#030 – Archives and Temporality in the 19th century

with Sina Steglich

J. W. M. Turner, Rain, steam, and speed (1844, Wikimedia Commons)

In the 19th century, technological innovations brought about new conceptions of time. The idea of modernity redefined the contemporaries’ relationship with the past. State institutions began a systematic reorganization of their archives, which started to function as the main repository of historical traces for scholars. At the same time, these sites were visited by broader population segments out of curiosity, familial matters, or simply a genuine fascination for past documents. In this episode, we discuss the interrelation of archives and temporality in Europe through the eyes of historians and state institutions.


Sina Steglich is a research fellow at the German Historical Institute London. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Mannheim in 2018 with a dissertation on the history of archival times in Fin-de-Siècle Europe. Her current postdoctoral project is entitled Nomadism as a Discursive Figure of Modernity. Her research interests include the history of time(s), archival history, the history of historiography as well as theory and methodology of history (especially intellectual and conceptual history).

Sina’s new book is entitled Zeitort Archiv – Etablierung und Vermittlung geschichtlicher Zeitlichkeit im 19. Jahrhundert (The Archive as Chronotype: The establishment and the diffusion of historical temporality in the 19th century), Campus Verlag, 2020.


To cite this episode:  Steglich, Sina; Guidi, Andreas (2020): Archives and Temporality in the 19th century. The Southeast Passage #030, 22.04.2020, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/steglich-archives-temporality


– Scherzo No 1 – F.Chopin (performed by N. Di Napoli)

Exzel Music Publishing (freemusicpublicdomain.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

– Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9 no. 2 – F. Chopin (performed by V. Chaimovich)


Further reading:

Anderson, Benedict: Imagined Communities. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London, New York, NY 2006.

Bakhtin, Mikhail: Forms of Time and the Chronotope in the Novel, in: Ibid.: The Dialogic Imagination, Austin, TX 1981, pp. 84-258.

Barak, On: On Time. Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt, Berkeley, CA 2013.

Bauman, Zygmunt: Modernity and Ambivalence, Cambridge et al 1993.

Conrad, Sebastian: „Nothing is the Way it Should be.“ Global Transformation of the Time Regime in the Nineteenth Century, in: Modern Intellectual History 15 (2018), pp. 821-848.

Eskildsen, Kasper Risbjerg: Leopold von Ranke’s Archival Turn. Location and Evidence in Modern Historiography, in: Modern Intellectual History 5 (2008), pp. 425-453.

Farge, Arlette: The Allure of the Archives, New Haven, CN 2013.

Fritzsche, Peter: Stranded in the Present. Modern Time and the Melancholy of History, Cambridge, MA, London 2004.

Landwehr, Achim: Die anwesende Abwesenheit der Vergangenheit. Essay zur Geschichtstheorie, Frankfurt am Main 2016.

Steglich, Sina: Vom Sichern der Zeit und Zeigen der Geschichte. Zum Archiv als Zeitgeber des Fin de Siècle, in: Historische Zeitschrift 305 (2017), pp. 689-716.

Steglich, Sina: Zeitort Archiv. Etablierung und Vermittlung geschichtlicher Zeitlichkeit im 19. Jahrhundert (=Historische Studien, Bd. 79), Frankfurt am Main, New York 2020.

Tamm, Marek/Laurent Olivier (Eds.): Rethinking Historical Time. New Approaches to Presentism, London et al 2019.

Wishnitzer, Avner: Reading Clocks, Alla Turca. Time and Society in the late Ottoman Empire, Chicago, IL, London 2015.



Delannoy, Le Musée des Archives de l’Empire (Université Paris Descartes)


Paris, National Archives (Photo by Sina Steglich)



#029 – A Transnational History of Kemalism

with Nathalie Clayer, Fabio Giomi, and Emmanuel Szurek



Cover of Munir Šahinović-Ekremov’s Turska, – danas i sjutra. Prosjek kroz život jedne države [Turkey today and tomorrow. Outline of a State’s life], 1939.


Kemalism as a political category has been used widely and often ambigously throughout the history of the Turkish Republic in the public discourse as well as in historiography. In this episode, we discuss Kemalism from an innovative transnational perspective. The making of Kemalism was embedded in hybridity and circulations involving other regions of the post-Ottoman space. Practices of governance, material objects, new conceptions of the body and gender roles, and scientific debates created a convergence of Islam and modernity which was influenced by external reference but also attracted observers from surrounding countries such as Albania, Yugoslavia and Egypt.



Nathalie Clayer (center) is a professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

Fabio Giomi (right) is a researcher at the French National Research Council (CNRS).

Emmanuel Szurek (left) is an associate professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

Nathalie, Fabio, and Emmanuel are members of the Center for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Central Asian Studies (CETOBaC). They are the editors of Kemalism. Transnational Politics in the Post-Ottoman World. London: Bloomsbury, 2018.

Table of contents:

Introduction: Transationalizing Kemalism: a Refractive Relationship, by Nathalie Clayer, Fabio Giomi, Emmanuel Szurek
Chapter 1: Kemalism and the Adoption of the Civil Code in Albania (1926-1929), by Nathalie Clayer
Chapter 2: Kemalism Between the Borders: Conflicts Over the New Turkish Alphabet in Bulgaria, by Anna M. Mirkova
Chapter 3: From Ottoman to Latin Script in Cyprus. A Local, a British Colonial and a Turkish National History, by Béatrice Hendrich
Chapter 4: Transnational History in a Hat: Egypt and Kemalism in the Interwar Years, by Wilson Chacko Jacob
Chapter 5: Seduced by Gender Corporatism: Muslim Cultural Entrepreneurs and Kemalist Turkey in Interwar Yugoslavia, Fabio Giomi
Chapter 6: Reframing the Orientalist Gaze in the Material Culture of Kemalist Turkey: The Formation of an “Aesthetic Nationalism”, by Ece Zerman
Chapter 7: The Man Sick of Europe. A Transnational History of Kemalist Science, by Emmanuel Szurek


To cite this episode:  Clayer, Nathalie; Giomi, Fabio; Szurek Emmanuel; Guidi, Andreas (2019): A transnational history of Kemalism. The Southeast Passage #029, 09.06.2019, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/clayer-giomi-szurek-transnational-history-kemalism



“Yanık Ömer”, performed by Bayan Safiye


Further reading:

Adak, Sevgi. 2014. ‘Women in the Post-Ottoman Public Sphere: Anti-Veiling Campaigns and the Gendered Reshaping of Urban Space in Early Republican Turkey’. Pp. 36–67 in Women and the City, Women in the City: A Gendered Perspective to Ottoman Urban History, edited by N. Maksudyan. New York: Berghahn Books.

