Season 6 Report

by Chris Gratien

Ottoman History Podcast grew significantly during Season 6. We released 69 episodes between July 2016 and the end of April 2017, making this season the most concentrated period of podcast releases in our short history. Our core Facebook audience has grown to around 29,000 fans. And in addition to the incorporation of more new OHP team members, overall traffic roughly doubled. But Season 6 has also been a period of transition for us as we try to adopt a more organized and streamlined production process and experiment with our platform to develop more engaging and creative content. In the months and years to come, our listeners can look forward to many new types of episodes that expand the format and coverage of our project.

Season 6 in Review

Our 69 episodes in Season 6 featured a large variety of topics. In addition to our English-language content, we released two episodes in Turkish and three episodes in French recorded by our new Paris-based partners with the Tout/MO team. 

To kick off Season 6, we launched a new series entitled The Visual Past, curated by Emily Neumeier and Ünver Rüstem. This series brings together a number of prior episodes dealing with visual sources and ocular questions in the history of the Ottoman Empire and Islamicate world. We made many new additions to this series over the course of Season 6, making the visual one of our most robust thematic emphases. We launched the season with a string of Visual Past podcasts, including an interview with Kishwar Rizvi on the politics of mosque architecture over recent decades and the emergence of Neo-Ottoman aesthetics. Over the course of the season we added many more episodes to the Visual Past series. A pair of episodes with Sato Moughalian and Armen Marsoobian respectively sought to unearth the material and visual culture of late Ottoman Armenians through the lenses of ceramics and photography. We released a pair of interviews with Ahmet Ersoy about the late Ottoman architectural imagination and the Ottoman Empire's engagement with the "Kodak galaxy." One of our most ambitious additions to the series featured Massumeh Farhad and Simon Rettig discussing the art of the Qur'an on location at their Smithsonian exhibit on that very topic.

Figure 4: This Qur’an was donated by Nurbanu Sultan, the wife of Selim II, to the Atik Valide mosque in Istanbul in 1719-20. Single-volume Qur’an, Sura 18:64-83, Copied by Abd al-Qadir ibn Abd al-Wahhab ibn Shahmir al-Husayni, Iran, Shiraz, Safavid period, ca. 1580. From E297 with Massumeh Farhad and Simon Rettig

The history of science, medicine, and knowledge also received substantial treatment through the expansion of our series on those subjects curated by Nir Shafir. Elias Muhanna brought us inside his translations of a medieval Islamic compendium from the Mamluk period. Eric van Lit offered an introduction to Ottoman commentaries on Islamic philosophy. Michael Tworek profiled the figure of Bobovius and the Ottoman Empire's links to the early modern Republic of Letters. Nükhet Varlık discussed her work on plague in the Ottoman Empire and the ways in which genomic research are changing our understanding of disease history, while Lori Jones explored the medieval and early modern European conceptions of disease landscapes in the Mediterranean and beyond.

In our interviews with both Dana Sajdi on "the barber of Damascus" and Peter Hill on the translators of Damietta, we found alternative visions of intellectual transformation in the Arabophone world that go beyond the conventional narrative of the Nahda. These episodes were joined by our interviews with Hoda Yousef and Kathryn Schwartz on literacy and print in 19th-century Egypt respectively. Omnia El Shakry previewed her ongoing research concerning the reception of Freud and psychoanalysis in the Arabic language, and Anne Marie Moulin talked about the rise of the Pasteurians and the spread of Pasteur Institutes in the Ottoman Empire and North Africa. Arthur Asseraf explored the technological and political contexts of the increased spread of a capaciously-defined category of "news" in 19th-century Algeria. These were just some of the episodes added to our growing catalog on the history and transformation of knowledge.

We also covered new ground in our continued study of gender and sex in the Ottoman Empire and modern Middle East, bringing some of our favorite guests back for encore presentations. Irvin Cemil Schick came back to present some new research concerning the vocabulary and aesthetics of the Ottoman erotic. Elyse Semerdjian made her second appearance on the program to discuss her study of the gendered politics of conversion in Ottoman Aleppo. Liat Kozma also returned to talk about her prior work on marginalized women in 19th-century Egypt. Our first French-language interview featured Aurelie Perrier's work on prostitution in Algeria before and after French colonization. Sarah Ghabrial also offered a glimpse of issues concerning law and gender through her study of women within the changing legal culture of colonial Algeria.

