Provincial Histories of the Ottoman Empire

with Marc Aymes

hosted by Susanna Ferguson

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In this episode, we talk with Marc Aymes about his approach to Ottoman provincial history through the history of 19th century Cyprus. What is the difference between an Ottoman "provincial history" and "a history of the Ottoman provinces?" Can a "provincial" approach to Ottoman history change the way we understand major questions in Ottoman historiography, including the impact of 19th century reforms (Tanzimat), the role of Europe and Europeans in Ottoman society, and the relationship between Istanbul and other parts of the Sultan's well-protected domains? How might research on Ottoman Cyprus enable us to rethink not only established hypotheses about Ottoman governance, social life, and political transformation in the 19th century, but also our very modes of doing and understanding history itself? 

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Marc Aymes is a Permanent Research Fellow at CNRS (France) affiliated with the Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques. Over the past few years, he conducted research and teaching in Cyprus, Greece, France, Germany, Turkey and the US, with a focus on Mediterranean provincials and forging Ottomans. Recent publications include A Provincial History of the Ottoman Empire: Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean in the Nineteenth Century and Order and Compromise: Government Practices in Turkey from the Late Ottoman Empire to the Early 21st Century (co-edited with Benjamin Gourisse and Élise Massicard).
Susanna Ferguson is a Ph.D. Candidate in Middle Eastern History at Columbia University. She is currently working on a dissertation entitled "Tracing Tarbiya: Women, Gender and Childrearing in Egypt and Lebanon, 1865-1939."  


Episode No. 259
Release Date: 18 August 2016
Recording Location: Paris, France
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Sound excerpts: Harmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal EfendiIstanbul'dan Ayva Gelir Nar Gelir - Azize Tozem and Sari Recep
Special thanks to Kara Güneş for allowing us to use the composition "Istanbul" in the outro music
Bibliography courtesy of Marc Aymes


Anastasopoulos, A. (2005) (ed.), Provincial Elites in the Ottoman Empire [Proceedings of the Halcyon Days V, Rethymno, 10-12 January 2003], Rethymno, Crete University Press.

Barbir, K. (1980) Ottoman Rule in Damascus, 1708-1758, Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Canbakal, H. (2007) Society and Politics in an Ottoman Town: ‘Ayntāb in the 17th Century. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

Chakrabarty, D. (2000) Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference, Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.

Corbin, A. (1992) ‘Paris-province’, in P. Nora (ed.), Les Lieux de mémoire, vol II: Les France, t.1: Conflits et partages, Paris: NRF-Gallimard.

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

Forsén, B. and G. Salmeri (2008) (eds) The Province Strikes Back: imperial dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean [Proceedings of the conference ‘Experience of Empires: Responses from the Provinces’, Athens, June 2006], Helsinki: Suomen Ateenan-Instituutin säätiö.

Hadjikyriacou, A. (2011) ‘Society and Economy on an Ottoman Island: Cyprus in the Eighteenth Century’, London: School of Oriental and African Studies, unpubl. Ph.D. thesis.

Hanssen, J, T. Philipp and S. Weber (2002) (eds), The Empire in the City: Arab Provincial Capitals in the Late Ottoman Empire, Beyrouth: Ergon Verlag Würzburg in Kommission.

Kıbrıs Mutasarrıflığı Evrak ve Defter Kataloğu (1996) [Catalogue of documents and registers from the Cyprus governorate] Istanbul: T.C. Başbakanlık Devlet Arşivleri Genel Müdürlüğü, Osmanlı Arşivi Daire Başkanlığı, unpubl. brochure available in the reading rooms of the Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi in Istanbul.

Levi, G. (1988) Inheriting Power: The Story of an Exorcist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Michael, M., M. Kappler and E. Gavriel (2009) (eds) Ottoman Cyprus: A Collection of Studies on History and Culture, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Neumann, C. (1998) ‘Selanik’te onsekizinci yüzyılın sonunda Masârif-i Vilâyet Defterleri: merkezî hükümet, taşra idaresi ve şehir yönetimi üçgeninde mâlî işlemler’ [Late 18th-century registers of provincial expenditure in Salonica: financial procedures between central government, provincial administration and municipal authorities], Tarih Enstitüsü Dergisi, 16: 69-97.

Reinkowski, M. (2005) Die Dinge der Ordnung. Eine vergleichende Untersuchung über die osmanischen Tanzimat, Münich: Oldenbourg.


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