Aytürk, İlker. 2009. ‘H. F. Kvergic and the Sun-Language Theory’. Zeitschrift Der Deutschen Morgenlaendischen Gesellschaft 1(159):23–44.

Aytürk, İlker. 2015. ‘Post-Post-Kemalizm: Yeni Bir Paradigmayı Beklerken’. Birikim (319):34–48.

Bozarslan, Hamit. 2004. Histoire De La Turquie Contemporaine. Paris: Éd. La Découverte.

Georgeon, François and İskender Gökalp, eds. 1987. Kémalisme et Monde Musulman. Paris: Fondation de la Maison des sciences de l’homme.

Hanioğlu, M. Şükrü. 2011. Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Müller, Bertrand and Christian Jacob. 2009. ‘Les Lieux de Savoir : Un Entretien Avec Christian Jacob’. Geneses 76(3):116–36.

Parla, Taha and Andrew Davison. 2004. Corporatist Ideology in Kemalist Turkey. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Zürcher, Erik Jan. 2004. Turkey: A Modern History. 3rd ed. London ; New York: I.B. Tauris.


“Kemalist Turkey Hails Fascist Italy!” Cumhuriyet headline on the occasion of Prime Minister Ismet Inönü’s official visit to Rome (22 May 1932).


Cover of the Italian translation of Mustafa Kemal’s biography by Dagobert von Mikusch, a German journalist, firstly published in 1929.





Jean-François Pérouse: Istanbul Planète


Gabriel Doyle is a Ph.D. student in History at the Cetobac / EHESS in Paris. His research focuses on the spatial and material implications of diplomatic, missionary and philanthropic activity in late Ottoman Istanbul. His wider interests include global history, urban studies and social anthropology. Born in Paris from Australian parents, he likes to cycle in his hometown thinking about his new travel destination.




Jean-François Pérouse
Istanbul planète:  La ville-monde du XXIe siècle
Paris: La Découverte, 2017


Jean-François Pérouse’s latest book Istanbul-Planète is an ambitious project. The French geographer attempted to fit into two hundred pages several years of careful observation of Istanbul’s evolution into the major metropolis it has now become. The result is outstanding. The book is concise but carefully depicts the economic, political, environmental and social implications of Istanbul’s radical urbanization since the early 2000’s. By studying what has become an “urban monster”, Istanbul Planète introduces the reader to how the ruling party AKP functions on the ground, as well as to how a diverse urban population endures, resists, or reinvents a Megacity lifestyle.






“Bir Demet Yasemen” – Turku, Nomads of the Silk Road

Released under a Creative Commons 3.0 license


View of Istanbul by night and from the satellite, Wikimedia commons




#028 – Slavery and servitude in the Ottoman Mediterranean

with M’hamed Oualdi & Hayri Gökşin Özkoray



Joseph taken out of the well by Madianite merchants before getting sold into slavery.  Ḳalender Paşa (compilator), Fālnāme, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Kütüphanesi [TSMK], Hazine, ms. n° 1703 (detail).

The Ottoman Mediterranean represented a space in which slave trade flourished. This phenomenon developed from pre-existing practices toward innovations brought about by a growing connectivity with other world regions and by a changing policy of territorial expansion. In this episode, we discuss the ambiguity between slavery and servitude in the case of the Mamluks of the Tunisian Beylik (18th-19th century). Moreover, we explore the complexity of economic processes, legal interpretations, and geographic routes which impacted the evolution of slave trade from the 16th century until abolition. Lastly, we reflect on chances and problems related to retracing the self and the narratives of those directly involved in the slave trade before and after manumission.


M’hamed Oualdi is an assistant professor at Princeton University (Near Eastern Studies department and History department). He is a historian of Early Modern and Modern North Africa, with a focus on slavery n Ottoman Tunisia and the shift from Ottoman rule to a French colonial domination in North African societies.  His current project deals with slave testimonies in 19th-century North Africa, when European and Ottoman states implemented the abolition of slavery around the Mediterranean.




Hayri Gökşin Özkoray is teaching assistant (ATER) at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and associated member of the Center for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Centraol Asian Studies He has received a Ph.D in History from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris).  Hayri Gökşin has worked on Ottoman captivity narratives in the early-modern Mediterranean and slavery in the Ottoman Empire. He pursues his research endeavours on Ottoman labour history and also is a fan of improvised and creative music.



To cite this episode: Oualdi, M’Hamed; Özkoray, Hayri Gökşin; Guidi, Andreas (2018): Slavery and servitude in the Ottoman Mediterranean. The Southeast Passage #028, 14.05.2018, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/oualdi-ozkoray-slavery-servitude-ottoman-mediterranean


  1. “Chekhlaâni Ya Farch Ennoum”, performed by Falida Khetmi, 1930s recording, BNF Gallica  
  2. “Cheghel Hssine: Malouf”, performed by Ahmed Ellouz, 1930s recording, BNF Gallica 

Further reading:

Ayalon, David: The Mamluk military society. London: Variorum Reprints, 1979.

Brunschvig, Robert: « ʿAbd », Encyclopedia of Islam (second edition). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1960, vol. I, p. 25-41.

D’Ohsson, Mouradgea: Tableau général de l’Empire ottoman, divisé en deux parties, dont l’une comprend la législation mahométane ; l’autre, l’histoire de l’Empire ottoman [1788-1824]. Istanbul: Les Éditions Isis, 2001, 7 vols.

El Hamel, Chouki: Black Marocco: A history of slavery, race and Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Erdem, Y. Hakan: Slavery in the Ottoman Empire and its Demise, 1800-1909. London-New York: Macmillan Press, 1996.

