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.
Notes on Contributors
Christoph Herzog and Richard Wittmann
Part I: European and Ottoman Women in the Empire
Part II: Outside Observers of Istanbul
Pablo Martín Asuero
Part III: Jewish Communities
David M. Bunis
Part IV: Armenian and Bulgarian Christian Communities
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]