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Interviews with historians about the history of the Ottoman Empire and beyond

Ottoman History Podcast Ottoman History Podcast

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Interviews with historians about the history of the Ottoman Empire and beyond

    The Early Modern Islamic World

    The Early Modern Islamic World

    narrated by Chris Gratien featuring Mohamad Ballan, Joshua White, Zoe Griffith, Aslıhan Gürbüzel, Neelam Khoja, Fahad Bishara, Jeannie Miller, and Maryam Patton | Across the 14th to 17th centuries, significant political transformation occurred in the Islamic world. Muslim al-Andalus was conquered and largely erased by the Christian kingdoms of Iberia, and the Byzantine Empire was absorbed and conquered by the Ottoman Empire. By the beginning of the 17th century, much of the Islamic world was controlled by three major empires, the Ottomans, the Safavids, and the Mughals, who combined a long tradition of Turco-Persian culture and Islamic statecraft with the military organization of post-Mongol societies and new possibilities created by the adoption of firearms. The empires they built laid the foundation for the societies of the modern period. In this episode, we detail the momentous rises and fall that accompanied the early modern period in the Islamic world. Beginning with itinerant scholar-statesmen like Ibn Khaldun, we explore how the Islamic world was changing during the period following the Black Death of the mid-14th century. We cover the gradual erasure of al-Andalus as well as the rise of the Ottomans and their rivalry with the Safavids of Iran. We also detial the life of Babur and the Mughal Empire his descendants built, and we consider the enduring status of the Indian Ocean as a "Muslim lake." We conclude with a reflection on how the intellectual developments of the early modern period built on medieval legacies. « Click for More »

    Islam at a Crossroads in West Africa

    Islam at a Crossroads in West Africa

    narrated by Chris Gratien featuring Wendell Marsh, Rabiat Akande, and Ann McDougall | From the 10th century onward, Islamic polities emerged in West Africa. Centered on the southern edge of the desert, these states built empires that benefited from the brisk Saharan trade. With time, they also built centers of Islamic learning as the wider population of West Africa began to embrace Islam. In this episode, we study what Islam meant for West Africa and what West Africa means for the history of Islam. We trace the evolution of Islamic polities in the region, which were built on the mineral wealth of salt and gold. Like other states of the period, they were also built on slavery and the slave trade. In our discussion, we focus on how the local tradition of Maliki jurisprudence engaged with the question of slavery, especially as the trade became increasingly racialized and global around the turn of the 17th century. « Click for More »

    Life in the Mamluk Sultanate

    Life in the Mamluk Sultanate

    narrated by Chris Gratien featuring Joshua White, Zoe Griffith, Amina Elbendary, and Kristina Richardson | Military slavery was critical to the function of most imperial states in the medieval Islamic world. But in a moment of crisis during the 13th century, the cadre of enslaved military personnel or mamluks employed by the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt overthrew that dynasty, establishing their own sultanate that governed Egypt, Syria, and the Hijaz for more than two centuries. In this episode, we're examining the making of the Mamluk Sultanate and life in its capital of Cairo. We discuss the institutions and structures established in the city of Cairo as displays of power and charity by Mamluk elite, and we consider the role of urban protest and contention between the streets and the citadel as an integral facet of politics in Mamluk cities. We also shed light on the little-studied community of Ghurabā' who lived on the city's margins and engaged in one of the earliest examples of printing in the Islamic world. « Click for More »

    The Mongols and Muslim Societies

    The Mongols and Muslim Societies

    narrated by Chris Gratien featuring Joshua White, Zoe Griffith, Sara Nur Yıldız, and Neelam Khoja | The Mongol conquests of the 13th century were an unprecedented event. Not since the Islamic conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries had such a rapid political rise occurred. For a time, Mongol successor states controlled most of Asia. And though many of these dynasties would not last, the lasting consequences of the Mongol Empire would be many. In this episode, we study the consequences of the Mongol period for the Islamic world, focusing both on the immediate destructive impacts that appear in the Islamic sources from the period as well as the lasting transformations introduced by Mongol rule. Whether in terms of political ideology, law, trade, or culture, the Mongol period represented a significant departure for Muslim societies east of Egypt. In addition to highlighting the impacts of the Mongols in former Seljuk domains of Iran and Anatolia, we discuss the rise of the Timurid dynasty in Khorasan and foreshadow its legacy for South Asia. « Click for More »

    The Crusades in an Islamic Context

    The Crusades in an Islamic Context

    narrated by Chris Gratien featuring Joshua White, Maryam Patton, Zoe Griffith, and Gary Leiser | The Crusades loom large in the Western imagination of medieval history and Christendom's relationship with the Islamic world. But what did these wars of the 11th-13th centuries mean for Muslims at the time? In this episode, we explore the history of the Crusades and their impact on the Islamic world. While the wars of the Crusades were bloody, they were not necessarily the main event of Islamic history beyond the regions bordering the Crusader states. In the Eastern Mediterranean, these states emerged as sites of both conflict and contact between European Christians and Muslims. In our episode, we go beyond the battlefield to discuss the gendered portrayals of the Crusaders within Islamic sources, and we consider the intellectual implications of access to the Islamicate scholarly tradition offered in the Crusader states. We also discuss the history and memory of Salah ad-Din al-Ayyubi or Saladin, whose chivalry and military prowess inspired awe both among Europeans of his day and among Arab nationalists many centuries later during their struggle with Western imperialism. « Click for More »

    Legacies of al-Andalus

    Legacies of al-Andalus

    narrated by Chris Gratien featuring Fahad Bishara, Jeannie Miller, and Mohamad Ballan | During the early 8th century, less than a century after the creation of the first Muslim communities, Islamic armies crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and quickly conquered most of modern-day Spain and Portugal. Muslim life in what became known as "al-Andalus" would last about eight centuries, reshaping the politics, culture, and landscapes of the Iberian Peninsula in numerous ways. In this episode, we're exploring the first centuries of Muslim life in al-Andalus and the legacies not just for Iberia but also for the rest of Europe and the Islamic world. We'll examine the distinctive Andalusi identity that emerged out of centuries of Muslims, Jews, and Christians living under Islamic polities. And we'll also consider the literary impact of Arabic on European culture and consider the historical significant of ecological exchange between the broader Islamic world and Iberia before the momentous date of 1492. « Click for More »

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