Fynn-Paul, Jeffrey, « Empire, Monotheism and Slavery in the Greater Mediterranean Region from Antiquity to the Early Modern Era », Past and Present CCV, 2009, p. 3-40.

İnalcik, Halil: « Ghulām, IV. Empire ottoman », Encyclopedia of Islam (second edition). Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965, vol. II, p. 1111-1117.

Ismard, Paulin: La Démocratie contre les experts: Les esclaves publics en Grèce ancienne. Paris: Seuil, 2015.

Klein, Martin A.: Slavery and Colonial Rule in French West Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Kunt, İ. Metin: « Ethnic-Regional (Cins) Solidarity in the Seventeenth-Century Ottoman Establishment », International Journal of Middle East Studies V/3, 1974, p. 233-239.

Kunt, İ. Metin: « Kulların Kulları », Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Dergisi. Hümaniter Bilimler – Humanities III, 1975, p. 27-42.

Kunt, İ. Metin: The Sultan’s Servants. The Transformation of Ottoman Provincial Government, 1550-1650, New York, Columbia University Press, 1983 (The Modern Middle East Series 14).

Oualdi, M’hamed: Esclaves et maîtres. Les mamelouks des beys de Tunis du XVIIe siècle aux années 1880, Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 2011.

Oualdi, M’hamed: « Mamluks in Ottoman Tunisia: A Category Connecting State and Social Forces », International Journal of Middle East Studies 48/3, 2016, p. 473-490.

Oualdi, M’hamed: “Slave to Modernity? General Ḥusayn’s journey from Tunis to Tuscany (1830s-1880s).” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 60-1-2 (2017): 50-82.

Özkoray, Hayri Gökşin: « Une culture de la résistance ? Stratégies et moyens d’émancipation des esclaves dans l’Empire ottoman au XVIe siècle », in Hanss, Stefan and Schiel, Juliane (eds.), Mediterranean Slavery Revisited (500–1800) – Neue Perspektiven auf mediterrane Sklaverei (500–1800), Zurich, Chronos Verlag, 2014, p. 403-418.

Özkoray, Hayri Gökşin: « La géographie du commerce des esclaves dans l’Empire ottoman et l’implication des marchands d’Europe occidentale ». Rives méditerranéennes LIII : L’économie de l’esclavage en Méditerranée médiévale et moderne (Armenteros Martinez, Iván and Ourfelli, Mohamed, eds.), 2016, p. 103-121.

Özkoray, Hayri Gökşin:  L’esclavage dans l’Empire ottoman (XVIe-XVIIe siècle). Fondements juridiques, réalités socio-économiques, représentation. Ph.D. Thesis. Paris: EPHE, 2018.

Rinehart, Nicholas T.: « The Man That Was a Thing: Reconsidering Human Commodification in Slavery », Journal of Social History L/1, 2016, p. 28-50.

Sahillioğlu, Halil:  « Slaves in the social and economic life of Bursa in the late 15th and early 16th centuries », Turcica XVII, 1985, p. 43-112.

Toledano, Ehud R.: The Ottoman Slave Trade and its Suppression: 1840-1890, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1982.

Toledano, Ehud R.: « Late Ottoman Concepts of Slavery (1830s-1880s) », Poetics Today XIV/3, 1993, p. 477-506.

Toledano, Ehud R.: Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East, Seattle, University of Washington Press, 1997.

Troutt Powell, Eve M., Tell This in My Memory. Stories of Enslavement from Egypt, Sudan and the Ottoman Empire, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2012.

Zilfi, Madeline C., Women and Slavery in the Late Ottoman Empire. The Design of Difference, New York, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Muhammad al-Sādiq Bāshā Bey of Tunis and some of his mamluks (1860). Ksar al-Sa’id Museum, Tunis 

War captives brought before the tent of a pasha (ca. 1618-1622). Miniature attributed to Naḳşī. Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Kütüphanesi (Istanbul), Hazine, ms. n° 889

#027 – Nationalism, Folk Culture and History in Habsburg Bosnia and Herzegovina

with Dennis Dierks


The first header of the magazine Bosanska Vila, 1885

The process of nation building inside and outside the Balkans is one of the most studied phenomena of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In this episode, we discuss the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina during Habsburg rule (1878-1918) with a particular focus on the activities of Serbian Orthodox actors. The Austro-Hungarian occupation provided a framework of imperial governance that innovated former Ottoman politics of ethno-confessional difference as well as spaces of socialization and communication. At the same time, publicists and scholars put effort in “educating” the lower classes of the population in terms of national belonging, divulgating everyday customs and religious rituals and trying to build the nation as an emotional community. This resulted in the foundation of new, “nationalized” conceptions of history blending what was described as folk culture and modern media such as journals and yearbooks. Serbian bourgeois nationalism claimed to be the only political movement that could overcome confessional fragmentation and form a modern society able to prosper and progress. This idea of “mastering” multiculturalism was also reflected by new interpretations of local and regional history which the protagonists of the national movement tried to popularize.


Dennis Dierks studied History, Slavonic and Oriental studies in Mainz, Dijon and Vienna and earned his PhD at the University of Jena, which he joined in 2011 as a research fellow. His research focuses on cultures of remembrance and contested pasts in former Yugoslavia and Muslim reform movements in Eastern Europe. He is speaker of the Jean Monnet Network for Applied European Contemporary History and member of the Transottomanica project. Since his little daughter began to talk he has discovered completely new dimensions of negotiating power relationships and social interaction. He is still wondering how to integrate these new findings into his research.

To cite this episode: Dierks, Dennis; Guidi, Andreas (2017): Nationalism, folk culture and history in Habsburg Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Southeast Passage #027, 20.11.2017, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/dierks-nationalism-folk-culture-history-habsburg-bosnia-herzegovina


Balkan Tamburitza Recording: “Čudna jada od Mostara grada” (Strange poor girl from Mostar)

Further reading:

Dierks, Dennis (2018): Nationalgeschichte im multikulturellen Raum. Serbische Erinnerungskultur und konkurrierende Geschichtsentwürfe im habsburgischen Bosnien-Herzegowina 1878-1914. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Džaja, Srećko M. (1994): Bosnien-Herzegowina in der österreichisch-ungarischen Epoche (1878 – 1918). Die Intelligentsia zwischen Tradition und Ideologie. München: Oldenbourg.

