Visual Sources in Late Ottoman History

Episode 327

with contributions by Zeynep Çelik, Leyla Amzi-Erdoğdular, Özde Çeliktemel-Thomen, Mehmet Kentel, Michael Talbot, Murat Yıldız, Burçak Özlüdil Altın, Seçil Yılmaz, Burçin Çakır, Zeinab Azerbadegan, Dotan Halevy, Chris Gratien, and Michael Ferguson

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Visual sources such as photographs, maps, and miniatures often serve as accompaniment or adornment within works of Ottoman history. In this episode, we feature new work that interrogates methods of analyzing and employing visual sources for Ottoman history that go beyond the practice of "image as decoration." Following a conversation with the organizers of the "Visual Sources in Late Ottoman History" conference held at Columbia University in April 2017, we speak to conference participants about the visual sources they employ in their work and how these visual sources allow us to understand the history of the Ottoman Empire and post-Ottoman world in a new light.

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Individual Clips and Images

Özde Çeliktemel-Thomen, University College, London
Filmic Evidence in the Writing of Ottoman Cinema History

Film enlargement of the Friday Prayer at the Hamidiye Mosque/Hamidiye Camii’nde Cuma Selamlığı. Source: Pathé Frères, No 2465, 90 meters, 1908

Mehmet Kentel, Koç University
Caricaturizing ‘Cosmopolitan’ Pera: Play, Critique, and Absence in Yusuf Franko’s Caricatures, 1884-1896

Yusuf Franko Kusa, “L'Expiation." Undated (ca. 1896). From the album “Types et Charges” by Yusuf Franko Kusa. Ömer M. Koç Collection. Source: Bahattin Oztuncay (ed.) Youssouf Bey: The Charged Portraits of Fin-de-Siècle Pera (İstanbul: Vehbi Koç Vakfı, 2016). Also available on

Michael Talbot, University of Greenwich
"And the military band spread joy through their music": A photographic microhistory of a late-Ottoman Jerusalemite crowd

"Moslem band playing at the Turkish barracks near the Jaffa gate, Jerusalem." Source: Library of Congress

Murat Yıldız, Skidmore College
Re-constructing "the Mecca for sportsmen": Union Club in Late Ottoman Istanbul

Scouts from the Kadıköy Model School poise in front of their flower-covered vehicle. The scouts were participating in the festivities organized on the occasion of Flower Holiday or Çiçek Bayram at Union Club, on May 24, 1914. Source: Galatasaray Museum Archive, Album 41. May 22, 1914

Burçak Özludil Altın, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Psychiatry, Space and Time: the case of an Ottoman Asylum

Screenshots showing the female section of the Toptaşı Asylum in 1875 and 1899. Created in SpatioScholar by Burcak Ozludil, Augustus Wendell, Ulysee Thompson. Primary source credits: Top right: BOA DH.MKT. 19/37, 06 Z 1310 [21 June 1893] Bottom right: Mazhar Osman [Usman], ed., Sıhhat Almanakı (Istanbul: Kader Matbaası, 1933). 

Seçil Yılmaz, Cornell University
Depicting the Body in the Late Ottoman Empire: A Medical Perspective for Visual Sources

Verem nasıl sirayet eder? Levha 42: Mahza babasının lakayıtlığı sebebiyle yatağa düşer! (Ankara Hıfzısıhha Müzesi'nden) Source: Sıhhî Müze Atlası (Ankara: Sıhhiye ve Muavenet-i İctimâiye Vekâleti, 1926). Atatürk Library

Burçin Çakır, Glasgow Caledonian University
"Holy War made in the Ottoman Empire (?)": Visual War Propaganda and Religion, the War Journal (Harp Mecmuası), 1915-1918

Cephe-i Harb’de bir Hutbe (A Khutbah in the Battlefront)-Front Unknown. Source: Harp Mecmuasi (The War Journal) no.23, p.363.

Zeinab Azarbadegan, Columbia University
Imagined geographies, re-invented histories: Ottoman Iraq in Iranian textual and visual sources

Taq-i Bostan, photo taken by Riza Akkas Bashi, 1870.  Source: Golestan Palace Archive, album 171, no.25

Dotan Halevy, Columbia University
Capturing Ottoman Ruins: Contending Visions of Continuity and Rupture in Preserving the “Tower of Ramleh”

Left- a one hundred Palestinian Pounds bill featuring the Ramleh Tower. Right- a nineteenth century photograph that may have been used as the source for the bills’ design. Source: Numismatic Bibliomania Society / Library of Congress


Episode No. 327
Release Date: 25 July 2017
Recording Location: Columbia University
Audio editing by Chris Gratien
Music: from Excavated Shellac - Lili Labassi - Mazal Haye Mazal; from - Harmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal Efendi; Baglamamin Dugumu - Necmiye Ararat and Muzaffer; Katibim (Uskudar'a Gider iken) - Safiye Ayla; Istanbul'dan Ayva Gelir Nar Gelir - Azize Tozem and Sari Recep; Murat Kenarinda - Agyazar Efendi Egil Daglar Ustunden Asam - Viktoriya Hanim; Nazmiye - Rizeli Sadik; Muzaffer Akgun - Ha Bu Diyar
Special thanks to Kara Günes for permission to use the composition "Istanbul" and Sato Moughalian for "Miayn Kez"
Recordings by Michael Ferguson, Michael Talbot, Seçil Yılmaz, and Sam Dolbee


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