Follow Us

Follow on Twitter    Follow on Facebook    YouTube Channel    Vimeo Channel    Tumblr    SoundCloud Channel    iPhone App    iPhone App

Chris Gratien

Guest

Neo-Ottoman Architecture and the Transnational Mosque: An Interview with Kishwar Rizvi

[Kocatepe Mosque, Ankara. Image by Kishwar Rizvi]

Mosques are enduring architectural and institutional features of Muslim communities throughout the world, and thus it is natural to encounter large mosque complexes that occupy prominent positions within the cityscapes of the Middle East and beyond. Yet among the many historical mosques and buildings in the region’s oldest cities, there are also buildings of surprisingly recent provenance and many old sites with newly renovated interiors and facades, such as the Blue Mosque ...

Keep Reading »

Beyond the Exotic in Ottoman Baths

[Thomas Allom,

Bath houses or hammams were fundamental fixtures of cities and towns throughout the Ottoman world. Western travelers and writers were drawn to the exotic allure of bath houses as spaces associated with leisure and eroticism, which featured prominently in orientalist tropes concerning Europe’s Islamic other. This legacy of exoticism notwithstanding, new scholarship on Ottoman baths demonstrates that the hammam can serve as a site for fruitful and fascinating historical ...

Keep Reading »

Kurdish Alevi Music and Migration: An Interview with Ozan Aksoy

[Ozan Aksoy. Image via Ottoman History Podcast.]

For Kurdish Alevis, music serves as a mode of articulating and transmitting ideas about collective history, identity, and connections to the geography of former homes in the countryside of Anatolia. Our guest in Ottoman History Podcast Episode #187, Dr. Ozan Aksoy, has explored this crucial role of music within the Alevi community from a variety of angles throughout more than two decades as a musician and researcher. As one of the members of the critically-acclaimed Kardeş ...

Keep Reading »

Archives and Collections in Israel/Palestine: An Interview with Zachary J. Foster

[Image via Ottoman History Podcast]

[NOTE: This Ottoman History Podcast episode was first aired in June 2011. We are featuring it here with a new introduction by Zachary J. Foster.] The sources and collections for the study of the Ottoman period located in Israel/Palestine are extremely rich. This introduction (and podcast) is less a survey of available libraries and archives (which has been itemized categorically here, here, and here). Instead, I would like to highlight some interesting sources I myself have ...

Keep Reading »

Miners and the Ottoman State: Ryan Gingeras Interviews Donald Quataert

[Zonguldak Mines, late Ottoman period. Image via Ottoman History Podcast.]

With the official death toll having exceeded three hundred, the Soma mining disaster has raised new questions about the conditions and rights of laborers in Turkey. Amidst the darkly farcical internet circus surrounding the rescue efforts, public outcry, and official reaction to this catastrophe, one of the more surreal moments has been the Prime Minister’s citation of nineteenth-century mining disasters as examples of the natural and inevitable nature of mining accidents in ...

Keep Reading »

Alevis in Ottoman Anatolia: An Interview with Ayfer Karakaya-Stump

[Image via Ottoman History Podcast]

The former Ottoman world is home to many communities of Muslim religious minorities that have been variously deemed heterodox deviants from the acknowledged schools of Islamic law. Narratives about them have focused on a certain impurity or syncretism in their religious practices. One such group is the Kizilbash/Alevi community of Anatolia. From the perspective of Ottoman rulers and statesmen, Kizilbash groups were often seen as politically dangerous heretics to be stamped ...

Keep Reading »

The Ottoman Scramble for Africa

[Image via Ottoman History Podcast]

During the nineteenth century, the place of the Ottoman Empire in the European state system became the subject of continual debate among the major players on the world political stage. Ottoman statesmen were acutely aware of the empire’s relatively weak position vis-à-vis its neighbors and sought to manage this situation while simultaneously expanding the role of state institutions in the provinces. We often see the Ottomans forced to accept unfavorable economic and ...

Keep Reading »

Lubunca and the History of Istanbul Slang

[Image via Ottoman History Podcast]

How did past people speak in their daily lives? Because historical documentation of spoken language is often thin, this question has fascinated and frustrated generations of linguists. Nowhere could this be truer than in Turkey, where radical sociolinguistic transformations since the end of the Ottoman period have largely erased the traces of what was a highly oral and multilingual Ottoman culture. In Ottoman History Podcast Episode #135, Nicholas Kontovas takes us inside ...

Keep Reading »

Where the Tigris Flows: Water Security in Post-War Iraq and Turkey

[Hasankeyf at Dusk. Image by Julia Harte, NG Newswatch All Rights Reserved, via Ottoman History Podcast.]

Media coverage of Iraq in recent years has been dominated by the horrifying images of the American occupation, its impacts, and its aftermath. Sometimes lost among the political turmoil are the stories of how daily life continues and persists and how it is affected by the issues of the day. What will be the legacy of the past decade in the eyes of the future? One issue that has gained attention from scholars of the Middle East in recent years is ecology. Historians have ...