Gelez, Philippe (2010): Safvet-beg Bašagić (1870 – 1934). Aux racines intellectuelles de la pensée nationale chez les musulmans de Bosnie-Herzégovine. Athènes: École Française d’Athènes.

Grandits, Hannes (2008): Herrschaft und Loyalität in der spätosmanischen Gesellschaft. Das Beispiel der multikonfessionellen Herzegowina. Wien: Böhlau.

Grandits, Hannes; Clayer, Nathalie; Pichler, Robert (2011): Conflicting loyalties in the Balkans. The great powers, the Ottoman Empire and nation-building. London, New York: I.B. Tauris.

Grunert, Heiner (2016): Glauben im Hinterland. Die Serbisch-Orthodoxen in der habsburgischen Herzegowina 1878-1918. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Hajdarpasic, Edin (2015): Whose Bosnia? Nationalism and political imagination in the Balkans, 1840-1914. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 

Herzfeld, Michael (1996): Cultural intimacy. Social poetics in the nation-state. 2nd ed. New York & London: Routledge.

Immig, Nicole (2015): Zwischen Partizipation und Emigration. Muslime in Griechenland 1878-1897. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz.

Okey, Robin (2007): Taming Balkan nationalism. The Habsburg “Civilizing Mission” in Bosnia, 1878 – 1914. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rohdewald, Stefan (2014): Götter der Nationen. Religiöse Erinnerungsfiguren in Serbien, Bulgarien und Makedonien bis 1944. Köln: Böhlau.

Vervaet, Stijn (2013): Centar i periferija u Austro-Ugarskoj. Dinamika izgradnje nacionalnih identiteta u Bosni i Hercegovini od 1878. do 1918. godine na primeru knjizevnih tekstova. Zagreb: Synopsis.


June 1889 Issue of Bosanska Vila. The magazine celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo with the editorial entitled: “The ashes of Kosovo heroes consacrated to Serbs without difference of religion” 

“Saint Sava blessing the Serbian youth” by Uroš Predić (1921). Saint Sava is venerated as the proctetor of churches, families, and schools.

Kurtuluş: The last stop

Gabriel Doyle is a Ph.D. student in History at the Cetobac / EHESS in Paris. His research focuses on the spatial and material implications of diplomatic, missionary and philanthropic activity in late Ottoman Istanbul. His wider interests include global history, urban studies and social anthropology. Born in Paris from Australian parents, he likes to cycle in his hometown thinking about his new travel destination.



[mapsmarker marker=”29″]


“Kurtuluş, SON DURAK !” Kurtuluş, the last stop of a classic Istanbul bus line running through neighbourhoods that ring a bell to most Stambuliots: “Elmadağ, Harbiye, Osmanbey, Feriköy …”. It’s on this bus line that one has the most chance of hearing some Greek, Armenian but also French, all mingled with Turkish, Kurdish, and Arabic. These neighbourhoods remind the urban dweller of a past for which it is easy to feel nostalgia. A past when Muslim, Armenian, and Greek Orthodox inhabitants were supposed to go shopping in the same pickled vegetable store, when they dipped their simit, the delicious sesame bread sold on Istanbul’s streets, in the same çays, the famous Turkish dark tea served in tulip shaped cups. Once called Tatavla, the neighbourhood was a Greek Orthodox dominated area, famous for its carnival and its Ferris wheel. Hidden on top of a hill right behind Taksim, it was severely affected by a fire in 1929. Today, the topographic names recall a different story: Kurtuluş Avenue crosses Ergenekon avenue. Kurtuluş, meaning liberation, is a reference to the War of Independence lead by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk after World War One, which led to the creation of the modern Turkish Republic ın 1923. Ergenekon is the name of a mythical valley, from which, according to dubious narratives of the 1930’s, the first Turks escaped, led by a giant she-wolf.

The end of Kurtuluş Caddesi

These changes date from the first years of the Republic, and give a strong mono-ethnic semantic to Kurtuluş, which has in fact remained one of the most diverse neighbourhoods of Istanbul until today: many Armenians with Turkish citizenship still live on the Kurtuluş Caddesi, and the terminal bus stop faces an Orthodox church. Down a steep and much grubbier street behind the Aya Dimitri church sticks out another Orthodox Church named Panayia Evangestria, which looks abandoned from the outside. Both of them are actually open for mass on Sundays but one might notice how few are the devotees. Because, as the graffiti on one of Kurtuluş’s side streets clearly states, people go away…

“Insanlar gider…” (People go away…)

During the 20th century, the number of Rum (the mostly Greek-speaking Orthodox population of the Ottoman Empire) and Armenian inhabitants of Istanbul continuously decreased. They left because of open oppression from the State, urban violence or just to join family members in foreign lands. Nowadays, Kurtuluş’s historical diversity is updated with “Greek looking” cafés decorated with fake antique columns that seemed more desolate than refreshing.

Panayia Evangestri Rum Kilisesi was built between 1877 and 1893 by the architect Petrakis Mimarikis

The restaurant “Olimpia”

Yet, the area is still materially marked by the politics of memory: walking along the side streets of the main avenue, I noticed graffiti in Armenian writing. Once my Armenian friend Gor kindly helped me translate them, I discovered these graffiti were not the messages I was expecting. One was simply wondering, without any question marks, as if out of desperation: “Where is our home…”. These graffiti cannot be read by most of the current inhabitants of Kurtuluş, but they are messages that are surely not exclusive to the Armenian community still living there.

“Where is our home… ” written in Western Armenian

Today, much like other neighbourhoods of Istanbul, many rural Anatolian immigrants live in Kurtuluş. Most of them originate from the province of Erzincan in Eastern Turkey and settled in search of an improvement of life conditions. On one street corner there is even an association dedicated to the improvement of the Boyalık village, situated in the province of Erzincan, where elder men hang out, play cards and drink çay.

