#032 – The Mediterranean viewed from the Southern Shore

with Jasmin Daam, Esther Möller, Cyrus Schayegh, and Selim Deringil

a joint release with Ottoman History Podcast

Swimming at the Corniche of Beirut, in the background: the Hôtel Saint-Georges, 1930s. © Fonds photographique René Zuber.

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. We focus on topics such as tourism in the Mandates, spatial transformations in the former Western Arab provinces after the demise of the Ottoman Empire, emigration on sea from the coast of Lebanon, and humanitarianism in Egypt after WWII. Through such diverse perspectives, the episode asks what a focus on the Southern shore might add to our perception of the Mediterranean “liquid continent”.



Jasmin Daam currently works for the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German National Academic Foundation). Her main research interests concern colonial and global history, the history of the modern Middle East and North Africa, and cultural history with a focus on the history of travel and tourism. Having been a research and teaching assistant at the University of Kassel in the field of global history and the history of globalization processes, she has just submitted her Ph.D. dissertation on tourism and the formation of nation-states in the Arab Eastern Mediterranean in the 1920s and 1930s.




Esther Möller is a Visiting professor at the University of the German army in Munich with a focus on the cultural history of North Africa. After her first book on the history of French cultural policy in Lebanon in the first half of the twentieth century, she is now preparing a new book project on the history of humanitarian aid in the Arab world with a focus on Egypt in the second half of the twentieth century. Her research interests include global and transnational history, the history of colonial education, and the history of humanitarianism, human rights and humanitarian law in the Arab world.




Cyrus Schayegh is Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. Before joining the Graduate Institute, he was Associate Professor at Princeton University and Assistant Professor at the American University of Beirut. His latest book The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World (Harvard University Press, 2017) not only presents a history of the modern Middle East, but also suggests a new methodological approach that allows an encompassing analysis of shifting spatial orders in the region of bilad al-sham.




Selim Deringil is Professor of History at the Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. He published numerous books and articles on the cultural and intellectual history of the Ottoman Empire, covering topics ranging from citizenship, the role of religion in the Ottoman Empire, to mobilities in the Mediterranean. His latest publication The Ottoman Twilight in the Arab Lands: Turkish Memoirs and Testimonies of the Great War (Academic Studies Press, 2019) sheds new light on the First World War in the Middle East and renders accessible previously unpublished sources to a wide audience.



To cite this episode: Daam, Jasmin; Möller, Esther; Schayegh, Cyrus; Deringil, Selim; Andreas Guidi (2020): The Mediterranean viewed from the Southern Shore. The Southeast Passage #032, 18.07.2020, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/mediterranean-southern-shore/



Wajdi Abou Diab is a Lebanese pianist and composer who graduated in 2016 from the Lebanese National Conservatory of Music. We received the kind permission to use extracts from his Longa / Sama’i arrangements with piano accompaniment that aim to make an Arab repertoire of classical music available to occidental musicians and a worldwide audience.

Longa Nahawand – Jamil Bek Tanbouri
Longa Nahawand – Marcel Khalifeh
Longa Shahnaz – Adham Afandi
Samai’ Hijazkar – Antoine Zabita



– Questioning the Mediterranean: (Self-)Representations from the Southern Shore in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries – Beirut, 10-12 October 2019 – Conference Program
– Research Network “Modern Mediterranean: Dynamics of a World region 1800|2000” led by Manuel Borutta and funded by the DFG-German Research Foundation
– Wajdi Abou Diab’s Youtube Channel


Further reading:

al-Azmeh, Aziz, ‘The Mediterranean and Islam’, Approches historiographiques et perspectives de recherche, 2012, 58-71.

al-Kharrat, Edouard; Afifi, Mohamed, La Méditerranée égyptienne (Paris : Maisonneuve et Larose, 2000).

Bourguet, Marie-Noëlle, L’ invention scientifique de la Méditerranée: Égypte, Morée, Algérie (Paris: Éd. de l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, 1998).

Burke III, Edmund, ‘Toward a Comparative History of the Modern Mediterranean, 1750-1919’, Journal of World History, 23/4 (2012), 907–39.

Horden, Peregrine, and Purcell, Nicholas, ‘The Mediterranean and “the New Thalassology”’, The American Historical Review, 111/3 (2006), 722–40.

