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Ottoman History Podcast

Updated 5 days ago

News
History
Politics
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Interviews with historians about the history of the Ottoman Empire and beyond

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Interviews with historians about the history of the Ottoman Empire and beyond

iTunes Ratings

120 Ratings
Average Ratings
94
13
5
4
4

Thoughtful show / great guests

By lawnchairmaniac - May 24 2019
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Thank you for a thoroughly great production!

Brilliant Podcast

By Χριστοδουλου - Jan 17 2017
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Detailed and well sourced podcast yet entertaining and accessible

iTunes Ratings

120 Ratings
Average Ratings
94
13
5
4
4

Thoughtful show / great guests

By lawnchairmaniac - May 24 2019
Read more
Thank you for a thoroughly great production!

Brilliant Podcast

By Χριστοδουλου - Jan 17 2017
Read more
Detailed and well sourced podcast yet entertaining and accessible
Cover image of Ottoman History Podcast

Ottoman History Podcast

Latest release on Feb 22, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 5 days ago

Rank #1: Exploring the Early Modern Ottoman World

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Episode 361
with Max Bechtold, Haley Holmes, Matthew Nolan, Megan Rowlands, Tanya Skyba-Bartholomew, and Amber Volz
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In our final episode of Season 7, we feature four student contributions on life in the early modern Ottoman world. These student podcasts come from two university courses in which the podcast medium was integral as both course material and assignment: "Cities of the Sultans: Life in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire" (Michael Talbot, University of Greenwich) and "Podcasting the Ottomans" (Dana Sajdi, Boston College). Through these student podcasts, we explore how art and aesthetics figured into Ottoman engagements with their neighbors, and we go beyond the palace walls to explore facets of urban life in Ottoman cities.
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Apr 30 2018

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Rank #2: Hürrem Sultan or Roxelana, Empress of the East

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Episode 340
with Leslie Peircehosted by Suzie Ferguson and Seçil Yılmaz
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In this episode, we explore the life and times of Roxelana, also known as Hürrem Sultan, a slave girl who became chief consort and then legal wife of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I (r. 1520-1566). We trace Roxelana's probable beginnings and the possible paths that took her to Istanbul, asking how she rose above her peers in the Old Palace to become a favored concubine and then the wife of the Sultan. We explore her relationship to other women at the Ottoman court, the politics of her motherhood and philanthropy, and her role in Ottoman diplomacy. In the end, Roxelana's work, her relationship with Suleiman, and the unusual nuclear family they created despite the otherwise polygynous patterns of reproduction at the Ottoman court would transform the rules of Ottoman succession, the role of Ottoman royal women, and the future of the Empire as a whole. The life story of this one remarkable woman sheds light on many facets of the history of the Ottoman Empire, showing how a single individual's story can serve as a lynchpin for grasping the complexities of an age.
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Dec 12 2017

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Rank #3: America, Turkey, and the Middle East

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Episode 386
with Suzy Hansenhosted by Chris Gratien
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Turkey is a country that most Americans know little about, and yet the United States has played an extraordinary role in the making of modern Turkey. In this podcast, we explore this disparity of awareness and the role of the US in the history of the Middle East through the lens of an American journalist's slow realization of her own subjectivity and the myriad ways in which the US and Turkey have been intertwined. In this conversation with Suzy Hansen about her award-winning book "Notes on a Foreign Country," we critically examine the formation of journalistic and scholarly expertise, and we discuss reactions of readers and reviewers to Hansen's work.
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Oct 15 2018

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Rank #4: The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine

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Episode 367
with Salim Tamarihosted by Sam Dolbee
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Nationalism has greatly influenced the way we think about Palestinian history. In this episode, Salim Tamari discusses this question in relation to his new book, The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine, which explores Palestine under Ottoman rule during World War I. Tamari highlights the transformative nature of the conflict in Palestine, and the Ottomanist roots of many Palestinian and Arab nationalists. He also tackles the question of sources in Palestine, and how family papers have been crucial to his work. We conclude by discussing the stakes of recovering that past as the dispossession of Palestinians continues into the present.
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Jul 17 2018

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Rank #5: Coffee & Cannabis

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Episode 326
with Casey Lurtz & Lina Brittohosted by Chris Gratien
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Commodities, their circulation, and their consumption have long been favorite topics of cultural and economic historians alike. In this episode, we build on the historiography of commodities by studying further the social and political context of two particular commodities: coffee and marijuana. Our guests, Casey Lurtz and Lina Britto, have each studied these commodities in their Latin American contexts, and following a global discussion of coffee and marijuana with some focus on the Middle East, we talk to each of these scholars about their respective research projects. We examine how the arrival of coffee impacted local political economies in Mexico, and we explore how the history of marijuana as a "drug" has had political consequences for modern Latin American countries. We conclude with a roundtable discussion on the history of commodities like coffee and marijuana and what they tell us about the changing cultural context surrounding both these items today.
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Jul 20 2017