Keep Reading »

Turkey: A Bird and a Country

[

Why does a familiar bird and typical Thanksgiving Day meal have the same name as the country of Turkey? What is the name for the turkey in other languages? Is there any link between the spread of turkeys into the Anglophone world and the Ottoman Empire? In this episode, we answer these questions and discuss more broadly the historical context within which the turkey and other foods such as potatoes and corn became part of global diets. Contributor Bios Chris ...

Keep Reading »

Hidden Histories at the French Archives

[Image via Ottoman History Podcast]

Conventional wisdom tells us that if we wish to understand the condition of the oppressed, it is best not to ask their oppressor, but historians of the Middle East have no such luxury. The archives of Western powers that once presided over colonial administrations in the region, and continue to exert their influence today, are a necessary evil for historians working on virtually any topic in Middle East history. However, the biases of these records and the governments that ...

Keep Reading »

World War I and the Ottoman Home Front

[The caption of this photograph taken in Greater Syria by the American colony reads

The centennial of the First World War is fast approaching. In 2015, Turkey will commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign, both a major victory and collective trauma of the war, and Armenians will do the same in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. With important and contentious issues of memory front and center in the public sphere, historical discussion of the World War I period will be as relevant as ever. This episode of Ottoman History Podcast, ...

Keep Reading »

The Kurdish Music Industry: History and Politics

[Ahmet Kaya. Image via Ottoman History Podcast blog.]

Ottoman History Podcast Episode #116 features the research of Alev Kuruoğlu on the development of the Kurdish music industry in Turkey and abroad. The episode is a historiographical mixtape that allows listeners to hear recordings of Kurdish artists within their historical context. Throughout the discussion, Kuruoğlu stresses the historical link between politics and Kurdish music production, following the music scene from a brief explosion during the 1970s through the years ...

Keep Reading »

Painting the Peasant in Modern Turkey

[Saim Özeren,

The interwar period is recognized as a time in which the figure of the peasant took on incredible symbolic meaning worldwide within various political ideologies, nationalist or otherwise. In Republican Turkey, fostering links between the differentiated Anatolia countryside and urban centers was viewed as a critical component of a state-building project led by statesmen who were influenced by the work of early nationalist intellectuals such as Ziya Gökalp. The establishment ...

Keep Reading »

Sex, Love, and Worship in Classical Ottoman Texts: An Interview with Selim Kuru

[Image via Ottoman History Podcast]

The history of sexuality in the Islamic world is a topic of growing interest for students and scholars today, and one of the major areas of inquiry has been the development of contemporary notions such as homosexuality in Islamic societies and the context within which they are formed or introduced. This literature itself usually embraces a critique of present-day categories that reinforce heteronormativity or rigid understandings of sexual orientation that seek to ...

Keep Reading »

Hydropolitics and the Hajj: An Ottoman Pre-History of Saudi Geological Imperialism, With Michael Christopher Low

[Water Distillation Machine Installed in Jidda in 1911. Source: Kasım İzzeddin, Hicaz'da teşkilât ve ıslahat-ı sıhhiye (1330).]

In Ottoman History Podcast Episode 101, Chris Gratien interviews Michael Christopher Low to discuss his current research on the history of water infrastructure, disease, and the ecological transformations of the Arabian Peninsula over the past two centuries. As Toby Jones argues in Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia (2010), Saudi power has always been predicated on the state’s ability to wield technical expertise and master the environment. The ...

Keep Reading »

Producing Pera: A Levantine Family and the Remaking of Istanbul

[View of Pera and Galata, circa 1870-1910. Photo by Guillaume Berggren via US Library of Congress]

In recent years, urban space has emerged as a critical point of political contention in Turkey. However, this is by no means a new phenomenon. The politics of urban transformation in Istanbul—Turkey’s largest city and the capital of the former Ottoman Empire—have offered a visible representation of the dominant ideology of the times since the city’s conquest in 1453. As Ottoman sultans and statesmen sought to consciously reorient towards Europe during the nineteenth century, ...

Keep Reading »

Occupy Gezi: A Roundtable Discussion and Podcast

[Sign reads

The world’s eyes are currently on Istanbul. As protests spread throughout Turkey, media outlets are scrambling to convey some type of picture of what is taking place to an eager audience that often lacks the proper context and background knowledge to make sense of the events. Meanwhile, commentators continue to offer explanations of the protests that conform to sweeping narratives that may but probably will not be proven true by the course of events, leading to an overall ...

Keep Reading »

Bio

Chris Gratien

 

Chris Gratien is the editor and co-host of Ottoman History Podcast, and a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at Georgetown University researching the social environmental history of Ottoman Anatolia and Syria.