Aug 28, 2015

Late Ottoman Bosnia and the Imperial Afterlife

with Leyla Amzi-Erdoğdular

hosted by Susanna Ferguson

Download the episode


The Treaty of Berlin in 1878 brought an Austro-Hungarian occupation to many parts of the Balkans such as Bosnia that had lived under Ottoman rule for centuries. While this was certainly a historical rupture, as Leyla Amzi-Erdoğdular emphasizes, this period also witnessed some important continuities with the Ottoman past. In this episode, we discuss Dr. Amzi-Erdoğdular's ongoing book project regarding those continuities and examine the lives of Ottoman Muslims of Bosnia between two empires.

Aug 21, 2015

British-Ottoman Diplomacy and the Making of Maritime Law

with Michael Talbot & Güneş Işıksel

hosted by Arianne Urus and Sam Dolbee

Download the episode

This podcast explores murky boundaries in two senses. The first has to do with Anglo-Ottoman commerce and diplomacy in the early modern period. Like the more well-known case of the the British East India Company in South Asia, British diplomatic representation in Constantinople was also controlled by a corporate entity. Known as the Levant Company, the institution ensured that from the late 16th to the early 19th century there was little distinction between merchants and statesmen when it came to British diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire. The blurred lines gave way to what might be called a “cycle of necessity,” in which British diplomats gave gifts to secure commercial privileges for British merchants who would then fund the diplomats to provide gifts again. Yet the cycle did not always proceed smoothly, and discrepancies between translations of agreements often played a key role in hitches, in the process raising basic yet profound questions about what treaty-making meant. The second part of the podcast considers Ottoman maritime space and legal order more broadly. With respect to this theme, murkiness makes another appearance, this time as it related to the ability to possess or control the sea. What did it mean to draw a line across the waves, to differentiate between su and derya? Particularly in an age of imprecise mapmaking technologies, these efforts at delineation often were accompanied by a good deal of ambiguity, pointing to the complexity - if not always plurality - of legal cultures and claims to sovereignty that existed in the Ottoman maritime space and, indeed, that extended even ashore the well-protected domains as well.

Aug 19, 2015

Sexology in Hebrew and Arabic

with Liat Kozma

hosted by Susanna Ferguson and Chris Gratien

Download the episode

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, scientists and physicians the world over began to think of sex as something that could be studied and understood through rational methods. In places like Germany, these sexologists were associated with progressive political movements that combated stigmatization of homosexuality and contraception and broke taboos regarding issues such as impotence and masturbation. In this episode, Liat Kozma examines how sexology traveled and transformed in Middle Eastern contexts through the writings of Egyptian doctors and Jewish exiles.

Aug 11, 2015

Following Ottoman Photographs

with Edhem Eldem

hosted by Nir Shafir and Emily Neumeier

Download the episode

Photography came to the Ottoman Empire almost immediately after its invention in 1839. Some of the major figures and studios involved in Ottoman photography have been identified, and certain stylistic aspects of images produced in and of the Ottoman Empire such as orientalism are well established. Yet there is comparatively little extant work regarding the reception, impact, and circulation of images during the late Ottoman period. In this episode, Emily Neumeier and Nir Shafir sit down with Edhem Eldem to discuss the ways in which restoring contexts of viewing, circulation, and publication of images offers a different story of late Ottoman photography using examples from the Camera Ottomana photography exhibition at Koç RCAC in Istanbul, curated by Zeynep Çelik, Edhem Eldem, and Bahattin Öztuncay.