We devoted considerable space in Season 6 to the study of communities whose histories have often been silenced or misrepresented in the historiography of the Middle East. Stefan Winter offered a preview of his expansive new work on the history of Syrian Alawis. Angela Andersen provided a thoughtful consideration of space and religious practice through the transforming architectural forms of the Alevi cemeviLerna Ekmekçioğlu detailed the seldom-studied experience of Armenian communities in the post-Ottoman Republic of Turkey. Mike Ferguson discussed the history of the African diaspora community of Turkey and the Izmir region in particular, and Eve Troutt Powell talked about studying subjective experiences of slavery in Egypt. Adam Becker looked at the interactions of Assyrians and missionaries in the late Ottoman borderlands, and Nathalie Clayer outlined a new approach to religious pluralism in the late Ottoman Balkans. Cengiz Şişman discussed the "burden of silence" in his study of the Ottoman-Turkish dönme community, and Pierre Daum explored the hidden history of the harkis in post-independence Algeria.

Mar Zay'a subdues the angel of death, from a book of prayers to different saints for various forms of protection (NYPL Syriac Ms. 3). Evangelical missionaries and their converts were strongly opposed to much of the traditional ritual life of the Syriac Christians in the region. From E301 with Adam Becker

During Season 6, we continued our ongoing exploration of new approaches to big questions in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Baki Tezcan revisited the issue of "decline" in the historiography of the Ottoman Empire. Gabor Agoston talked about how war transformed the environment of the Ottoman-Habsburg frontier. In our interviews with Alexis Wick about the Red Sea and with both Marc Aymes and Antonis Hadjikyriacou about Ottoman Cyprus, we considered new understandings of space and spatial imaginaries of the Ottoman period. We delved into the economic transformation of the Middle East in two episodes concerning the history of capitalism: one with Coşkun Tuncer about debt and finance during the late Ottoman period and another with Omar Cheta about law and economy in 19th-century Egypt. 

We also devoted special attention to the political transformation of the Ottoman Empire from the experience of late Ottoman modernity to the post-Ottoman mandates and nation-states of the Middle East. Ali Yaycioglu discussed his new book about Ottoman politics during the late 18-century Age of Revolutions, while François Georgeon discussed the legacy of the Young Turks from the last years of the Ottoman period onward. Christine Philliou brought the Greek house of Phanar into a discussion of late Ottoman governance. Michael Provence talked about his forthcoming book on the last generation of Ottoman-trained Arab military officers, and Peter Wien studied Arab nationalists between the interwar movements of communism and fascism. Emmanuel Szurek provided an engaging overview of the politics of language reform in the Republic of Turkey. Through a trio of episodes with Lauren Banko, Shira Robinson, and Yael Berda, we explored questions of citizenship, nationality, and population policies in Israel/Palestine from the late Ottoman period and into the British Mandate and the State of Israel. Meanwhile, Betty Anderson previewed her new textbook on the history of the modern Middle East, which highlights the political contention of "rulers, rebels, and rogues" from the Ottoman period to the present.

In our historical discussions, we continued to push beyond the realms of the Ottoman Empire in search of historical connections. Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-Seal demonstrated how opium smuggling in early Republican Turkey forged connections to networks of illicit trade that spanned the globe. We featured a number of new episodes on the history of North Africa through our partners at tajine. Jonathan Wyrtzen talked about his book on colonialism and the politics of identity in Morocco, while Karen Rignall explored local dynamics of land and labor in a Moroccan Oasis. In addition to other episodes mentioned above, conversations about modern Algeria included our interviews with Jennifer Johnson on the politics of humanitarianism and health care during the period of decolonization, Muriam Haleh Davis on race and development in Algeria during that period, and Elizabeth Perego on humor and politics during Algeria's "dark decade" of the 1990s. We looked for new developments in the study of nationalism in Eastern Europe with Cristina Florea and Malgorzata Kurjanska, and we talked to Kelly O'Neill about Crimea's incorporation into the Russian Empire and new methods of GIS research concerning imperial Russia. Julie Stephens also joined the program to talk about controversies surrounding political liberty and religious sentiment in South Asia under British rule. 

