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Podcast The Southeast Passage History Homepage

#035 - MALTE FUHRMANN: Ottoman Port Cities of the Modern Mediterranean

At the turn of the twentieth century, Ottoman port cities of the Eastern Mediterranean were sites of vibrant cultural encounters. While infrastructural innovations at docks and quays reshaped the urban waterfront, the inhabitants of Izmir, Istanbul, and Salonica engaged with new forms of entertainment arriving from Europe. Operas, balls, and beerhouses changed the way people mingled and interpreted coexistence and diversity in their urban environment. Migrants from Europe and from the hinterlands of major port cities created an original form of Ottoman Mediterranean modernity. This cosmopolitan urban culture was alluring and festive but also had its discontents, who denounced it as decadent and servile to European imperialism. Exploring the everyday life of late Ottoman port cities reveals an effervescent lapse of time in which notions such as modernity, Europe, empire, and nation could be experienced in manifold ways, before the major conflicts of the twentieth century gave a fatal blow to Mediterranean urban diversity.

#034 - MARTIN REMPE: Being a Musician in Germany, 1850-1960

A few countries can boast a musical heritage comparable to Germany's. Yet, this tradition was made possible by rank-and-file musicians, whose position in society was far from stable and acknowledged. In this episode, we discuss a history of music in Germany "from below". Applying the triad art, play, and work to music as an unresolved matrix to unpack what is often considered a "creative" category, we link the experience and perceptions of musicians to German political history and the musicians' struggle for recognition. In the second part of the conversation, we approach the gendered dimension of musical professionalisation, the impact of musicians' mobility on "national" traditions, and the challenges posed by new technologies to making a living with music.

#033 - ALAN MIKHAIL: How the Ottomans shaped the Modern World

The Ottoman Empire was a key force in the making of the early modern world. Growing from a regional to a global player and to the most powerful Muslim empire at the turn of the 16th century, the role of the Ottomans has been largely neglected by Eurocentric narratives about the Atlantic exploration and the Reformation. This episode is based on Alan Mikhail's new work “God’s Shadow: Sultan Selim, his Ottoman Empire, and the Making of the Modern World”. In the first part, we discuss the trajectory of Selim I, one of the most important sultans of the House of Osman, and the conflict with his father Bayezid. His life spans from military campaigns in Eastern Anatolia to crucial victories against the Mamluk Empire, which allowed Selim to officially become Caliph and leader of Sunni Islam. In the second part, we open a perspective on the global implications of imperial rivalries in the Mediterranean. To re-center the Ottomans sheds light on how reactions to a powerful Muslim empire drove Columbus’s and other conquistadors’ worldview, which in turn lingered on in US-American self-perceptions and othering of Muslims and Native Americans.

#032 - The Mediterranean viewed from the Southern Shore

Modern Mediterranean history and Middle Eastern history rarely dialogue with each other. Whereas European ideas and practices of and in the Mediterranean have been studied thoroughly, only recently did researchers start to examine ideas and experiences through which actors on the Southern shore contributed to the making of the Mediterranean.In this episode, recorded during a conference in Beirut, we discuss the relevance of the Mediterranean in Arab ideas, institutions and identity constructions in the late Ottoman and post-Ottoman period.

#031 - LEON SALTIEL: History and memory of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki

In 1943, the almost entire Jewish population of Thessaloniki was arrested and deported to Nazi extermination camps. This tragic event marked an irrevocable rupture in the centuries-old history of the local Jewish community. In this episode, we discuss an innovative history of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki through the focus on interactions between Nazi occupiers, local Christian elites, the Jewish population, professional institutions, state and church authorities. Inspired by a plurality of sources, this approach is pioneering for the reflections it opens on the municipal dimension of the persecutions and the Holocaust, and how this has only recently become part of the city's memory after decades of silence.


Cover drawing © Clara Delboé