“Erzican İliç Boyalık Köyü Kalkındırma Dernegi”, Association for the improvement of the village of Boyalik, Province of Erzincan

Before reaching this club, I had walked down to the aforementioned Panayia Evangelistra Church, in the neighbouring area of Dolapdere. There I mostly came across African immigrants buying bread and Syrian children playing soccer. Many of the African immigrants actually play in the local football club, heir to one of the oldest sporting associations of the Ottoman Empire, founded by local Greek orthodox athletes in 1896.

The architectural diversity of Kurtuluş

While trying to get access to the run down church, I stumbled on a group of men who were playing a strange looking game. Speaking Kurdish among themselves, they were taking a break from their job, which consists in picking up paper waste around Istanbul in order to recycle it. The game involved a little coin that was thrown on the wall. I was not able to neither decipher nor follow it until the end, as the rusty door of the church suddenly cracked open.

Kurdish-speaking paper waste carriers on a break in Dolapdere

After crossing all these faces of today’s Kurtuluş area, I figured the question I had previously seen written without a question mark, in Armenian, might be appropriate for many other inhabitants of the vicinity. Whether fleeing war, poverty, ethnic hate or refusal of recognition, many locals could relate to such a statement. After that afternoon, the streets around Kurtuluş bus stop appeared to me as the meeting place of derailed tracks, where football and a mysterious game involving a 50 Kuruş coin are temporary exits. The next morning, I gave my dwelling exploration another chance. After watching part of a Turkish television documentary on Kurtuluş, I discovered Madame Despina, Kurtuluş’s last hidden meyhane, a typical Istanbul tavern. Founded in 1946, the place seemed like it had kept the same interior decoration since.

Inside the meyhane Madame Despina

Once I came into the empty restaurant, I was kindly offered a coffee by the current owner, Doğan. I had a long and pleasant conversation with him and Mariana, who works there as a waiter every evening. Doğan told me about the founder of the meyhane, a “kind, proud and people-loving woman”, who is buried in the local Greek Orthodox cemetery. He also told me about his happy childhood in Kurtuluş, and how he always got in trouble for falling in love with the “Rûm girls”. Mariana on the other hand had lived most of her life in Yerevan, Armenia, and had moved to Turkey in the 1990’s after the fall of the USSR. The rest of her family are still in Armenia, except for her daughter who studies in France. When I asked if she occasionally went back, she said she does, but feels “a pain inside” after a few days away from Kurtuluş, her real home. I said goodbye and left in a hurry, promising I would come back one   evening to have a rakı (an anise liqueur), and listen to the live music, feeling lucky I had met these two.

Doğan, the current owner of the meyhane, and Mariana, who works as a waitress there every evening

Many have departed from Kurtuluş and its neighbouring areas in the past century, only leaving tombstones and hidden churches to what was a lively urban area. Some pass through during a greater journey, and others still interrupt their quest and settle, making it a unique neighbourhood of today’s Istanbul.

One cannot thus stick to a specific idealized period and put an expiration date on this neighbourhood’s history. Kurtuluş may be the last stop of the bus line; it’s also an ever-surprising meeting point. In the dazzling metropolis of Istanbul, it remarkably blends history, memory and human movement, with many episodes still to come…


Further reading:

“Another world, Tatavla” – Article published on Agos about a recent exhibition on the history of Kurtuluş

Behar, Cem (2003): A neighborhood in Ottoman Istanbul. Fruit vendors and civil servants in the Kasap İlyas Mahalle. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press..

Büyükkürkciyan, Talin (2009): Feriköy. Anılarda … şimdi. 1. basım. İstanbul: Heyamola Yayınları.

Martin, Cilia (2011): Isimler ve sinirlar. Kurtuluş’ta mekansal kullanimlar (1910-2010). In Toplumsal tarihi (214).

Martin, Cilia (2015): Une réécriture urbaine. La mise en mémoire du quartier de Kurtuluş à Istanbul. In European Journal of Turkish Studies 20.

Morvan, Yoann; Logie, Sinan (2014): Istanbul 2023. Paris: Éditions B2.

Yigit, Ismail (2015): Survival Tactics of Waste Paper Pickers in Istanbul. In Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies 2 (1), pp. 1–14


All photos by Gabriel Doyle, 2017

Masha Gessen: “Where the Jews aren’t”


Agustín Cosovschi is a Ph.D. candidate at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris) and the University of San Martín (Buenos Aires). His interests include Eastern European history and culture, intellectual history and political theory.





Masha Gessen
Where the Jews Aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of BirobidzhanRussia’s Jewish Autonomous Region
New York: Penguin Random House (Nextbook/Schocken), 2016

Drawing from biographies, memories and works of Russian history, the authors reconstructs the history of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast of Birobidzhan,  a far East administrative unit of the Russian Federation. This project, which was originally supposed to offer a socialist alternative to deal with the Jewish national question in the USSR, turned ended up becoming a memorial of Stalinist repression and censorship. Through the history of Birobidzhan, Gessen has managed to show some of the central dilemmas of Jewish identity in modern times and to shed light on an aspect of Soviet history very often overlooked.



“Kallarash Freylekhs” – Recklez, the Harvard Klezmer Band
“Sketches of Freylekhland” – Recklez, the Harvard Klezmer Band

Released under a Creative Commons 3.0 license


#026 – The Making of Orientalism and Turkish Studies in Italy 1861-1911

With Marie Bossaert


Portrait of an old Turk. Photograph by the Italian geographer Lamberto Vannutelli, 1904. (source Società Geografica Italiana)  

In this episode, we discuss the emergence and the development of Oriental and Turkish studies in post-unification Italy. Studying this process requires a reflection on State and nation-building through the construction of the infrastructure necessary for the production and the circulation of a “national” knowledge. A transnational perspective allows to understand the complexity of a discipline in flux, focusing on contacts of Italian scholars with Western European and Ottoman actors. In the framework of a broader Orientalist discourse in 19th and early 20th century Europe, the Italian case shows some peculiarities due to the proximity of pre-unitary Italian and Ottoman history in the Early Modern Mediterranean. Another important factor is Italy’s late but decisive imperialist turn, which resulted into the Italian-Ottoman war of 1911-1912. This event marked the beginning of a decade of conflicts in the region, it mobilized the Orientalists’ competences and irreversibly changed the field of Turkish Studies toward a more general nationalization of the discipline. 