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Rank #6: The English in 17th-Century Tangier

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Episode 388
with Karim Bejjithosted by Graham Cornwell
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Tangier is in the midst of a massive renovation and expansion -- a new ferry and cruise port, a duty-free zone, and the massive Tangier Med shipping facility all meant to make the city and Morocco into a critical juncture of the global flows of goods, people, services, and capital. Of course, Tangier’s proximity to Europe and position astride the Strait of Gibraltar has long provided it with a cosmopolitan, international character, typified by the International Zone days during European colonial rule of Morocco in the first half of the twentieth century. But Tangier’s polyglot, imperial past goes back much further. In this episode, we turn to one of those more distant episodes: the English occupation of Tangier from 1661 to 1684. It was a brief interlude: control of the city itself was part of Catherine of Braganza’s dowry to King Charles II, but English forces quickly found the situation (under intermittent but heavy resistance from local Moroccan tribes) unsustainable. The period produced some interesting characters on both sides--Samuel Pepys, for one, was a resident--but has generally been overlooked by scholars in favor of the Portuguese imperial enclaves on the Atlantic coast. What made English Tangier unique? Why did it fail, and how did the experience shape Moroccan-English relations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries?

This episode is cross-listed with tajine, our series on the history and society of North Africa.
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Oct 25 2018

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Rank #7: Mexico and the Modern Sephardi Diaspora

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Episode 417
with Devi Mayshosted by Chris Gratien
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After their expulsion from the Iberian peninsula during the 15th century, Jewish communities settled throughout the Mediterranean, with many finding new homes in the cities of the ascendant Ottoman Empire. Centuries later, Ottoman Jews descended from this early modern diaspora still spoke a language related to Spanish, often referred to as Ladino. During the late 19th century, a new wave of migration out of the Eastern Mediterranean began, giving rise to a modern Sephardi diaspora of migrants from modern-day Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and other parts of the former Ottoman world. As our guest Devi Mays explains in this interview, the Iberian heritage and language of these migrants played a distinct role in their global migration experience, as many ended up settling in countries like Mexico, Cuba, and Argentina. In this episode, we explore the history of the modern Sephardi diaspora and its relationship to the history of Mexico. In some cases, Ladino-speaking Jews from the former Ottoman Empire appeared as welcome immigrants in Mexico even when Jews from other parts of the world faced discrimination and increased immigration restriction during the 20th century. In other cases, Iberian heritage meant that Jews looking to settle in the United States could pass as Mexican or Cuban nationals when seeking to cross the border. Through the individual experiences and lives that comprise the modern Sephardi diaspora, we highlight the unique experiences of migrants mediated by gender and class, and we appreciate the strategies such people developed to navigate an increasingly anti-immigrant world.
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Jul 04 2019

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Rank #8: Good Poets & Bad Poetry at the Ottoman Court

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Episode 416
with Sooyong Kimhosted by Nir Shafir and Elisabetta Benigni
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What made for a good poet in the Ottoman Empire? It is a question that far too few historians tackle because Ottoman poetry, especially that of the court, is often regarded as inaccessible. In this podcast, Sooyong Kim brings to life the social world of Ottoman poets, focusing in particular on Zati, a poet plying his trade in the imperial court in the first half of the sixteenth century. We speak about how poets succeeded and failed and why Zati's successors erased him from the canon of good poetry.
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Jun 28 2019

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Rank #9: France & Algeria: Origins and Legacies

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Episode 409
with Jennifer Sessionshosted by Chris Gratien
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In 1827, Hussein Dey, the Ottoman governor of Algiers, hit a French consul on the nose with a fly whisk during a dispute over unpaid French debts. And as the story goes, the rest is history. France soon invaded Algeria and stayed for over 130 years. But as our guest in this episode Jennifer Sessions explains, France's decision to invade and colonize Algeria beginning in 1830 was far less arbitrary and far more intertwined with domestic French politics than lore would have it. And while the invasion was partially about political divisions in France, even as French politics transformed French colonization in Algeria became a national consensus over the course of the 19th century. In this episode, we examine the importance of the early decades of French colonialism in Algeria for understanding what followed, and we consider the legacy of French colonialism in Algeria for France and Algeria today.
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Apr 07 2019

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Rank #10: The Many Lives of a Medieval Library

