Cemal Kafadar Between Past and Present, Part 2

Episode 474

In part two of our interview with Cemal Kafadar, we discuss how history writing might play an emancipatory role in the present. Turkey as a whole and Istanbul in particular seen grand urban development projects in the past decade, and we discuss how they have become flashpoints of protest for a number of reasons, including historical preservation. Kafadar links this issue to the broader question of what the Ottoman past means and for whom. He moreover thinks through the Gezi Park protests of 2013 and how they might connect to longer historical trajectories. He also offers a sense of how histories of place on a quotidian level might provide important perspective on these questions. In closing, we discuss homesickness and displacement, both in his own relationship with Istanbul and in the life of someone we discussed in part one of our interview: Cem Sultan.  

Click for RSS Feed

Contributor Bios

Cemal Kafadar is the Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University. A sampling of his published works includes Between Two Worlds, "How Dark is the History of the Night, How Black the Story of Coffee, How Bitter the Tale of Love: The Changing Measure of Leisure and Pleasure in Early Modern Istanbul," and Kendine Ait Bir Roma.
Sam Dolbee is a lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard University. His research is on the environmental history of the late Ottoman Empire told through the frame of locusts in the Jazira region.
Maryam Patton is a PhD candidate at Harvard University in the joint History and Middle Eastern Studies program. She is interested in early modern cultural exchanges, and her dissertation studies cultures of time and temporal consciousness in the Eastern Mediterranean during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Chris Gratien is Assistant Professor of History at University of Virginia, where he teaches classes on global environmental history and the Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region of the former Ottoman Empire from the 1850s until the 1950s.

Further Listening
Cemal Kafadar 464
Between Past and Present, Part 1
Fatih Artvinli & Ebru Aykut 422
Tarihçilerden Başka Bir Hikâye
Orhan Pamuk & Nükhet Varlık 396
Imagining and Narrating Plague in the Ottoman World
Edhem Eldem 470
Mitler, Gerçekler ve Yöntem
Omar Mohammed 368
Writing History in Historic Times


Episode No. 474
Release Date: 1 September 2020
Recording Location: Harvard University
Sound production by Maryam Patton, Chris Gratien, and Sam Dolbee
Music: "Pacing," Chad Crouch; "Petite Route," Zé Trigueiros 
Bibliography compiled by Cemal Kafadar and Sam Dolbee

Select Bibliography

Bloch, Marc. The Historian's Craft. New York: Knopf, 1953.

Boym, Svetlana. The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books, 2002. 

Braudel, Fernand. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. Translated by Sian Reynolds. 2 vols. New York: Harper, 1972.

Fleischer, Cornell. Bureaucrat and Intellectual in the Ottoman Empire: The Historian Mustafa Ali (1541-1600). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986.

Kafadar, Cemal. Between Two Worlds: The Construction of the Ottoman State. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

_____. "How Dark is the History of the Night, How Black the Story of Coffee, How Bitter the Tale of Love: The Changing Measure of Leisure and Pleasure in Early Modern Istanbul." In Early Modern Performance in the Eastern Mediterranean. Edited by Arzu Öztürkmen and Evelyn Birge Vitz. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. 243-269.

_____. Kendine Ait bir Roma. İstanbul: Metis, 2017.

Rosenthal, Franz. "The Stranger in Medieval Islam." Arabica 44.1 (1997): 35-75. 

Vernant, Jean-Pierre. Myth and Society in Ancient Greece. New York: Zone Books, 1988.

Other Interviews and Comments from Cemal Kafadar on Istanbul's Infrastructure

Ayazoğlu, Serkan. "Şehirlülerün Devletlülere 'Kent Hakkı' Ayaklanması: Vaka-i Geziyye." Arkitera, 4 November 2013. 

_____. "Haliç Metro Köprüsü Uykularımı Kaçırıyor." Arkitera, 9 January 2013. 

Çamlıbel, Cansu. "Osmanlı tarihine nokta koyamadık." Hürriyet, 5 October 2015. 

Tarih Vakfı. Press Conference on Gezi Park. 7 June 2013. Excerpts printed in Sarıçayır, Ecem. "Kışlayı AKM'nin Üstüne Yapalım, Parkı da Büyütelim." Arkitera, 7 June 2013.

Music References

Gencebay, Orhan. "Hor Görme Garibi." 

Schubert, Franz. "Gute Nacht." Poetry by Willhelm Müller.  


Ebel Main said…
It is an informative post.

Ottoman History Podcast is a noncommerical website intended for educational use. Anyone is welcome to use and reproduce our content with proper attribution under the terms of noncommercial fair use within the classroom setting or on other educational websites. All third-party content is used either with express permission or under the terms of fair use. Our page and podcasts contain no advertising and our website receives no revenue. All donations received are used solely for the purposes of covering our expenses. Unauthorized commercial use of our material is strictly prohibited, as it violates not only our noncommercial commitment but also the rights of third-party content owners.

We make efforts to completely cite all secondary sources employed in the making of our episodes and properly attribute third-party content such as images from the web. If you feel that your material has been improperly used or incorrectly attributed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us.