Marie Bossaert is a member of the École Française de Rome. She obtained her Ph.D. in history at the École Pratique des Hautes études (Paris) and the Istituto italiano di Scienze Umane-Scuola normale di Pisa (Florence). She is interested in the political, social and cultural history of the Mediterranean and in Italo-Ottoman/Turkish relationships, which enables her to travel between Rome and Istanbul. She is co-editing a forthcoming issue of the European Journal of Turkish Studies entitled “Transturcology. Towards a transnational history of Turkish Studies (18th c. – 20th c.)”.

To cite this episode: Bossaert, Marie; Guidi, Andreas (2017): The making of Orientalism and Turkish Studies in Italy, 1861-1911 The Southeast Passage #026, 12.10.2017, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/bossaert-making-orientalism-turkish-studies-italy-1861-1911.


“A Tripoli, bel suol d’amore”

This “patriotic” song became popular during the Italo-Ottoman War in 1911 thanks to the interpretation of the singer Gea della Garisenda. Later on, in became associated with the Fascist musical repertoire.

/// ITA

…Al vento africano che Tripoli assal
già squillan le trombe,
la marcia real.
A Tripoli i turchi non regnano più:
già il nostro vessillo issato è lassù…

Tripoli, bel suol d’amore,
ti giunga dolce questa mia canzon!
Sventoli il tricolore
sulle tue torri al rombo del cannon!
Naviga, o corazzata:
benigno è il vento e dolce la stagion.
Tripoli, terra incantata,
sarai italiana al rombo del cannon!

/// ENG

…the trumpets, the Royal March
ring already in the African wind
that attacks Tripoli
In Tripoli, the Turks reign no more
our flag is already waving down there…

Tripoli, beautiful land of love
may this song of mine sweetly reach you
may the tricolore wave
on your towers, as the cannons rumble!
Sail, oh battleship
the wind is gentle, and sweet is the season.
Tripoli, enchanted land
you will be Italian as the cannons rumble!

Further reading:

Bossaert, Marie (2016): Connaître les Turcs et l’Empire ottoman en Italie. Constructions et usages des savoirs sur l’Orient de l’Unité à la guerre italo-turque. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. EPHE, SUM-SNS, Paris, Florence.

Bossaert, Marie; Szurek, Emmanuel (Eds.) (2017): Transturcology. Towards a transnational history of Turkish Studies (18th c. – 20th c.). European Journal of Turkish Studies 24.

Copeaux, Étienne (1997): Espaces et temps de la nation turque. Analyse d’une historiographie nationaliste, 1931 – 1993. Paris: CNRS éditions (Méditerranée).

Dünyada Türk Tarihçiliği (2010). Türkiye Araştırmaları Literatür Dergisi 8 (15).

Georgeon, François (2015): Turcologie. In François Georgeon, Nicolas Vatin, Gilles Veinstein (Eds.): Dictionnaire de l’empire Ottoman. With assistance of Elisabetta Borromeo. Paris: Fayard, pp. 1176–1177.

Irwin, Robert (2007): For lust of knowing. The orientalists and their enemies. London: Penguin Books.

Kapıcı, Özhan (Ed.) (2014): Osmanlı’ya Komşu Dünyada Dil Okulları ve Oryantalizmin Doğusu. Toplumsal tarihi (247).

Messaoudi, Alain (2015): Les arabisants et la France coloniale. Savants, conseillers, médiateurs (1780 – 1930). Lyon: ENS Éditions (Sociétés, espaces, temps).

Porciani, Ilaria (2001): Università e scienza nazionale. Napoli: Jovene (Biblioteca di Unistoria, 3).

Pouillon, François; Vatin, Jean-Claude (2011): Après l’orientalisme. L’orient crée par l’orient. Paris: IISMM-Karthala.

Stouraiti, Anastasia (2004): Costruendo un luogo della memoria. Lepanto. In Matteo Sbalchiero (Ed.): Meditando sull’evento di Lepanto. Odierne interpretazioni e memorie. Venezia: Corbo e Fiore, pp. 33–52.

Szurek, Emmanuel (2014): Les Langues orientales, Jean Deny, les Turks et la Turquie nouvelle. Une histoire croisée de la turcologie française (XIXe-XXe siècles). In Güneş Işıksel, Emmanuel Szurek (Eds.): Turcs et Français. Une histoire culturelle, 1860 – 1960. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes (Collection Histoire), pp. 327–352.

Valensi, Lucette (2008): Mardochée Naggiar. Enquête sur un inconnu. Paris: Stock (Un ordre d’idées).

Zekiyan, Boghos Levon (Ed.) (1990): Gli Armeni in Italia. Associazione Gaudium et Spes; Gli Armeni in Italia. Roma: De Luca Edizioni d’Arte.

A view of the Island of St. Lazarus of the Armenians, in the Venice Lagoon.  The island hosts the Congregation of the Mekhitarists and is until today an important centre for Armenian intellectual heritage (source Wikimedia commons)

Caricature of the Italian turkologist Luigi Bonelli from the journal Albania, 1921.
“At the café Umberto I in Galleria in Naples, prof. BONELLI looking for the Turk”.
Luigi Bonelli was used to wander around the gallery Umberto I, a public shopping galley located in the center of Naples near the harbour, hoping to meet people from the Ottoman empire in order to make conversation and to keep informed about the Empire

Cover of the 1922 printed edition of “Nu turco napulitano”, a vernacular comedy written by Eduardo Scarpetta  in 1888 (source Wikimedia commons)

Antonio de Curtis “Totò” in the movie based on the same pièce, “Un Turco Napoletano” directed in 1953 by Mario Mattoli (source Wikimedia commons)

#025 – Discussing Corruption in Yugoslavia, 1918-2000

with Klaus Buchenau


The building of the Ministry of Justice, Terazije Square, Belgrade (source Wikimedia commons)

Historians can offer a perspective on corruption that goes beyond a normative and simplistic dimension. Approaching past discourses and events related to corruption allows to underline the transformation of its connotation through different periods and different socio-political systems. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918-1941) offers a particularly interesting case study for reflecting on how debates on corruption intersected with the process of state formation, itself consisting of a centralist pattern on the basis of Ottoman and Habsburg imperial legacy. After 1945, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia redefined power and property relations with a clearly different ideological repertoire. However, corruption remained a relevant element for negotiation of power, elite circulation and generational dynamics until its dissolution and beyond.