Source: Milap, 17 July 1927, 5. Image courtesy of the Centre of South Asian Studies, Cambridge University. From E267 with Julie Stephens

As we ventured to unexplored regions, we continued to shed light on cultural life back in the Ottoman capital. Nurçin İleri took us on a tour of Istanbul's increasingly illuminated 19th-century nightscape, while Gwen Collaço brought us down to the transforming waterfront of 18th-century Istanbul in a discussion of the illustrated manuscript of Levni's Surname. Paolo Girardelli talked about his book on the transformation of architecture in Pera as a result of the rise of European diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire. Özge Samancı examined the development of cuisine and food culture in 19th-century Istanbul and within the Ottoman palace walls, while Deniz Türker explored the suburbs of late Ottoman Istanbul and Abdul Hamid II's penchant for prefab buildings. A conversation with Lorenz Korn discussed the German imperial fountain constructed in late Ottoman Istanbul, and Phillip Wirtz provided an in-depth look at a group of German writers and intellectuals in that same time and place. Melih Levi discussed the transforming elite culture of the late Ottoman period through his efforts at translating Ahmed Midhat Efendi's Felatun Bey and Rakım Efendi.

In addition to our discussions with scholarly authors, we featured two conversations about the preservation and destruction of vulnerable historical sources that speak to the legacy of political violence for the historiography of our region of study. Boris Adjemian introduced our audience to the Nubarian Library in Paris, which contains a wealth of resources concerning the history of Ottoman Armenians, and András Riedlmayer talked about his years of experience documenting the destruction of waqf institutions in the Balkans. Our final episode of Season 6 allowed us to interrogate our own methods of digital public history through a conversation with students at Boston College enrolled in a course designed by Dana Sajdi about the Ottoman Empire centered on the podcast medium that features many of our episodes old and new.


Evaluating website traffic can be surprisingly tricky. Obtaining raw numbers is relatively easy. Interpreting what they mean is a separate matter. Clicks do not mean much if they do not generate meaningful engagement. Comparing the respective performances of individual episodes is much more difficult than charting overall traffic over time, since a variety of factors--some random and some more reflective of genuine popularity and quality--determine how much traffic a particular episode receives. There is no perfect metric for determining which of our episodes were most popular or most impactful and certainly no way of calculating which were the "best." This section is for our guests and contributors. It gives an overview of both download as well as web traffic for our episodes released during Season 6. The data below does not "rank" our episodes but rather is meant to give an overall sense of the circulation of each episode as well as give clues as the types of subjects that our audience tends to gravitate towards.

Our audience engages with our content on multiple platforms. Most blog pageviews for our new podcast episodes occur within the first week after the podcast has been released and are heavily driven by traffic from Facebook and other social media. Therefore, the relative interest in our various episodes among our core audience can be ascertained very quickly. Understanding the long-term performance of episodes, particularly with regard to actual plays and downloads, requires more patience and comfort with uncertainty. A given episode's plays and downloads continue to increase substantially for a much longer period once website clicks die down. A new episode will receive 2000 to 3000 plays and downloads within the first week, heavily driven by our subscription base, and that episode generally receives a few hundred more plays and downloads each month while it remains in our podcast feed.

Data on engagement with one of our popular Facebook posts

We received over 50,000 plays and downloads per month throughout Season 6, and over the 10-month period between July 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017, our episodes were downloaded or played approximately 528,000 times through SoundCloud or our podcast feeds. The baseline of web traffic also grew considerably. Most of our Season 6 episodes received over 2000 pageviews in the blog, and some received many times this number. Many of our listeners access our episodes directly through podcast services like iTunes or download periodically on a subscription basis, meaning they never have to visit the website. Some episodes have been played or download at a volume vastly exceeding any actual website traffic for that particular episode. Meanwhile, it is clear that for certain episodes, most of those who clicked on the page did not linger long enough to register a play.

