German Expatriates in Late Ottoman Istanbul

with Philipp Wirtz

hosted by Taylan Güngör and Michael Talbot

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Ottoman-German relations have usually been studied in the context of great-power politics, imperialism both hard and soft, or the military and economic spheres. In this podcast Philipp Wirtz presents some initial findings of a larger research project focusing on personal networks and experiences of Germans residing in the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic and two German expatriates in particular: the journalist Friedrich Schrader and the academic Martin Hartmann. As theatre-goers, buyers of books and writers of literary reviews, both took an active part in the cultural life of the Ottoman capital in the years following the Young Turk Revolution.  Using their local knowledge and fluency in Ottoman Turkish, both were able to gain unique insights at odds with the popular portrayal of Ottoman affairs in the western media. On the other hand, neither of these authors was immune to the biases of their times, constantly questioning the extent to which Ottoman literary expression, and in particular the emerging “Turkish national literature” were “original” or “civilised.

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Philipp Wirtz studied the history, languages and cultures of Europe and the Middle East in Frankfurt am Main, Bamberg and London, with research trips taking him to Iran and Turkey in between. He received his PhD from SOAS, University of London, in 2013 for a dissertation that analysed the ways in which the 'lost world' of the Ottoman Empire was presented in Turkish autobiographies of the 20th century. He currently is a Teaching Fellow in Middle East History at the Department of History, University of Warwick, and Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS
Taylan Güngör is a doctoral candidate at SOAS in London. His interests are in Medieval and Pre-Modern Eastern Mediterranean trading circles and his research is on trade in Istanbul after 1453.
Michael Talbot received his PhD from SOAS in 2013 for a thesis on Ottoman-British relations in the eighteenth century, and now lectures and researches on a range of topics in Ottoman history at the University of Greenwich in London.


Episode No. 260
Release Date: 22 August 2016
Recording Location: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Audio Editing by Taylan Güngör
Recorded at SOAS Radio studios. SOAS Radio is an outlet for creative media and talent housed by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Run by alumni, current students and staff at the School, including volunteers from like-minded communities, SOAS Radio is dedicated to varied and original programming on world music, culture and current affairs.
Sound excerpt: Ben Yemenimi Al Isterim - Hafiz Burhan
Bibliography courtesy of Philipp Wirtz


Necmettin Alkan: Die deutsche Weltpolitik und die Konkurrenz der Mächte um das osmanische Erbe. Die deutsch-osmanischen Beziehungen in der deutschen Presse, 1890-1909. Münster 2002.

Peter Christensen: Architecture, Expertise, and the German Construction of the Ottoman Railway Network, PhD Dissertation, Harvard University, 2014.

Irmgard Farah: Die deutsche Presse und Propagandatätigkeit im Osmanischen Reich von 1908-1918. Beirut 1993.

Martin Hartmann: Unpolitische Briefe aus der Türkei. Der islamische Orient: Berichte und Forschungen, vol. 3, Berlin 1910

Wilhelm van Kampen: Studien zur deutschen Türkeipolitik in der Zeit Wilhelms II. PhD dissertation, University of Kiel 1968.

Martin Kramer: „Arabistik and Arabism –the passions of Martin Hartmann“. Middle Eastern Studies 25 iii (1989), pp. 283-300.

Sabine Mangold: Eine „weltbürgerliche Wissenschaft“ –die deutsche Orientalistik im 19. Jahrhundert. Stuttgart 2004.

Suzanne L. Marchand: German orientalism in the age of empire: Religion, race and scholarship. Cambridge 2009.

Sean McMeekin: The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany’s bid for world power. London 2010.

Ilber Ortaylı: İkinci Abdülhamid Döneminde Osmanlı İmperatorluğunda Alman Nüfuzu. Ankara 1981.

Friedrich Schrader: Konstantinopel in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Berlin 1917.

Philipp Wirtz: Zwischen Revolution und Verfassungsstaat: Die jungtürkische Bewegung und osmanische Innenpolitik in deutschen Zeitungsberichten, 1908-1910. Saarbrücken 2010.
Ursula Wokoceck: German Orientalism: The study of the Middle East and Islam form 1800 to 1945. London and New York 2009.

Osmanischer Lloyd/ Lloyd Ottomane, Istanbul November 1908 to October 1918. Complete set held by the German Archaeological Institute, Istanbul, partial set held by the Staatsbibliothek Berlin

Left to right: Michael Talbot, Philipp Wirtz, and Taylan Güngör at SOAS Radio in London


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