Klaus Buchenau is Professor of History of Southeast Europe at the University of Regensburg. His main areas of research are the religious history of Southeastern Europe and the history of corruption. He loves interdisciplinarity, but only if it is grounded in a thorough knowledge of the research techniques particular to each discipline; he believes that the most interesting information is usually hidden and does not disclose at first sight.

To cite this episode: Buchenau, Klaus; Guidi, Andreas(2017): Discussing corruption in Yugoslavia, 1918-1990, The Southeast Passage #025, 14.09.2017, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/buchenau-discussing-corruption-yugoslavia-1918-1990


Further Reading:

Aleksić, Vesna (2012): Sprega države i privatnih akcionarskih banaka u Srbiji do Drugog Svetskog Rata. Primer Beogradskog Kreditnog Zavoda a.d. In Bankarstvo 41 (5), pp. 56–73.

Boestfleisch, Hans-Michael (1987): Modernisierungsprobleme und Entwicklungskrisen. Die Auseinandersetzung um die Bürokratie in Serbien 1839 – 1858. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Bogdanović, Dušan; Kovačević-Vučo, Biljana (2011): Zloupotrebljene institucije. Ko je bio ko u Srbiji 1987-2000. Beograd: Biljana Kovačević-Vučo Fund.

Buchenau, Klaus (2013): Korruption im ersten Jugoslawien (1918-1941). Eine Skizze zu Diskurs und Praxis. In Südost-Forschungen (72), pp. 98–132.

Buchenau, Klaus (2018 – forthcoming): Historicizing Corruption. The Example of Serbia (1817-2000). In Klaus Roth, Johannis Zelepos (Eds.): Klientelismus in Südosteuropa. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Bulatović, Aleksandra; Korać, Srđan (2006): Korupcija i razvoj moderne srpske države. Beograd: Centar za menadžment.

Engels, Jens Ivo (2014): Die Geschichte der Korruption. Von der frühen Neuzeit bis ins 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer.

Kulundžić, Zvonimir (1968): Politika i korupcija u kraljevskoj Jugoslaviji. Zagreb: Stvarnost.

Miljkovic, Maja; Hoare, Marko Attila (2005): Crime and the economy under Milosevic and his successors. In Sabrina P. Ramet, Vjeran

Pavlaković (Eds.): Serbia since 1989. Politics and society under Milošević and after. Seattle: University of Washington Press, pp. 192–226.

Minović, Živorad (2008): Politička palanka. Oblici političkog grupašenja u Srbiji 1965-1971. Čačak: Alef trojni.

Mungiu-Pippidi, Alina (2013): Becoming Denmark. Historical designs of corruption control. In Social Research: An International Quarterly 80 (4), pp. 1259–1286.

Šuvaković, Uroš(2011): Korupcija i političke stranke u Kraljevini Srba, Hrvata i Slovenaca. In Nauka, bezbednost, policija 16 (1), pp. 57–68. 


In 1926, the Belgrade newspaper Politika reported widely on a corruption scandal about prime minister Nikola Pašić’s son Radomir and the cabinet crisis that followed, 25.03.1926


An article about debates on corruption within the Communist Party of Yugoslavia from the British newspaper “The Observer”, 09.03.1958 

In 1987, the “Agrokomerc Affair”, involving one of the biggest Yugoslav enterprises, was highly debated in domestic and foreign press. One of his protagonists, Fikret Abdić, is still a very influential political figure in Bosnia and Hercegovina. The Guardian, 14.09.1987



Islam Latinski/Islam Grčki: The absence in the mirror

Andreas Guidi is a Ph.D. candidate at Humboldt University in Berlin and the EHESS in Paris. His research focuses on generations, youth and the transmission of capital in late and post-Ottoman Rhodes. He is the creator and editor of The Southeast Passage.




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Oftentimes, toponyms are more suggestive than the places they denote. Years ago, when I spotted the villages of Islam Latinski (i.e. “Catholic”) and Islam Grčki (i.e. “Orthodox”) on a map of the surroundings of Zadar, an impelling curiosity for such bizarre names hit me and changed my perception of the area I was visiting as a tourist-researcher.

Actually, a voyager exploring Dalmatia is likely to move along the coastal route, attracted like a magnet by the serene splendor of the Riviera, the pristine skyline of the adjacent islands and the gentle warmth of the limestone streets and churches in towns like Zadar, Trogir, and Šibenik. Behind this well-known suggestive scenery, lies the lowlands area called Ravni Kotari, a scarcely inhabited, fertile but not intensively cultivated basin. It’s safe to say that you need a good reason to plan a detour there and leave the seaside behind.

For me, this reason was the effort to make sense of the very existence of the twin Islam villages in a place that I looked at as the proverbial “middle of nowhere”. Here is the account of what I have seen, and not seen, there. The historical intermezzo should not fill with an arbitrary rationale the absence I have perceived. Rather, it should become an ode to the phantomic power of historical names, stranded leftovers that resist even when nobody would claim them.


Islam Latinski

I take a bus from Zadar in the early afternoon. Along the 20 Km of provincial road heading northeast, my view dives into the vastness of the green plain dotted with houses, framed by the Velebit Massive standing like a mighty bare curtain on the horizon, and the heaviness of the exceptionally sullen summer sky.

The plain of Ravni Kotari, with the Velebit Massive and the Novigrad Sea in the background

I get off the bus at a crossroad where the driver does not expect anyone to request a stop, walk down a silent road followed only by dogs barking in the distance, pass the bridge on the brand new looking E71 motorway, and finally arrive at Islam Latinski. Some dozens of houses stand along the main road and some side alleys, a semi-abandoned football pitch and a small supermarket seem to be the only sites of everyday socialization around. Actually, walking further I notice a quite simple church, the gate is open, but the door is shut. The sky is even more grey because of a diffuse haze, someone is burning tyres not far from here.