As of April 29, 2017, episodes of Season 6 amounted to roughly 355,000 plays and downloads, meaning that approximately one third of our traffic came from episodes from prior seasons or other content. For example, older Season 4 episodes varied in their traffic volumes throughout Season 6. Popular episodes like Central Asians in the Ottoman Empire (Lale Can) and Slavery and Manumission in Ottoman Galata (Nur Sobers-Khan) garnered more than 1,500 plays and downloads over that time period. Even episodes that are no longer in the podcast feed and can only be played via SoundCloud or the OHP blog continue to bring in modest traffic. By way of example, fairly high-performing episodes of Season 3 such as Sufism and Society (John Curry) and World War I and the Ottoman Home Front (Yiğit Akın) ranged between 300 to 400 plays over the 10-month period of Season 6.

Many will find that the numbers above represent large amounts of exposure for our guests, particularly beyond academic audiences, when compared with most venues for scholarly discussion and publishing. However, the numbers are modest enough to also show that individual plays and shares on social media matter. If a Facebook group with a large following re-posts a particular episode, as sometimes happens, the traffic for that episode will reflect a serious boost. If an instructor assigns an older episode in a large class of students, it is enough to give that episode a second wind in terms of its comparative circulation.

The plays/downloads and blog pageview traffic for each of our Season 6 episodes as of April 29 is as follows in the table below (top 20% in bold).

Note that as some episodes are about 10 months old and others have been up for just weeks, the number of plays is highly relative.

