Aug 24, 2014

Migrant Workers in Ottoman Anatolia

with Chris Gratien

hosted by Sam Dolbee

The nineteenth century was a period when world empires sought to settle nomads and immigrants in the countryside for the purposes of encouraging cultivation and loyalty to expanding states. Yet, at the same time, the economic consequences of global trade created sudden demand for labor that fostered new types of migration and mobility. This is the case in Ottoman Çukurova, where the rise of the cotton industry attracted seasonal labor flows from throughout Anatolia and Syria. In this episode, Chris Gratien explores the world of late Ottoman Adana and the social spaces inhabited and created by the region's itinerant working class.

Âb-ı Müncemid: Osmanlı'da buz üretimi

Burcu Kurt

Soğutma teknolojisinden önce dahi, kar ve buz gerek Osmanlı sarayı tarafından, gerekse halk tarafından oldukça kullanılan bir meta idi. Bu podcastımızda Burcu Kurt ile sanayileşmenin bu iki metanın üretim ve tüketimini nasıl etkilediğini Osmanlı devleti, toplumu ve ekonomisi açısından ele aldık.

Before the advent of refrigeration technology, snow and ice were frequently used as sources of cool by the Ottoman palace and people. In this podcast, Burcu Kurt explains how the production and consumption of these two products was affected by the industrialization (episode is in Turkish).

Aug 15, 2014

Writing the History of Palestine and the Palestinians

with Beshara Doumani

hosted by Chris Gratien

Historians face numerous challenges when attempting to excavate the Palestinian past. Palestinians are often erased from the landscape and their voices are wiped from the historical record. This is especially true with regards to the Ottoman past, which despite its immediate relevance for understanding the present, has been largely ignored by scholars. In this episode, Beshara Doumani discusses his experiences in rediscovering Ottoman Palestine and some of the unique challenges facing historians seeking to write the history of Palestinians.

Beshara Doumani is a Professor of History at Brown University. His research examines the history of Palestine as well as family, law, and economy in Ottoman Syria.
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. 170
Release Date: 15 August 2014
Location: Etiler, Istanbul
Editing and Production: Chris Gratien
Short musical excerpt: Ahmed Qaabour - Ounadikoum

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Citation: "Writing the History of Palestine and the Palestinians," Beshara Doumani and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 170 (15 August 2014)


Doumani, Beshara. Rediscovering Palestine Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Doumani, Beshara. 1985. "Palestinian Islamic Court Records: A Source for Socioeconomic History". Middle East Studies Association Bulletin. 19, no. 2: 155-172.

Doumani, Beshara. 2007. "Palestine Versus the Palestinians?: The Iron Laws and Ironies of a People Denied". Journal of Palestine Studies : a Quarterly on Palestinian Affairs and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. 36, no. 4: 49-64.

Davis, Rochelle. Palestinian Village Histories: Geographies of the Displaced. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2011.

Rafeq, Abdul-Karim, Peter Sluglett, and Stefan Weber. Syria and Bilad Al-Sham Under Ottoman Rule Essays in Honour of Abdul Karim Rafeq. Leiden: Brill, 2010. 

Singer, Amy. Palestinian Peasants and Ottoman Officials: Rural Administration Around Sixteenth-Century Jerusalem. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Tamārī, Salīm. Year of the Locust A Soldier's Diary and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. 

Khoury, Dina Rizk. State and Provincial Society in the Ottoman Empire: Mosul, 1540-1834. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Knopf, 1993.


Nablus during the 1870s (Source: Quarelli, Israel Museum)

Aug 10, 2014

Astronomy and Islam in late Ottoman Egypt

with Daniel Stolz

hosted by Nir Shafir

The movements of celestial bodies had long been of tremendous importance within the social and religious spheres throughout the Muslim world. As new understandings of space and time began to emerge during the nineteenth century, longstanding astronomical practices in places such as Egypt witnessed a profound transformation. In this episode, Daniel Stolz discusses the importance of astronomy in nineteenth-century Egypt and the overlapping scientific traditions they practiced.

Daniel Stolz is a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Science in Human Culture and Department of History at Northwestern University. His research examines the history of science, technology, and Islam since the eighteenth century. (academic page)
Nir Shafir is a doctoral candidate at UCLA studying Ottoman intellectual history. (see

Episode No. 169
Release date: 10 August 2014
Location: Paris, France
Editing and Production by Chris Gratien
This episode is part of an ongoing series entitled History of Science, Ottoman or Otherwise.

Download the series
Podcast Feed | iTunes | Soundcloud

Citation: "Astronomy and Islam in late Ottoman Egypt," Daniel Stolz, Nir Shafir, and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 169 (10 August 2014)


Barak, On. On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013.

Crozet, Pascal. Les sciences modernes en Égypte: transfert et appropriation, 1805-1902. Paris: Geuthner, 2008.

Elshakry, Marwa. Reading Darwin in Arabic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Wishnitzer, Avner. "Our Time: On the Durability of the Alaturka Hour System in the Late Ottoman Empire,” International Journal of Turkish Studies, 16/1 (2010): 47-69.

Brentjes, Sonja, and Robert G. Morrison. “The Sciences in Islamic Societies.” The New Cambridge History of Islam, Volume 4. Ed. Robert Irwin with William Blair. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

King, David A. In Synchrony with the Heavens: Studies in Astronomical Timekeeping and Instrumentation in Medieval Islam. 2v. Leiden: Brill, 2004. (See especially Part V, “On the role of the muezzin and muwaqqit.”)

Kennedy, E.S. “A Survey of Astronomical Tables.” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society 46 (New Series), no. 2 (1956), 123-177. (A classic survey of the history of the zij.)

Sayılı, Aydın. The Observatory in Islam and Its Place in the General History of the Observatory. Ankara: Turkish Historical Society, 1960.

Aug 1, 2014

Silent Violence in the Ottoman Empire

with Özge Ertem & Graham Pitts

hosted by Chris Gratien

Although seldom presented as such, famine, hunger, and disease were major forces influencing and shaping life in the countryside of the Ottoman Empire from its beginning until its final years. In this episode, we discuss the global conversation surrounding famine, colonialism, and the world economy during the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Özge Ertem weighs in with a discussion of her research on Anatolian famines of the 1870s, which claimed more than a quarter-million lives, and Graham Pitts talks about famine in Mount Lebanon during the First World War, which killed roughly a third of the population in that region. 

Özge Ertem received her Ph.D. in 2012 from the Department of History and Civilization at European University Institute in Florence. She is currently Head Librarian at Koç University RCAC in Istanbul. (see
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
Graham Pitts is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University researching the environmental history of Lebanon. (see

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Ajay, Nicholas Z. Mount Lebanon and the Wilayah of Beirut, 1914-1918: the war years. Diss. Georgetown University, 1972.

Ayalon, Yaron. “Famines, Earthquakes, Plagues: Natural Disasters in Ottoman Syria in the
writings of visitors.” The Journal of Ottoman Studies, XXXII, (Istanbul: 2008): 203-27.

Davis, Mike. Late Victorian Holocausts: El Nino Famines and the Making of the Third
World. New York: Verso, 2001.

Ertem, Özge. Eating the Last Seed: Famine, empire, survival and order in Ottoman Anatolia in the late 19th century. Diss. European University Institute, 2012.

Ó Gráda, Cormac. Famine: A Short History. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2009.

Sen, Amartya. Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981.

Tanielian, Melanie. The War of Famine: Everyday Life in Wartime Beirut and Mount Lebanon (1914-1918). Diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2012.

Watts, Michael. Silent Violence: Food, Famine, & Peasantry in Northern Nigeria. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.