Common Ground and Imagined Communities

The study of discourse already occupies a prominent place within the humanities, but what can the study of a much differently defined discourse in the study of language offer to fields such as history? In this episode, we attempt to bridge the gap between language and cognitive science and the field of history through a comparison of two analogous concepts: the linguistic notion of "common ground" and a sociological understanding of "the imagined community."

Daniel Pontillo is a doctoral candidate in Brain and Cognitive Science at the University of Rochester
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. 149
Release Date: 16 March 2014
Location: Rochester, NY
Editing and Production: Chris Gratien

Special acknowledgements to Ayça Baydar and her podcast on Karamanlı culture the "conversation with a Rum peasant" described in the episode.

Citation: "Common Ground and Imagined Communities," Daniel Pontillo and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 149 (16 March 2014)

Listeners might also like:

#040 Gaze: Eyes, Seeing and Being Seen | Daniel Pontillo
#114 Painting the Peasant in Modern Turkey | Seçil Yılmaz
#065 Karamanlı Culture in the Ottoman Empire | Ayça Baydar
#126 Jewish Citizens on Exhibit | Alma Heckman
#084 Palestinianism and Zionism in the Ottoman Empire | Louis Fishman

Note for the listener: This podcast is not primarily a work of primary source research. It is a synthesis of publicly available information and draws extensively from the 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.


Clark, Herbert H. Arenas of Language Use. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso, 1991. 


ماثيو said…
Great job on this one, I was listening enthralled. I always laugh at how easily jargon rolls off of Chris Gratien's tongue.
Chris Gratien said…
i deliberately flout the maxim of this asteism and thank you sir!

Ottoman History Podcast is a noncommerical website intended for educational use. Anyone is welcome to use and reproduce our content with proper attribution under the terms of noncommercial fair use within the classroom setting or on other educational websites. All third-party content is used either with express permission or under the terms of fair use. Our page and podcasts contain no advertising and our website receives no revenue. All donations received are used solely for the purposes of covering our expenses. Unauthorized commercial use of our material is strictly prohibited, as it violates not only our noncommercial commitment but also the rights of third-party content owners.

We make efforts to completely cite all secondary sources employed in the making of our episodes and properly attribute third-party content such as images from the web. If you feel that your material has been improperly used or incorrectly attributed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us.