7/2/16Kishwar RizviNeo-Ottoman Architecture and the Transnational Mosque7,0072,406
7/5/16Paolo GirardelliLandscapes of the Eastern Question5,9112,458
7/8/16Lorenz KornThe German Imperial Fountain in Istanbul5,6761,678
7/11/16Hoda YousefLiteracies and the Emergence of Modern Egypt5,5141,878
7/13/16Liat KozmaMarginalized Women in Khedival Egypt5,4121,663
7/15/16Kathryn SchwartzA New History of Print in Ottoman Cairo6,0372,107
7/24/16Michael TworekBobovius and the Republic of Letters5,1901,708
7/27/16Eric van LitOttoman Commentaries on Islamic Philosophy7,0984,208
7/29/16Nükhet VarlıkTracing Plague in the Ottoman Empire6,2663,865
7/31/16Sato MoughalianThe Life and Art of Ceramicist David Ohannessian5,0953,175
8/2/16Boris AdjemianInside the Nubarian Library4,7201,618
8/4/16Armen MarsoobianArmenian Photography in Ottoman Anatolia5,8315,281
8/7/16Lerna EkmekçioğluSecular Dhimmis of the Republic6,1012,708
8/10/16Michael FergusonAfrican Diaspora in Ottoman Izmir6,4978,338
8/16/16Alexis WickThe Ottoman Red Sea5,7371,904
8/18/16Marc AymesProvincial Histories of the Ottoman Empire5,1214,556
8/22/16Phillip WirtzGerman Expatriates in Late Ottoman Istanbul4,7812,356
8/24/16Melih LeviTranslating the Ottoman Novel5,1202,501
8/25/16Gwendolyn CollaçoFestivals and the Waterfront in 18th Century Istanbul4,9852,686
8/26/16Nurçin İleriOsmanlı İstanbul’unda Gece ve Sokaklar8,1778,922
8/29/16Coşkun TuncerOttoman Encounters with Global Capital5,5203,954
9/1/16Omar ChetaCapitalism and the Courts in 19th Century Egypt6,1402,625
9/4/16Elyse SemerdjianGendered Politics of Conversion in Early Modern Aleppo4,9532,478
9/7/16Julie StephensReligious Sentiment and Political Liberties in Colonial South Asia5,7131,383
9/9/16Nathalie ClayerReligious Pluralism in the Late Ottoman Balkans6,3004,853
9/15/16Jonathan WyrtzenColonialism and the Politics of Identity in Morocco6,1265,557
9/19/16Lori JonesDisease and Landscape in Medieval and Early Modern Europe6,1324,193
10/12/16Aurelie PerrierLa prostitution en Algérie à l’époque Ottomane et française4,9946,206
10/17/16Lauren BankoNationality and Citizenship in Mandate Palestine5,0568,401
10/20/16Shira RobinsonBoth Citizens and Strangers in Post-1948 Israel4,6712,219
10/22/16Yael BerdaManaging Population in Cyprus and Mandate Palestine4,6812,785
10/24/16Ali YayciogluThe Ottoman Empire in the Age of Revolutions6,1799,977
10/28/16Gabor AgostonWar, Environment, and the Ottoman-Habsburg Frontier5,2953,683
10/31/16Jennifer JohnsonDecolonization, Health Care, and Humanitarianism in Algeria4,1612,849
11/3/16Muriam Haleh DavisDevelopment, Race, and the Cold War in Algeria4,3602,287
11/6/16Elizabeth PeregoDark Humor from Algeria's "Dark Decade"4,5152,112
11/8/16Ahmet ErsoyArchitecture and Late Ottoman Historical Imagination5,2635,661
11/12/16Dana SajdiNouveau Literacy in the 18th Century Levant5,0034,097
11/16/16Elias MuhannaCompiling Knowledge in the Medieval Islamic World6,21112,931
11/25/16Eve Troutt PowellNarratives of Slavery in Late Ottoman Egypt5,8105,555
11/29/16Antonis HadjikyriacouInsularity and Empire in Ottoman Cyprus4,6113,563
12/3/16Peter WienNationalism, Communism, and Fascism in the Modern Middle East5,5903,853
12/5/16Anne Marie MoulinThe Pasteur Institute and its Global Network4,0371,090
12/7/16Karen RignallLand and Labor in a Moroccan Oasis4,0561,493
12/12/16Betty AndersonRulers, Rebels, and Rogues in Middle East History5,2333,359
12/18/16İrvin Cemil SchickThe Ottoman Erotic7,6236,531
1/5/17Emmanuel SzurekThe Politics of Turkish Language Reform6,3797,090
1/8/17Omnia El ShakryIslam, Psychoanalysis, and the Arabic Freud6,5645,691
1/11/17Özge Samancı19. Yüzyıl Osmanlı Saray ve İstanbul Mutfak Kültürü7,3993,834
1/15/17Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-SealOpium Smuggling in Interwar Turkey and Beyond4,5833,153
1/19/17Christine PhilliouOttoman Governance and the House of Phanar4,2952,832
1/23/17Arthur AsserafThe Politics of News in Colonial Algeria4,7642,062
2/8/17Sarah GhabrialWomen and Colonial Legal Pluralism in Algeria4,0532,837
2/10/17Massumeh Farhad & Simon RettigExploring the Art of the Qur'an3,9192,760
2/12/17Deniz TürkerPrefabs, Chalets, and Home Making in 19th-Century Istanbul3,8332,447
2/14/17Angela AndersenAlevi Religious Ceremony, Architecture, and Practice4,8954,551
2/17/17Baki TezcanRethinking "Decline" in the Second Ottoman Empire4,6053,555
2/21/17Adam BeckerAssyrians, Evangelicals, and Borderland Nationalism4,4472,411
3/2/17Pierre DaumLes harkis restés en Algérie: tabou et non-dits3,0812,680
3/5/17Stefan WinterSyrian Alawis under Ottoman Rule5,0035,837
3/9/17Kelly O'NeillCrimea and the Russian Empire3,5892,538
3/10/17András RiedlmayerDocumenting the Destruction of Balkan Waqf Institutions3,5223,525
3/13/17Cristina Florea & Malgorzata KurjanskaFrontiers of Nationalism in Eastern Europe4,1252,399
3/23/17François GeorgeonLes Jeunes Turcs: Sauver l'Empire et créer la Nation3,2921,992
3/27/17Cengiz ŞişmanSabbatai Sevi and the Ottoman-Turkish Dönmes5,10511,776
3/30/17Ahmet ErsoyEveryday Life and History in Ottoman Illustrated Journals3,5643,660
3/31/17Peter HillThe Nahda and the Translators of Damietta3,3682,569
4/7/17Michael ProvenceMilitary Education and the Last Ottoman Generation4,0782,831
4/26/17Dana Sajdi & BC StudentsPodcasting the Ottomans2,3041,478
10 months69 guests54 hours355,276264,219

Development of Our Program

As producer of Ottoman History Podcast, I took significant steps towards improving upon our format over the course of Season 6. This section is meant to give our contributors and supporters and overall sense of how we are developing our platform.

