Transportation and Public Space in Ottoman Istanbul | James Ryan

The spread of public transportation in the form of boats and trams in late Ottoman Istanbul changed the lived geography of the city and created new public spaces of interaction. In this episode, Jim Ryan discusses the debates surrounding social conduct and gender relations on the trams and how this new mode of transport fit into the larger transformations of Ottoman urban space.

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James Ryan is a PhD candidate in the department of History at University of Pennsylvania (see
Sam Dolbee is a PhD candidate in the department of Middle East Studies at New York University

Episode No. 96
Release Date: 16 March 2013
Location: New York, NY
Images and bibliography courtesy of James Ryan (see below)
This episode is part of our series on Urban Space in the Ottoman World

Citation: "On the Tram: Transport and Public Space in Ottoman Istanbul," Jim Ryan, Sam Dolbee, and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 97 (March 17, 2013)

Select Bibliography

Primary Sources

Babanzade, Ismali Hakkı, De Stamboul a Bagdad: Notes et Impressions d’un Homme d’Etat Turc Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1911

Gürsel, Nedim, The Last Tram Ruth Whitehouse trans., London: Comma Press 2011

Rasim, Ahmet, Fuhş-u Atık, Istanbul: İkdam Matbaası 1922

___________, Dünkü İstanbul Hovardalık, Istanbul: Arba Press 1987

Secondary Sources

Belenky, Masha, “Transitory Tales: Writing the Omnibus in Nineteenth-Century Paris” Dix-Neuf Vol. 16 No. 3, November 2012, pp. 283-303

Brummett, Palmira, Image and Imperialism in the Ottoman Revolutionary Press, 1908-1911 Albany: State University of New York Press, 2000

Çelik, Zeynep, Empire, Architecture and the City: French-Ottoman Encounters, 1830-1914 Seattle, University of Washington Press, 2008

Emrence, Cem, “Istanbul Tramvay’ında Sınıf ve Kimlik (1871-1922)” Toplumsal Tarih Vol. 16, No. 93 (2001) pp. 6-13

Gülersoy, Çelik, Tramvay İstanbul’da Istanbul, Istanbul Kitapliği, 1989

Hanssen, Jens, Fin de Siècle Beirut: The Making of an Ottoman Provincial Capital, New York, Oxford University Press 2005

Kayserlioğlu, R. Sertaç Dersaadet'ten Istanbul'a Tramvay Ikinci Bölüm Istanbul, İ.E.T.T Genel Müdürlüğü 1999

Papayanis, Nicholas, Horse-Drawn Cabs and Omnibuses in Paris: The Idea of Circulation and the Business of Public Transit, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press 1996

Philliou, Christine, “When the Clock Strikes Twelve: The Inception of an Ottoman Past in Early Republican Turkey” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 31, No. 1 pp. 172-182, 2011

Schoenberg, Phillip Ernest, “The Evolution of Transport in Turkey (Eastern Thrace and Asia Minor) under Ottoman Rule, 1856-1918” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 13, No. 3 (1977)

Shissler, A. Holly, “Beauty Is Nothing To Be Ashamed Of: Beauty Contests as Tools of Women’s Liberation in Early Republican Turkey” in Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 24, No. 1 2004 pp. 107-122

Woodall G. Carole, “Sensing the City: Sound, Movement and the Night in 1920s Istanbul” Ph.D. diss. New York University Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies, 2008

Check out our article of the Afternoon Map by Nicholas Danforth for more information and maps about trams and transport in Istanbul


“After the Lifting of the Tramway Curtain”
Türkiye Edebiyat Mecmuası Vol. 1 No. 1 September 1, 1924

Istanbul Electric Tramway Opening, 1914
R. Sertaç Kayserlioğlu /Dersaadet'ten Istanbul'a Tramvay/ 2inci Bölüm Istanbul, İ.E.T.T Genel Müdürlüğü 1999

Istanbul Tramway Map c1915-1920
R. Sertaç Kayserlioğlu /Dersaadet'ten Istanbul'a Tramvay/ 2inci Bölüm Istanbul, İ.E.T.T Genel Müdürlüğü 1999

“Mayıs Gezintisi: Asude köşe” (“A May Walk: A Serene Corner”)
reprinted in Gülersoy, Istanbul’da Tramvay p. 151

“Tombul Teyze tramvayda” (“Chubby Auntie on the tramway”)
reprinted in Gülersoy, Istanbul’da Tramvay p. 108

Music: Kara Güneş - Istanbul


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