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Ottoman History Podcast

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A history podcast for discerning Ottomaniacs dedicated to presenting accessible and relevant information about the Ottoman Empire, the Mediterranean and Middle East. Our recorded interviews and lectures, while still largely academic in tone, provide serious and constructive academic discussion in an accessible and almost human format.

A history podcast for discerning Ottomaniacs dedicated to presenting accessible and relevant information about the Ottoman Empire, the Mediterranean and Middle East. Our recorded interviews and lectures, while still largely academic in tone, provide serious and constructive academic discussion in an accessible and almost human format.
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Istanbul, Turkey


A history podcast for discerning Ottomaniacs dedicated to presenting accessible and relevant information about the Ottoman Empire, the Mediterranean and Middle East. Our recorded interviews and lectures, while still largely academic in tone, provide serious and constructive academic discussion in an accessible and almost human format.




Land and Labor in a Moroccan Oasis

with Karen Rignall hosted by Graham Cornwell Download the podcastFeediTunesGooglePlaySoundCloud Pre-Saharan Morocco is a transitional space between the Atlas Mountains in the north and the Sahara in the south, and the oases of pre-Saharan Morocco have long been marked by local autonomy, diversity, and particularities of agriculture, property ownership, class, and race. In this episode, we talk to Karen Rignall about her research on land, labor, and social life in a Moroccan oasis and...


Insularity and Empire in Ottoman Cyprus

with Antonis Hadjikyriacou hosted by Michael Talbot Download the podcastFeediTunesGooglePlaySoundCloud The history of Mediterranean islands offers a dynamic paradox of insularity engendered by geographical isolation and connectivity fostered by access to ports and maritime networks. In this podcast, we discuss those themes through a conversation about the transformation of Cyprus over the centuries of Ottoman imperial rule. Our guest Antonis Hadjikyriacou has studied the history of...


Dark Humor from Algeria's "Dark Decade" | Elizabeth Perego

E279 | Between December 1991 and February 2002, Algeria experienced a protracted civil war, which earned the period the designation of the "dark decade." In this episode, we explore how Algerians experienced and coped with the violence and trepidation of the civil war through the lens of humor. Our guest Elizabeth Perego has studied to role of humor, jokes, and caricatures in the politics of Algeria since the struggle against French colonialism in the 1950s. In our conversation, we focus...


War, Environment, and the Ottoman-Habsburg Frontier | Gabor Agoston

E276 | Whereas military histories once focused narrowly on armies, battles, and technologies, the new approach to military history emphasizes how armies and navies were linked to issues such as political economy, gender, and environment. In this episode, we sit down with Gábor Ágoston to discuss the principal issues concerning the relationship between the Ottoman-Habsburg military frontier in Hungary and the environmental history of the early modern period. From the battle of Mohacs in...


The Ottoman Empire in the Age of Revolutions | Ali Yaycioglu

E275 | The turn of the nineteenth century was a period of tumult and transformation in the Ottoman Empire, as in many places around the world from France to Haiti, China, and the United States. With people, ideas, and armies on the move as never before, new geopolitical pressures pushed states around the globe to reinvent their relationships to their subjects and citizens. In this episode, we talk with Ali Yaycioglu about his new book Partners of the Empire: The Crisis of the Ottoman Order...


La prostitution en Algérie à l’époque Ottomane et française | Aurelie Perrier

E271 | L’histoire de l’Algérie coloniale est souvent abordée du point de vue des bouleversements économiques et politiques engendrés par l’occupation française. Mais cette dernière entraîna un remaniement dans la sphère de l’intime qui fut tout aussi significatif, bien que peu étudié. Dans cet épisode, Aurélie Perrier se penche sur la question de l’évolution des formes de sexualités illicites en Algérie, particulièrement de la prostitution. Organisée et mise en place par les autorités...


Capitalism and the Courts in 19th Century Egypt | Omar Cheta

E265 | The Capitulations are regarded as one of the most obvious and humiliating signs of European dominance over Ottoman markets and diplomatic relations in the 19th century, granting European merchants and their Ottoman protégés extensive extraterritorial privileges within the empire. In this podcast, Professor Omar Cheta probes the limits of the Capitulations in the Ottoman province of Egypt, where the power of the local Khedives intersected and overlapped with the sovereignty of the...


Translating the Ottoman Novel | Melih Levi

E261 | Emerging as a literary genre towards the end of the nineteenth century, the Ottoman novel has been overshadowed by the transformation of the Turkish language and alphabet after 1928. In this episode, we speak with Melih Levi about his recent English translation with Monica Ringer of one the first examples of the Ottoman novel, Ahmed Midhat Efendi's Felatun Bey and Rakım Efendi (Syracuse University Press, 2016). Far from a derivative imitation of European literary themes and forms,...


German Expatriates in Late Ottoman Istanbul | Phillip Wirtz

E260 | 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...