During summer 2016, I was in Paris, where we established a new and independent bilingual French/English branch of our podcast called Tout/MO and headed by Dorothee Kellou and Aurelie Perrier and featuring frequent collaboration with Andreas Guidi and his independent podcast operations at the Southeast Passage.

During the 2016-17 academic year, I was based at the Harvard Academy for International and Areas Studies, where I set about preparing our project for the years ahead. While Ottoman History Podcast has featured the contributions of numerous hosts and guests, the largest impediment to our overall growth has conventionally been a production bottleneck caused by my being the primary individual responsible for audio editing, web publishing, and social media. In addition to drafting new guidelines for our podcasters, our Social Media Manager Shireen Hamza trained in all facets of our production process so that by spring 2017, she was equipped to carry out all of the basic functions I have executed as producer from recording and audio edition to web publishing and social media engagement. Currently, new contributors like Abdul Rahman Latif and other members of our social media team directed by Shireen produce new content for social media as a way of gradually becoming acquainted with our platform, audience, and methods. Shireen and Abdul Rahman are now fully equipped to operate an independent Boston-based branch of the podcast. Matt Ghazarian also acquired self-sufficient audio-editing capabilities through remote collaboration, joining Onur Engin and Taylan Güngör to bring the total number of qualified audio editors on our team to five.

In October 2016, I participated in the New Directions in Inner and Central Asian History workshop at Harvard University (thanks to Gwen Collaço for the invite), where a group of Harvard University graduate students evaluated some of our recent episodes and offered feedback on what we were doing right and how our podcast could be improved. Their feedback was very useful. They affirmed our prior impression that we need short, more dynamic episodes and pointed to areas in which the interview format could be improved. Upon the suggestion of one participant, I adopted the academic interview style of Carla Nappi ( as a good model for how to prepare for podcasts interviews.

At the Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association in November, a number of Ottoman History Podcast contributors met to discuss the long term trajectory of our project, and I produced a report based on our conversation. We agreed upon the formation of a rotating editorial team comprised of key contributors with defined roles in order to allow more team members to develop more skills on concentrate on developing key areas of concern. We also agreed upon a number of ways in which we might change our format and discussed effective interviewing strategies for different types of guests.

After the MESA meeting, we began to slowly experiment with some of the techniques we discussed. One of the ways in which we began to experiment with our format was through the inclusion of additional breakaway segments that are complementary to our interviews. For example, in Nir Shafir's interview with Daniel-Joseph Macarthur-Seal about opium smuggling in interwar Turkey, we broke away at mid-point in the interview to a reading of a short anecdote about the history of hashish smuggling in Turkey with Sam Dolbee, allowing for a more dynamic flow. In an episode with Emmanuel Szurek about Turkish language reform, we broke away from the conversation to listen to a sound recording and perform a reading of an unusual poem (by Seçil Yılmaz) produced by the cultural experimentation of the early Republican period. Such inclusions facilitate a more lively discussion by allowing the guest to comment more extemporaneously on a subject relevant to their own expertise. In our interview with Dana Sajdi about the 18th-century historical writings of a Damascene barber, our guest performed artful readings of the text in the original Arabic in order to give listeners a more intimate sense of the language and rhythm of the text. In many episodes of Season 6, we employed the practice of asking authors to read short selected passages from their work, a practice introduced to our format by Graham Pitts.

Another way in which we experimented with our format was to develop a new episode structure that features multiple short interviews with guests who work on complementary subjects followed by a broad roundtable discussion. In our episode on the Frontiers of Nationalism in Eastern Europe, for example, Maria Blackwood and I interviewed Cristina Florea and Malgorzata Kurjanska about their research on Bukovina and Congress Poland respectively and then undertook an additional historiographical conversation as a group. This allowed for a more even balance of interview and conversation and came with the additional advantage that we could simultaneously produce both short, standalone interviews and an extended multi-segmented episode.