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Episode 380
with Konrad Hirschlerhosted by Nir Shafir
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When does a concubine need to join the reading group? And should the six-month old son come along as well? The answers are in our interview with Konrad Hirschler on the libraries of medieval Damascus. Using the original catalog of the Ashrafiyya Library of Damascus, Hirschler discusses the types of books that were donated to libraries, the surprising reading interests of medieval scholars, and how we might discover this lost world of bibliophiles.
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Sep 25 2018

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Rank #11: Jewish Salonica and the Greek Nation

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Episode 314
with Devin Naarhosted by Nir Shafir and Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano
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Salonica was home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman world until its liquidation by the Nazis in 1943. Historians often mark the beginning of the end of the Jewish community in 1913 when the city was annexed by Greece. Devin Naar challenges this presumption in this podcast by looking at how the Jewish community continued to flourish and adapt as part of the new Greek nation-state. Ultimately, the community was both sustained and limited by its continued use of the millet structure from the late nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire and its strong attachment to the city as a political space. As such, the interwar history of the Salonican Jews becomes an important study of the legacies of the Ottoman Empire and the types of politics it continued to create well into the twentieth century.
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May 19 2017

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Rank #12: Crisis and Development in 20th Century Iraq

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Episode 397
with Sara Pursleyhosted by Susanna Ferguson
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What is "development?" What can we learn about this key concept of the 20th century world by looking at it through the history of modern Iraq? In this episode, Sara Pursley unpacks the history of "development" in many forms to show how ideas about what the future should look like have governed what's possible in the present and the ways that we can narrate the past. From the girls' schools of interwar Iraq, to the "family farms" instituted there by American experts in the 1940s, to literacy programs instituted after Iraq's 1958 revolution, we see how projects meant to give Iraqis better futures often had unintended and contradictory effects.
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Jan 08 2019

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Rank #13: The Sultan's Eunuch

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Episode 369
with Jane Hathawayhosted by Sanja Kadrić and Emily Neumeier
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For more than three centuries, a cadre of African eunuchs were responsible for guarding the Ottoman harem at the imperial palace in Istanbul. The head of this group, the Chief Harem Eunuch, emerged as an extremely influential individual at the court. This was especially true during the crisis years of the long seventeenth century, when the palace became divided along ever-shifting lines of political factions. In this episode, we trace the long trajectory of the office of Chief Harem Eunuch, from its establishment—coinciding with the sultan’s decision to begin residing full-time in the harem—until the ultimate demise of the empire. In particular, we highlight the high degree of mobility for these eunuchs, beginning with their initial journey from Ethiopia to the shores of the Bosphorus, and later on using their position to maintain strong ties to Cairo as well as the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. A liminal figure in every sense of the word—in terms of gender, race, and his duties at the court—the Chief Harem Eunuch offers unique insights into the nature of political life at the Ottoman palace.
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Aug 05 2018

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Rank #14: "They Can Live in the Desert"

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Episode 356
with Ronald Grigor Sunyhosted by Matthew Ghazarian
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In this episode we talk about the history of the Armenian genocide, drawing on Ronald Grigor Suny’s 2015 monograph, “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else”: A History of the Armenian Genocide. First, we discuss the conditions that led to these events, which affected not only Armenians but also Assyrians, Kurds, and a host of others across the empire. What factors set the stage for mass violence, who were the key actors, and how was the destruction actually carried out? In the second half, we turn to the legal and political developments at the United Nations, among Armenian communities in the diaspora, and within Turkey, to examine how the genocide has been remembered, commemorated, and written into history.
Release Date: 7 April 2018
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Apr 07 2018

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Rank #15: Love Poems of an Ottoman Woman: Mihrî Hatun

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Episode 357
with Didem Havlioğluhosted by Chris Gratien
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What did it mean to be a woman in the intellectual world of early modern Islamic empires? In this episode, our guest Didem Havlioğlu offers one answer to this question through the life and works of Mihrî Hatun, an Ottoman woman from 15th-century Amasya whose poetry survives to this day. Mihrî was unique within the male-dominated sphere of early modern love poetry, and as we discuss in this podcast, her position as a woman was integral to her poetry and its meaning. These poems and the relationships of this exceptional writer are the subject of Havlioğlu's new book entitled Mihrî Hatun: Performance, Gender-Bending, and Subversion in Ottoman Intellectual History (Syracuse University Press).
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Apr 12 2018

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Rank #16: Early French Encounters with the Ottomans