Football pitch at the entrance of Islam Latinski

St. Nicholas Catholic Church, with bell tower and graveyard

The atmosphere is dull in the village, some residents talk to each other, each in the own garden, where the lawn looks freshly mown. I move on along the main road at a steady pace, exchange rapid looks with car drivers coming from the opposite direction who look at me perplexedly, and a few words with an old lady sitting under a plum tree. The houses are now again more far from each other, some are still unfinished, with brand new doors and windows but bare bricks and lime all over. At the end of the village, a few steps from a Croatian flag waving on top of a 10 meters pole, I find the road sign I was looking for since the beginning. I leave Islam Latinski and enter Islam Grčki.

The “border” between the two villages


Detail from an Austrian map of Northern Dalmatia, 1804. Only one village named “Islan” is visible (Charles University Archives, Prague) 

The two settlements are located at the westernmost portion of land occupied by the Ottoman Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries. The original name was Sadd-i Islam, which can be translated as “the wall of Islam”. This suggestive name shall be contextualized in the setting of the so called Triplex Confinium, the borderland where, throughout the Early Modern Period, the Ottoman Empire the Habsburg Monarchy and the Venetian Republic collided. It was not only an area often affected by pillage and violence for the conquest of land, but also a unique setting for diplomacy, trade, and cultural encounters.

This also favored the rise of local lords who brokered among the powers to offer contingents of soldiers and defense of land. The most important in the case of the Ravni Kotari area is surely Stojan Janković, a Morlach (Dalmatian Vlach) leader who built a fort that still exists today. The Kula Jankovića, property of the Desnica family – to whom important politicians and the 20th century writer Vladan belonged – has been recently restored and hosts cultural events during summer months.

The Kula Jankovića

Contrary to that, today no sign of Ottoman or Muslim presence can be found in the twin Islam villages. No ruined mosques or hammams, no forgotten janissaries tombstones, no fountains or wells. The Orientalist in me is disappointed, the charm of abandoned materiality leaves the stage to surviving etymology. I compensate by thinking that, at least, the name Islam remained as a “neutral” marker that seemed to justify the coexistence of an Orthodox and a Catholic section next to each other. Most of the Slavic and Morlach peasants who came to inhabit this area during and after the Ottoman presence were Orthodox or Catholic, and it seems that they respectively gravitated around the Church of Saint George and Saint Nicholas, some 3 Km away from each other. Interestingly, anyways, the toponym rarely appears in European maps from the 18th and 19th centuries.

St. George Orthodox Church, next to the Kula Jankovića

The thin empty space that separates the two villages seems to reflect on a smaller scale the relevance of successive borders in the region. In fact, after the fall of the Republic of Venice, and with the brief parenthesis of the Illyrian Republic established by Napoleon (1805-1815), the surrounding territory became a Duplex Confinium between Habsburg Dalmatia and Ottoman Bosnia. During the Habsburg occupation, later annexation, of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878-1918), the border disappeared, only to reemerge in 1920 when the Treaty of Rapallo separated the urban area of Zadar, annexed by Italy, from its hinterland. After a particularly violent warfare under Italian and Croatian Fascist occupation in WWII, in 1945 the borderland territory became again unified by Socialist Yugoslavia. However, in the 1990s this western portion of the broader Krajina region was one of the main theatres of massacres, deportations, rape, and destruction in the conflict that followed the collapse of Yugoslavia. In August 1995, the Croatian army broke through the frontline held by the army of the Serbs of Krajina and of Bosnia in the framework of the Operation Storm, an event that has irreversibly changed the human landscape of the villages.

Islam Grčki

As soon as I step into Islam Grčki, this latest chapter of the region’s troubled history comes to my mind more vivid and, at the same time, desolate than ever. In front of me stands a ghost town in ruins. Most houses were burnt in January 1993, and episodes of violence lasting months caused several dozens of victims, while hundreds of residents were forced to flee. As I walk alone through its remains, my thoughts slow down and almost fade out, yielding to the sensibility of the eyes searching for a past still alive. In vain.

Ruined buildings in Islam Grčki


In the 2000s, some efforts were made to facilitate the return of Serbian refugees to their hometowns in Croatia. In 2010 the Croatian President Ivo Josipović visited Islam Grčki and met some of the few returnees, regretting at the same time that harassment and intolerance were still enduring. This reminds us that social pressure originating from everyday contact, and built along ethno-confessional markers, operates on a deeper level than laws and international rapprochement agreements.

Concerning Southeast Europe, the violence in Crete at the end of the 19th century, the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, the Armenian Genocide, the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-1922, the multilateral massacres in Yugoslavia during WWII, the Cyprus crisis during the Cold War, the conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia and Kosovo, all reveal a pattern of neutralization of difference and coexistence that has resulted in forced displacement and ethnic cleansing for the sake of reaching national homogeneity. Yet, there is nothing peculiar and predetermined in this region which enables such modes and degrees of violence in the long term. On the contrary, violence against a collectivity targeted as incompatible with the space it inhabited has broken out in the 20th and 21st century to an even greater extent both in Western Europe and other continents.

Islam Grčki and Islam Latinski, with their burnt or renewed houses shall not be considered the stigmata of an alleged predestination toward violence in the Balkans. However, reflecting on this places’ name or visiting the villages, does not either bring back a past that has vanished. The fascination I feel for abandoned places can do nothing in front of rubbles of grey concrete. The empathy I feel for a half-cancelled painting in an empty religious building can do nothing compared to the names of the former owners of these ruins painted in red. In other words, this is a loss without charm, a loss that cannot be romanticized and processed through a naïve nostalgia.

As I arrive at the limits of Islam Grčki, I turn and walk back along the same road, while a light rain starts to fall. I feel an impelling need for speaking with someone, even a simple “dobar dan” would do. Dogs bark, cars pass by. The woman I met at Islam Latinski is still sitting under the plum tree. She might wonder how and why I ended up here, and smiles at me. A moment of relief. “Doviđenja” – farewell – she utters gently.