Khalidi, Rashid, ‘The “Middle East” as a Framework of Analysis: Re-mapping a Region in the Era of Globalization’, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 18/1 (1998), 74¬–80.

Khater, Akram, Inventing home: Emigration, gender, and the middle class in Lebanon, 1870-1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011).

Khoury, Elias; Beydun, Ahmad, La Méditerranée libanaise (Paris : Maisonneuve et Larose, 2000).

Khuri-Makdisi, Ilham, The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013).

Schayegh, Cyrus, The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2017).

Tamari, Salim, ‘The Mountain against the Sea? Cultural Wars of the Eastern Mediterranean’, in Salim Tamari, Mountain Against the Sea. Essays on Palestinian Society and Culture (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009), 22–35.

Tucker, Judith E. (ed.), The Making of the Modern Mediterranean: Views from the South, University of California Press 2019.

Wick, Alexis, The Red Sea: In Search of Lost Space, University of California Press, 2016.


Aley postcard Mediterranean

Postcard of Aley, a village on Mount Lebanon, 1920s. © Fouad Debbas Collection, Album Sarrafian No.5 – 8596.


#031 – History and memory of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki

with Leon Saltiel

Transport of Jews from the Ghetto in the Eastern part of Thessaloniki to the Baron Hirsch transit camp, via Egnatia street, April 9, 1943. The Jews can be seen in between two columns of onlookers who were watching the scene. The photo was taken from a balcony, where one can also see the father and sister of the photographer. (Archive of the Jewish Museum of 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.



Leon Saltiel holds a PhD in Contemporary Greek History from the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki and has received post-doctoral fellowships at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His publications include The Holocaust in Thessaloniki: Reactions to the Anti-Jewish Persecution, 1942–1943 (Routledge 2020) and ‘Do Not Forget Me’: Three Jewish Mothers Write to their Sons from the Ghetto of Thessaloniki (Alexandria 2018). Leon has more than 15 years’ experience working on human rights issues around the world, the majority of which was working with the United Nations in Geneva.

Photo Credit: Shahar Azran


To cite this episode: Leon Saltiel, Andreas Guidi (2020): History and Memory of the Holocaust in Thessaloniki. The Southeast Passage #031, 18.06.2020, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/saltiel-thessaloniki-holocaust/


Stella Haskil: Nichtose horis fengari (A moonless night fell)

Stella Haskil was a Jewish singer born in Thessaloniki in 1918. Already popular before WWII, she continued to perform songs in Greek and Ladino, including famous Rembetika, during the occupation, using her first name only. She survived the Holocaust and her most successful songs were recorded just after the war.

The introductory quotation is read by Gabriel Doyle.

Further reading:

Antoniou, Giorgios and A. Dirk Moses, eds., The Holocaust in Greece (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Bowman, Steven ed., The Holocaust in Salonika: Eyewitness Accounts (Bloch Publishing Co., 2002)

Fleming, Katherine E. Greece: A Jewish History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010)

Mazower, Mark Salonica City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430–1950 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005) )

Molho, Michael and Joseph Nehama, In memoriam: hommage aux victimes juives des Nazis en Grèce (Thessaloniki, 1948–1953)

Naar, Devin E., Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016)

Nehama, Joseph Histoire des Israélites de Salonique (Thessaloniki: Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, 1978)

Pierron, Bernard, Juifs et chrétiens de la Grèce moderne (Paris: Editions l’Harmattan, 1996)

Stein, Sarah A., Family Papers: A Sephardic Journey through the Twentieth Century (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)


In Greek:

Antoniou, Giorgios, Stratos Dordanas, Nikos Zaikos, Nikos Marantzidis, ed., To Olokavtoma sta Valkania (Epikentro, Thessaloniki 2011)

Saltiel, Leon, ed., Min me Xehasete: Treis Evraies miteres grafoun stous gious tous apo to gketo tis Thessalonikis (Alexandreia, Athina 2018)

Yacoel, Yomtov Apomnimonevmata 1941-1943 (Paratiritis, Thessaloniki 1993)



Scene from the gathering of 8,500 Jewish men in Liberty Square to register for forced labor, Thessaloniki, July 11, 1942. (Bundesarchiv)


Article entitled “The Persecution of the Jews,” published in Megali Ellas [Great Greece], March 1943. It describes the deportation of the Jews of France.



#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)