey 
in his Atelier, circa 1900.
3. Pascal Sébah, Peasant Clothing from Bursa Region,
from Ethnographic Photograph Collection
at Vienna Exposition, 1873 (Library of Congress)
4. Osman Hamdi Bey, The Tortoise Trainer,
Pera Museum (click for high-res)
5. Osman Hamdi Bey, Dervish in the Children’s Tomb
(Çocuklar Türbesinde Derviş
or Şehzadeler Türbesinde Derviş), 1908
Oil on canvas, 124 x 93 cm,
Mimar Sinan Resim ve Heykel Muzesi
6. Osman Hamdi Bey, Mihrap or Genesis
7. Osman Hamdi Bey,
At the Mosque Door, 1891,
Oil on canvas, 203 x 123.5 cm,
University of Pennsylvania Museum of
 Archaeology and Anthropology.
(click for high-res)
8. At the Mosque Door at the Chicago Columbian Exposition
in HH Bancroft, The Book of the Fair (1893), p. 905.
9. Osman Hamdi Bey, Excavations at Nippur, 1903
Oil on canvas, 190.7 x 143.8 cm
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
(click for high-res)
10. Jean Léone Gérôme, The Snake Charmer (1870),  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Link to the Osman Hamdi Bey and the Americans exhibition at Pera Gallery

Link to the SALT Galata exhibition Scramble for the Past

Select Bibliography:

Archaeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands. On-line exhibition catalogue. Philadelphia: 
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Eldem, Edhem. 2010. Osman Hamdi Bey Sözlüǧü. Ankara: Kültür ve Turizm

---. 2004.  “An Ottoman Archaeologist Caught Between Two Worlds: Osman
Hamdi Bey (1842-1910).”In Archaeology Anthropology and Heritage in the Balkans and Anatolia: The Life and Times of F.W. Hasluck, 1878-1920, edited by David Shankland, vol. 1, 121-49. Istanbul: Isis.

Makdisi, Ussama. 2002. “Ottoman Orientalism.” The American Historical Art Review 107
(3): 768-96.

Osman Hamdi Bey & Amerikalılar: Arkeoloji, Diplomasi, Sanat = Osman Hamdi Bey & the 
Americans: Archaeology, Diplomacy, Art. Edited by Renata Holod and Robert
Ousterhout. Exhibition Catalogue. Istanbul : Pera Müzesi, 2011.

Shaw, Wendy. 1996. Possessors and Possessed: Museums, Archaeology, and the 
Visualization of History in the Late Ottoman Empire. Berkeley: University of
California Press.

Nov 20, 2012

How Did the Turkey Get Its Name?

Updated 26 November 2014

The Columbian expedition of 1492 sought to reach Asia, but ended up somewhere else entirely. And while the Americas had little to do with the old world, this did not prevent people and items from the other side of the Atlantic being associated with the Middle East, India, and elsewhere. In this updated episode, we consider the explanations for why a familiar bird and favorite Thanksgiving day meal has the same name as the country of Turkey and explore the name for the turkey in other languages. We also discuss more broadly the historical context within which the turkey and other foods such as potatoes and corn became part of global diets.

Nov 16, 2012

The Spread of Turkish Language and the Black Sea Dialects | 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

Nov 10, 2012

Agriculture and Autonomy in the Modern Arab World

with Graham Auman Pitts

hosted by Chris Gratien and Nicholas Danforth

The past years have shown how a period of transformation across the entire Middle East region can result in very different outcomes in different places. In this podcast, we discuss another historical period of transformation in the Middle East--the post-World War II era culminating with the year of 1958--and explore the economic backdrop of these events and their different outcomes in Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt with particular emphasis on agrarian economy and the role of the United States.

Graham Pitts is a PhD candidate at Georgetown University focusing on Middle East environmental history
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see
Nicholas Danforth is a PhD student studying the history of modern Turkey at Georgetown University (see

Citation: "Autonomy and Agriculture in the Modern Arab World," Graham Pitts, Chris Gratien, and Nicholas Danforth, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 78 (November 10, 2012)

Note for the listener: This podcast is based in part on primary source research. It also makes use of publicly available information and draws from the following works below, which are also mentioned during the course of the episode. For the purposes of academic citation, we encourage you to consult these works as well. 

Select Bibliography

Ba’lbakki, Ahmad. al-Zira‘a al-Lubnaniyah wa-tadakhulat al dawlah fi al-ariyaf min al-istiqlal hatta al harb al-ahliyya. Beirut: Editions Meditérranée, 1985.
Batatu, Hanna. The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq: a study of Iraq’s Old Landed and Commercial Classes and of its Communists, Ba‘thists, and Free Officers. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982.
_____. Syria’s Peasantry, the Descendants of its Lesser Rural Notables, and Their Politics, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999.  
Farouk-Sluglett, Marion and Peter Sluglett. “The Social Classes and the Origins of the Revolution,” in The Iraqi Revolution of 1958: The Old Social Classes Revisited, Robert A Fernea and Wm. Roger Louis eds. London: IB Taurus, 1991.
Perkins, John H. Geopolitics and the Green Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Provence, Michael. The Great Syrian Revolt and the Rise of Arab Nationalism. Austin: the University of Texas, 2005.
Nasr, Salim. “The Crisis of Lebanese Capitalism.” MERIP Reports 73 (1978)
Traboulsi, Fawwaz.  A History of Modern Lebanon. London: Pluto Press, 2007.
Warriner, Doreen. Land Reform and Development in the Middle East: a study of Egypt, Syria and Iraq. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1957.
Wiens, Henry. “The United States Operations Mission in Iraq,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 323, Partnership for Progress: International Technical Co-Operation (May, 1959): 140-149.

Episode Music: Ilham Al Madfai - Mohamad Bouya Mohamad

Nov 5, 2012

Did the Ottomans Consider Themselves an Empire?

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.

Einar Wigen is a PhD candidate in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see
Timur Hammond is a PhD candidate in the Geography department at UCLA studying the social and cultural geography of modern Turkey

Citation: "Empire in Question: Did the Ottomans Consider Themselves an Empire?," Einar Wigen, Chris Gratien, and Timur Hammond, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 77 (November 5, 2012)

Select Bibliography:

Margrit Pernau "Whither Conceptual History? From National to Entangled Histories" Contributions to the History of Concepts 7(1):1-11.
Einar Wigen (forthcoming 2013) "Ottoman Concepts of Empire" Contributions to the History of Concepts.
Karen Barkey. Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
Selim Deringil “,‘They Live in a State of Nomadism and Savagery,’ The Late Ottoman Empire and the Post-Colonial Debate,” Comparative Studies in History and Society 45(2), 2003, 311-342
Jörn Leonhard & Ulrike von Hirschhausen (eds.) Comparing empires: encounters and transfers in the long nineteenth century. Göttingen/Oakville, CT: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011  
Daniel H. Nexon and Thomas Wright “What’s at Stake in the American Empire Debate,” The American Political Science Review 101(2), 2007, 253-271.
Reinhart Koselleck. Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004).
Reinhart Koselleck (2011) "Introduction and Prefaces to the Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe" Contributions to the History of Concepts, 6(1):1-37.
Anthony Pagden. Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France c.1500-c.1800 (New Haven CN: Yale University Press, 1995).
Selim Deringil. The Well-protected Domains: Ideology and The Legitimation of Power in The Ottoman Empire, 1876-1909 (London/New York: I.B. Tauris, 1998).
Christoph K. Neumann, “Devletin Adı Yok — Bir Amblemin Okunması,” [The State Has No Name — the Reading of an Emblem] Cogito 19 (1999): 274.