Orientalism in the Ottoman Empire

Episode 399

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How did the Ottomans react to European attitudes and depictions of their own lands? Pondering on the groundbreaking book 'Orientalism' by Edward Said forty years after its publication, our guest Zeynep Çelik discusses the ways in which urban, art, and architectural historians have grappled with representations of the Ottomans by Europeans and representations of Ottomans by Ottomans themselves. Telling us about a number of paintings, monuments, scholarly writings and stories, she argues that Orientalism is still relevant and with us wherever we go.

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Contributor Bios
Zeynep Çelik is a distinguished professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She works on late Ottoman Empire and French colonialism.
Zeinab Azarbadegan is a PhD candidate in International and Global History at Columbia University. She is currently conducting research for her dissertation project on the subject of sovereignty and citizenship in nineteenth century Ottoman Iraq.
Matthew Ghazarian is a Ph.D. Candidate in Columbia University's Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, African Studies. His research focuses on the intersections of sectarianism, humanitarianism, and political economy in central and eastern Anatolia between 1856 and 1893.


Episode No. 399
Release Date: January 26, 2019
Recording Location: Istanbul
Audio editing by Zeinab Azarbadegan and Matt Ghazarian
Music: Katibim, Safiye Ayla
Images and bibliography courtesy of Zeynep Çelik


Edward Said. Orientalism. 1978. (Photo courtesy of Penguin Random House)

Original design for commemorative monument for the visit of Napoleon to Algeria by Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (Collection of Zeynep Çelik)

Telegraph Tower in Commemoration of Completion of the Hejaz Railway (Postcard, Collection of Zeynep Çelik)

(1): Peasant woman from the environs of Damas (Damascus); (2): Druze woman from the environs of Damas (Damascus); and (3) married woman of Damas (Damascus). As part of Elbise-i Osmaniye (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Select Bibliography

Çelik, Zeynep. "Reflections on Architectural History Forty Years after Edward Said's Orientalism". Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. 77.4 (2018): 381-387.

Seyfeddin, Ömer. Gizli Mabed. Istanbul: Maarif Matbaası, (1926): 11–14.

Esad, Celal. “Osmanlı Sanayi-i Nefisesi,” İkdam, 13 Dec. 1906.

Esad, Celal. “İran ve Türk Sanayi-i Nefisesi,” İkdam, 24 Dec. 1906.

Esad, Celal. Türk San’atı. Istanbul:Akşam Matbaası, 1928.

Çelik, Zeynep. Empire, Architecture, and the City: French-Ottoman Encounters, 1830-1914, Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2008.

Goody, Jack. The Theft of History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

[Aydemir], Şevket Sureyya. " 'Europacentrisme'in Tasviyesi". Kadro, no. 7 (July 1933): 5-10.


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