Istanbul - Kushta - Constantinople: Narratives of Identity in the Ottoman Capital, 1830-1930, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Istanbul - Kushta - Constantinople

Narratives of Identity in the Ottoman Capital, 1830-1930, 1st Edition

Edited by Christoph Herzog, Richard Wittmann


312 pages

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pub: 2018-09-21
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Istanbul – Kushta – Constantinople presents twelve studies that draw on contemporary life narratives that shed light on little explored aspects of nineteenth-century Ottoman Istanbul. As a broad category of personal writing that goes beyond the traditional confines of the autobiography, life narratives range from memoirs, letters, reports, travelogues and descriptions of daily life in the city and its different neighborhoods. By focusing on individual experiences and perspectives, life narratives allow the historian to transcend rigid political narratives and to recover lost voices, especially of those underrepresented groups, including women and members of non-Muslim communities.

The studies of this volume focus on a variety of narratives produced by Muslim and Christian women, by non-Muslims and Muslims, as well as by natives and outsiders alike. They dispel European Orientalist stereotypes and cross class divides and ethnic identities. Travel accounts of outsiders provide us with valuable observations of daily life in the city that residents often overlooked.

Table of Contents


Notes on Contributors


Christoph Herzog and Richard Wittmann

Part I: European and Ottoman Women in the Empire

  1. The Memories of German-speaking Women of Constantinople
  2. Gudrun Wedel

  3. Wanderlust, Follies, and Self-Inflicted Misfortunes: The Memoirs of Anna Forneris and her Thirty Years in Constantinople and the Levant
  4. Malte Fuhrmann

  5. The Imperial Harem Network in Istanbul, 1850s to 1922
  6. Börte Sagaster

    Part II: Outside Observers of Istanbul

  7. Amalgamated Observations: Assessing American Impressions of Nineteenth-Century Constantinople and its Peoples
  8. Kent Schull

  9. Istanbul and the Formation of an Arab Teenager’s Identity. Recollections of a Cadet in the Ottoman Army in 1914 and 1916–17
  10. Malek Sharif

  11. Hispanic Observers of Istanbul
  12. Pablo Martín Asuero

    Part III: Jewish Communities

  13. The Autobiographical Writings of the Constantinople Judezmo Journalist David Fresco as a Clue toward His Attitude to Language
  14. David M. Bunis

  15. Istanbul’s Jewish Community through the Eyes of a European Jew. Ludwig A. Frankl in his Nach Jerusalem
  16. Yaron Ben-Naeh


    Part IV: Armenian and Bulgarian Christian Communities

  17. A Stroll through the Quarters of Constantinople: Sketches of the City as Seen through the Eyes of the Great Satirist Hagop Baronian
  18. Rachel Goshgarian

  19. From Short Stories to Social Topography: Misak Koçunyan’s Life Landscapes
  20. Aylin Koçunyan

  21. "Bulgar Milleti Nedir?" Syncretic Forms of Belonging in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Istanbul.
  22. Darin Stephanov

  23. Twenty Years in the Ottoman Capital: The Memoirs of Doctor Hristo Tanev Stambolski of Kazanlik (1843-1932) from an Ottoman Point of View

Johann Strauss



About the Editors

Christoph Herzog is Professor of Turcology at the University of Bamberg, Germany. He studied Middle Eastern and modern European history at Freiburg, Germany and in Istanbul. His research interests focus on late Ottoman history, especially on the history of the Arab provinces, intellectual history and biographical studies.

Richard Wittmann is the Associate Director of the German Orient-Institut Istanbul. He studied law, Islamic Studies and Turcology in Munich, Berlin, and Cambridge, Mass., where he earned his PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History from Harvard University. He specializes in the Islamic legal and social history of the Ottoman Empire, as well as narrative sources for the study of the Middle East.

About the Series

Life Narratives of the Ottoman Realm: Individual and Empire in the Near East

As a consequence of the political developments following World War I, the Ottoman Empire has been treated by a great number of historians above all as an intrinsic part of Turkish national history. Although the academic community has recognized that the Ottoman Empire was, in fact, multiethnic and multicultural, this recognition has too rarely been translated into scholarly practice. This is due in large part to the fragmentation of Ottoman studies into various academic disciplines that only infrequently communicate with one another: as examples, Turkish-language literature predominantly produced by Muslims is treated by Turkish Literature experts and Turkologists in the West; Ottoman Ladino literature falls within the purview of Romance studies; the empire’s Greeks are studied within the field of Byzantine and Hellenic studies; and so on.

This publication series aims to bring all of these perspectives together in a historically specific and responsible way by providing a key publication platform for scholars aiming to study the narrative sources of a vast geographic region, stretching, at times, from Bosnia to the Yemen, in its full complexity as a multilingual and multiethnic Empire.

For further information about the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]


Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Middle East / Turkey & Ottoman Empire