Mar 31, 2017

The Nahda and the Translators of Damietta

Episode 310

hosted by Nir Shafir and Shireen Hamza

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The “Nahda” is often seen as the beginning of the modern intellectual revival of the Arabs, when European Enlightenment ideas were adopted by Middle Eastern thinkers from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. In this podcast with Peter Hill, we discuss a circle of Syrian Christians in Damietta, Egypt who were actively translating Greek, Italian and French Enlightenment texts into Arabic in the first two decades of the nineteenth century, well before the start of the Nahda. Hill describes not only who these translators and patrons were, but also how this challenges diffusionist and connective conceptions of the intellectual history of the Middle East.

Mar 30, 2017

Everyday Life and History in Ottoman Illustrated Journals

Episode 309

hosted by Susanna Ferguson

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Photography came to the Ottoman empire almost as soon as it was invented in Europe. Over subsequent decades, however, techniques improved, cameras got cheaper and more portable, and photographic production, circulation, and collection in Ottoman lands moved outside of the rarefied circles of the elite studios and the state. In this episode, Ahmet Ersoy discusses one of the main media for this kind of vernacular photography--the illustrated journals of the late Ottoman empire. What can understanding the circulation of images in this form help us to understand about history, identity, and print culture in the late Ottoman Empire, as well as about how to study photography itself?

Mar 27, 2017

Sabbatai Sevi and the Ottoman-Turkish Dönmes

Episode 308


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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.

Mar 23, 2017

Les Jeunes Turcs: Sauver l'Empire et créer la Nation

Episode 307

animée par Aurélie Perrier et Andreas Guidi

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Cross-listed on The Southeast Passage

Le mouvement des Jeunes Turcs et la Révolution de 1908 bouleversent profondément le système multiethnique et multiconfessionnel de l’empire ottoman en établissant un nouveau cadre politique pour les identifications concernant l’ État et la Nation. Dans cet épisode, François Georgeon explore avec nous les origines et les principales transformations du mouvement Jeune Turc: qui sont ces révolutionnaires ? Sont-ils des libéraux ou des réactionnaires, et comment caractériser leur rapport au passé ottoman, aux institutions ottomanes et à la modernité ? Enfin, comment s’articulent les identités nationalistes et impérialistes qu’ils invoquent et quelles conséquences pour la notion du vivre ensemble au sein de l’empire Ottoman et dont la République Turque hérite ?

Mar 13, 2017

Frontiers of Nationalism in Eastern Europe


Episode 306


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This episode examines new perspectives on the study of nationalism through a discussion of emerging themes in the history of Eastern Europe. We talk to two researchers about their ongoing projects concerning the history of nationalism in places that did not necessary fit the mold. Cristian Florea discusses the history of Bukovina, a borderland region that often found itself divided between multi-ethnic empires and during the 20th century, between emergent nation states. Malgorzata Kurjanska offers an introduction to her work on the historical sociology of Eastern Europe and her comparative study of civil society and elite competition multiple regions of former Congress Poland. In addition, we reflect on the value of studying the phenomenon of nationalism in "non-national" geographies and at the would-be margins of Europe.

Mar 10, 2017

Documenting the Destruction of Balkan Waqf Institutions

Episode 305


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The destruction of Ottoman-era waqf institutions in the Balkans during the wars of the 1990s was extensive, from masjids and tekkes to bridges and libraries. A bibliographer at Harvard's Fine Arts Library, András Riedlmayer, traveled throughout the region to document this destruction during and after the wars. In this podcast, Riedlmayer describes his work on waqf institutions in the Balkans and his testimonies about the destruction of culture for international war tribunals over the last two decades. We discuss the fate of antiquities during wars and the ethical implications for historians, collectors and museums.

Mar 9, 2017

Crimea and the Russian Empire

Episode 304


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For much of the early modern period, the Crimean Khanate was the staunch ally of the Ottoman state in its rivalry with the growing Russian Empire. In this regard, Crimea's annexation by Russia in 1783 represented an major historical departure. But as our guest in this episode, Kelly O'Neill, explains, the early period of Crimea's incorporation into the Russian Empire was characterized by continuities as well as ruptures. In this conversation, we explore the subjects of Islamic law and endowments in Crimea under Russian rule and issues of political identity, as well as the history of the Black Sea slave trade and O'Neill's historical GIS project about the Russian Empire called "Imperiia: Mapping the Russian Empire."

Mar 5, 2017

Syrian Alawis under Ottoman Rule

Episode 303


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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.

Mar 2, 2017

Les harkis restés en Algérie: tabou et non-dits

Episode 302

avec Pierre Daum
animée par Dorothée Myriam Kellou et Aurélie Perrier

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Depuis la fin de la guerre d’indépendance, la question des harkis agite les consciences en France comme en Algérie. Pierre Daum, journaliste au Monde Diplomatique et auteur du livre Le dernier tabou : les « harkis » restés en Algérie après l’indépendance, est parti à la rencontre de ces supplétifs de l’armée française et de leurs descendants. Dans cet épisode, il explore avec nous les non-dits et tabous qui entourent cette question : qui sont ces plus de 400,000 Algériens, qui à un moment ou un autre entre 1954 et 1962, se sont engagés aux côtés de la France? Quelles étaient leurs motivations, et quel fut leur sort suite à l’indépendance de 1962? Au fil de la discussion, Pierre Daum bat en brèche un certain nombre d’idées reçues sur les harkis et explore leur signification dans l’imaginaire français et algérien.