Emily Neumeier's interview with Massumeh Farhad and Simon Rettig exemplified yet another way of engaging in a more dynamic episode structure. Emily interviewed Farhad and Rettig about the Art of the Qur'an exhibit that they organized at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. After conducting the interview, the group took to the exhibit floor to discuss the historical significance of particular pieces on location. These extra segments were published both within the episode and as separate segments on our page.

In March of 2017, I was generously invited to Boston College to hold a podcasting workshop for faculty and students in the humanities sponsored by the Institute for the Liberal Arts. In preparation for the workshop, I developed a short guide to the ins and outs of independent podcasting published as a GoogleDoc that can be seamlessly updated for future purposes. During my visit to Boston College, I also attended the "Podcasting the Ottomans" course designed by Dana Sajdi. We conducted a series of discussion panels with students, who gave more feedback about our program. The students said that they liked to learn via podcasts, which allow them to listen while doing other activities. However, some commented that in certain episodes, terms, people, and places were not sufficiently defined. In other cases, the conversations were too long and could benefit from the addition of more voices or other elements. These valuable student suggestions will further influence our podcast's development in the season to come.

One of our new graphics. It is based on a tracing of a character from the Surname illustrated by Levni. For more on Levni, see E262 with Gwen Collaço

Coming in Season 7

Throughout the busy release schedule of Season 6, we also amassed a library of unreleased material, some of which will take our program in creative new directions and expand our prospective audience. Some of our best stuff is still waiting in the wings for when we resume a new and improved Ottoman History Podcast during Season 7 this summer. In addition to plenty more great interviews, our audience can look forward to some novel elements and topics on our program.

Having devoted much of the past year to enriching our use of visual material, many of our episodes in Season 7 will also move towards explorations of the sonic past whether through music or other sonic elements. This will include an interview with Peter McMurray (by Nir Shafir and Huma Gupta) about the Islamic soundscapes of Berlin as well as an interview with a team of Turkish artists and researchers who produced a short virtual reality experience based on historical accounts and images from the Istanbul riots of September 1955.

Season 7 will also see an expanded geographical scope of our project. In particular, we will feature a number of episodes pertaining to topics of relevance for our audience in the history of South Asia and the Indian Ocean world ranging from the Mughal period to the present. We will also publish our first episode focused on Latin America in our new multi-guest format with Lina Britto and Casey Lurtz, discussing commodity history through the lenses of coffee and marijuana. Another forthcoming episode offers short interviews (by Shireen Hamza and Chris Gratien) with early-stage students about their unique studies of modern migration and diaspora.

Cover image from a 1905 report on the progress made by the German-American Coffee Company. A. E. Line and German–American Coffee Co, Report on the Properties of the German-American Coffee Co. ([New York]: German-American Coffee Co., 1905). Courtesy of Casey Lurtz
Most notably, we will begin producing new types of episodes that conform to the format of investigative journalistic podcasting. Our first such attempt will feature a collaboration with Gwen Collaço on the recently unearthed history of a British burlesque performer and her life in Cairo. In addition, production is already underway on Deporting Ottoman Americans, an investigative podcast series that studies the history of migration and exclusion in the United States as well as transatlantic connections with the Middle East through the unique stories of migrants born in the Ottoman Empire who were sentenced to deportation from the United States during the insular and xenophobic climate of the interwar period. Deporting Ottoman Americans will be based on primary source research and in addition to a narrative arc recorded by myself, these migrant stories will be animated by conversations and interviews with scholars who have expertise in the various facets of immigration history in the US and within the Middle East. One of my main collaborators on this project is Emily Pope-Obeda, an historian who specializes in the history of immigration and deportation in the US during the 1920s.

Over the course of Season 6, we have gained a clearer sense of how our podcast fits into the undergraduate classroom through the experimentation of Nir Shafir and in large part thanks to Dana Sajdi's "Podcasting the Ottomans" class at Boston College. Over the past years, many instructors such as Amy Singer have sent me the feedback of their students regarding particular episodes and the podcast as a whole. When we form our new editorial team in 2018, one of the new positions that I hope to create is a team member charged with classroom outreach and developing new materials that will make our podcast even more effective in the university classroom. Since we will remain committed to open access publishing of our materials, such content will be available to university instructors everywhere, as well as the independent listeners and enthusiasts who continue to comprise a significant portion of our audience in Turkey and beyond.


