Ottoman History Podcast

Frédéric Gadmer, Bedouin women weaving, Musee Albert Kahn

A bunch of smart PhD students at Georgetown run an excellent site called the Ottoman History Podcast. It goes way back before our time: the empire was founded as a frontier principality around Bursa in western Anatolia as far back as the fourteenth century. But it lasted until the twentieth, and for anyone who wants to understand what ‘modern and contemporary history’ means when you don’t just assume it’s something that happened between London and Berlin until it started happening between New York and Moscow, it’s one of the first places you should look. (That’s why we ran a round table on it last term.) The Ottoman History Podcast has plenty of episodes on the later history of the empire, including this one on the nineteenth-century transformation of the capital, Constantinople.

The site has plenty of other resources, too, including bibliographies and an excellent image collection that hosts pictures from many collections, including the Library of Congress—and the Musée Albert Kahn, where the amazing photo above comes from. (I’ll be writing a post about that museum before too long: they gave me the cover image for my book, too.) Bedouin women weaving in front of mud-built beehive houses in the desert near Aleppo may not look very modern or contemporary; until you realize that there’s a Frenchman standing in front of them with a camera, taking colour photos.

But to finish with, here’s a cartoon, taken not from the Ottoman History Podcast but from the New Yorker. You’ll find a copy of it pinned on the office door of most historians who work on the empire…

Lee Lorenz, Ottoman Empire cartoon, New Yorker

(Click image for source)


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