The Ottoman Red Sea | Alexis Wick

E258 | The body of water now known as the Red Sea lay well within the bounds of the Ottoman Empire's well-protected domains for nearly four centuries. It wasn't until the 19th century, however, that this body of water began to be called or conceived of as "the Red Sea" by either Ottomans or Europeans. In this episode, Professor Alexis Wick argues that we have much to learn about how history (and Ottoman history in particular) "makes its object" by studying not only the emergence of the...


African Diaspora in Ottoman Izmir | Michael Ferguson

E257 | The Ottoman slave trade, which was part of an increasingly globalized trafficking network of the early modern period, brought millions of people from the surrounding regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa to the Ottoman Empire. While abolition and emancipation movements occurred in various forms throughout the last century of the empire's history, slavery remained in practice until its very end. In recent decades, the ignored history of the Ottoman slave trade has received more...


Secular Dhimmis of the Republic | Lerna Ekmekçioğlu

E256 | After facing the destruction of their community during the First World War, former Ottoman Armenians set about rebuilding in Turkey first during a period of relative optimism under the Allied occupation of Istanbul and later as non-Muslim citizens of new Turkish nation-state. In her new work entitled Recovering Armenia, Lerna Ekmekçioğlu explores the changes and continuities in the identity of Istanbul's Armenian community during this transformative period. In this interview, we...


Inside the Nubarian Library | Boris Adjemian

E254 | Since its foundation in 1928 by Boghos Nubar, son of Egyptian Prime Minister and Ottoman dignitary Nubar Pasha, the Nubarian library in Paris has served as a major resource for Armenian intellectual life and historical research in the diaspora. What is less well-known is how the library's rich holdings in Ottoman Turkish, Armeno-Turkish, French and English as well as in Armenian might be useful for historians of the larger Ottoman world. In this episode, we talk with library...


The Life and Art of Ceramicist David Ohannessian | Sato Moughalian

E253 | The styles of Iznik and Kütahya porcelain, which have become synonymous with excellence in Ottoman-Turkish ceramics, adorned and renovated buildings in a radius extending beyond the Anatolian heartland and including Damascus, Mecca, and Cairo. They bear a striking resemblance to the colorful and ornate tiles on many buildings in the city of Jerusalem today, including the Dome of the Rock. This is due to the fact that the iconic ceramics industry of Jerusalem was founded after the...


Tracing Plague in the Ottoman Empire | Nükhet Varlık

E252 | Geneticists and historians are generally considered strange bedfellows. However, new advances in bio-archaeology and genetics are facilitating this odd coupling. In this episode, we speak to Nükhet Varlık, author of Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World : the Ottoman experience, 1347-1600 (Cambridge University Press), about how genetic evidence has transformed the study of the Plague in the past ten years, allowing geneticists to more readily identify the...


Ottoman Commentaries on Islamic Philosophy | Eric van Lit

E251 | Commentaries are a common, even a nearly ineluctable, part of the textual landscape of the early modern Ottoman Empire. Especially when it came to philosophy, commentaries were perhaps the main venue of discussions. An earlier generation of scholars believed these commentaries to be derivative but we now see them as a major piece in the development of the philosophical tradition in the Middle East. In this podcast, we speak with L.W.C (Eric) van Lit about how to approach these...


Bobovius and the Republic of Letters | Michael Tworek

E250 | A man known as Wojciech Bobowski to some, Albertus Bobovius to others, and Ali Ufki to yet others, is one of the prime examples of an early modern intermediary operating in the seventeenth-century Ottoman Empire. In this podcast, we discuss with Michael Tworek the fascinating figure of the Bobovius, from his childhood in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, to his capture in a Tatar slave raid, to his numerous translations both from and to Ottoman Turkish. These included musical...


A New History of Print in Ottoman Cairo | Kathryn Schwartz

E249 | We often regard print as a motor of social change, leaving revolutions in its wake, whether political and religious. For historians of the Middle East, this line of thought always leads to the (predictable) question: why didn’t Muslims or Ottomans or Arabs adopt print? In this episode, Kathryn Schwartz discusses why this question is often poorly posed and then delves into an in-depth look at how and why people used print in one particular historical context—nineteenth-century Cairo....


Marginalized Women in Khedival Egypt | Liat Kozma

E248 | With political and economic developments in 19th century Egypt, the lives of women began to change in dramatic ways. From the rise of wage labor and the restructuring of rural households to the emergence of women's movements and publications, pre-colonial Egypt witnessed numerous transformation in the realm of gender. In this episode, Liat Kozma shares her research regarding some of the most marginalized women in Egyptian society during this period of change. Manumitted slaves,...


Literacies and the Emergence of Modern Egypt | Hoda Yousef

E247 | During the late nineteenth century, Egyptian society witnessed the rise of new debates and practices concerning reading and writing in the Arabic language. In this episode, Hoda Yousef explores the discources surrounding literacy in Egypt, which is the subject of her first book entitled Composing Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2016). This work examines how different actors from Islamic modernists and feminists to journalists and officials sought to produce particular kinds of...


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