Kalliopi Amygdalou
Sebouh Aslanian
Cemil Aydın
Pascale Barthe
Taieb Belghazi
Lina Britto
Ian Campbell
Tolga Cora
Dzovinar Derderian 
Jeffery Dyer
Evyn Lê Espiritu
Margaux Fitoussi
Erika Gilson
Huma Gupta
Jan Haenraets
Feride Hatiboğlu
Kais Khimji
Seth Kimmel
Elias Kolovos
Ümit Kurt
Casey Lurtz
Nidhi Mahajan
Peter McMurray
Owen Miller
Abdelhay Moudden
Devin Naar
Tamar Novick
Emily Pope-Obeda
Teena Purohit
Marinos Sariyannis
Sarah-Neel Smith
Kenan Tekin
Meredith Terretta
Deniz Tortum
Nil Tuzcu
Sibel Zandi-Sayek
Çağrı Hakan Zaman

Season 6 Credits

HOSTS AND CO-HOSTS (by number of appearances)

Chris Gratien
Nir Shafir
Susanna Ferguson
Zoe Griffith
Shireen Hamza
Matthew Ghazarian
Aurelie Perrier
Michael Talbot
Graham Cornwell
Taylan Güngör
Emily Neumeier
Graham Pitts
Ufuk Adak
Andreas Guidi
Dorothee Kellou
Nora Lessersohn
Seçil Yılmaz
Reem Bailony
Maria Blackwood
Edna Bonhomme
Tyler Conklin
Eda Çakmakçı
Gwendolyn Collaço
Sotirios Dimitriadis
Samuel Dolbee
Soha El Achi
Huma Gupta
Faisal Husain
Erin Hutchinson
Polina Ivanova
Nurçin İleri
Saghar Sadeghian
Alissa Walter


Chris Gratien
Onur Engin
Taylan Güngör
Matthew Ghazarian
Shireen Hamza


Kalliopi Amygdalou
Samuel Dolbee
Susanna Ferguson
Chris Gratien
Zoe Griffith
Taylan Güngör
Hadi Hosainy
Faisal Husain
Emily Neumeier
Ünver Rüstem
Nir Shafir
Seçil Yılmaz

GUESTS (in alphabetical order)

Boris Adjemian
Gabor Agoston
Angela Andersen
Betty Anderson
Arthur Asseraf
Marc Aymes
Lauren Banko
Adam Becker
Yael Berda
Omar Cheta
Nathalie Clayer
Gwendolyn Collaço
Muriam Haleh Davis
Pierre Daum
Lerna Ekmekçioğlu
Omnia El Shakry
Ahmet Ersoy
Massumeh Farhad
Michael Ferguson
Cristina Florea
François Georgeon
Sarah Ghabrial
Paolo Girardelli
Antonis Hadjikyriacou
Peter Hill
Nurçin İleri
Jennifer Johnson
Lori Jones
Lorenz Korn
Liat Kozma
Malgorzata Kurjanska
Melih Levi
Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-Seal
Armen Marsoobian
Sato Moughalian
Anne Marie Moulin
Elias Muhanna
Kelly O'Neill
Elizabeth Perego
Aurelie Perrier
Christine Philliou
Michael Provence
Simon Rettig
András Riedlmayer
Karen Rignall
Kishwar Rizvi
Shira Robinson
Dana Sajdi
İrvin Cemil Schick
Kathryn Schwartz
Elyse Semerdjian
Emmanuel Szurek
Cengiz Şişman
Baki Tezcan
Eve Troutt Powell
Özge Samancı
Julie Stephens
Deniz Türker
Coşkun Tuncer
Michael Tworek
Eric van Lit
Nükhet Varlık
Alexis Wick
Peter Wien
Stefan Winter
Phillip Wirtz
Jonathan Wyrtzen
Ali Yaycioglu
Hoda Yousef


Chris Gratien
Shireen Hamza
Nicholas Danforth
Abdul Rahman Latif
Yasemin Akçagüner


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