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Episode 315
with Pascale Barthehosted by Nir Shafir and Michael Talbot
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Orientalist representations loom large in the history of 19th-century colonialism and European engagement with the late Ottoman Empire. But how did the orientalist discourses of the late Ottoman period compare with European representations of the Ottoman Empire during its early rise? In this episode, Pascale Barthe revisits this question through the lens of 16th century French encounters with the Ottoman Empire. Through Renaissance period French accounts of travel in and political engagement with the Ottoman Empire, we discuss early Franco-Ottoman rapprochement and cross-cultural exchange pursued by French monarchs and subjects with the would-be eastern other of the "Turk."
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May 22 2017

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Rank #17: Ottoman New York

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Episode 320
featuring Bruce Burnside & Sam Dolbee
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The distance between the shores of the Ottoman Empire and New York City may be great, but, as this episode suggests, a great many connections exist between these places, too. This episode explores both the everyday lives of those hailing from the Ottoman domains over several centuries in the Big Apple, as well as the perceptions New Yorkers and Americans more generally had of the Ottoman Empire. Through visits to sites across the island of Manhattan, we shed light on the long and largely forgotten shared history of the Ottoman Empire and New York City, and we find it in unlikely places – such as a modest walk-up apartment on the Upper East Side – as well as in the shadow of New York landmarks like 1 World Trade Center and the Stonewall Inn.
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Jun 24 2017

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Rank #18: American Music of the Ottoman Diaspora

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Episode 412
with Ian Nagoskihosted by Chris Gratien
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During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, hundreds of thousands of people from the Ottoman Empire and post-Ottoman states emigrated to the U.S. Among them were musicians, singers, and artists who catered to the new diaspora communities that emerged in cities like New York and Boston. During the early 20th century, with the emergence of a commercial recording industry in the United States, these artists appeared on 78 rpm records that circulated within the diaspora communities of the former Ottoman Empire in the United States and beyond, singing in languages such as Turkish, Arabic, Greek, Armenian, Assyrian, Kurdish, and Ladino. Their music included folks songs from their homelands and new compositions about life and love in the diaspora. In this episode, Ian Nagoski of Canary Records joins the podcast to showcase some of these old recordings, which he has located and digitized over the years, and we discuss some of the remarkable life stories of these largely forgotten artists in American music history.
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Jun 01 2019

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Rank #19: Spies of the Sultan

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Episode 334
with Emrah Safa Gürkanhosted by Chris Gratien
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Along with new maritime networks, information stiched together the empires of the early modern period. One component of the growing networks of information in the increasingly connected space of the Mediterranean world was espionage. As we learn in our latest conversation with Emrah Safa Gürkan about his new book Sultanın Casusları (Spies of the Sultan), the Ottoman Empire was both party and subject to the fascinating exploits of early modern spies. In this episode, we learn about the lives of Ottoman spies profiled in Gürkan's book, and we consider how the transformation of espionage in the Mediterranean relates to the development of early modern empires.
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Sep 25 2017

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Rank #20: Imagining and Narrating Plague in the Ottoman World

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Episode 396
with Orhan Pamuk and Nükhet Varlık featuring A. Tunç Şen
presented by Sam Dolbee
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In this special episode, novelist Orhan Pamuk and historian Nükhet Varlık discuss how to write about plague and epidemics in Ottoman history. Orhan Pamuk is a Nobel Prize-winning novelist whose works such as My Name is Red drew masterfully on the literature and art of early modern Ottoman society. In an ongoing project, Pamuk is turning his attention towards the Ottoman experience of plague. Nükhet Varlık is a historian whose award-winning book Plague and Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean World: The Ottoman Experience, 1347–1600 was the first to systematically examine the history of the Black Death and subsequent plague outbreaks from the vantage point of the Ottoman state and its subjects. Varlık is currently involved in multidisciplinary collaborations with scientific researchers who are using new methods to solve longstanding mysteries about past plagues. In this wide-ranging conversation organized by Tunç Şen and the Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies at Columbia University and presented by Sam Dolbee, Pamuk, and Varlık discuss the Ottoman experience of plague from a variety of angles. Varlık describes how new research is overturning many misconceptions about the plague and its history, allowing writers of all varieties to re-imagine the Ottoman encounter with plague, and Pamuk discusses the challenges and opportunities presented by using fiction to address the very real experience of plague in past contexts. 

This podcast is based on a recording of a free public event entitled "Imagining & Narrating Plague in the Ottoman World: A Conversation with Orhan Pamuk & Nükhet Varlık" held on November 12, 2018 at Columbia University organized by A. Tunç Şen and The Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies. The event was sponsored by The Sakıp Sabancı Center for Turkish Studies, The Columbia University School of the Arts, The Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, and The Department of History at Columbia University.

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Jan 03 2019

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