Interviews with historians about the history of the Ottoman Empire and beyond
The Circassian Diaspora
with Şölen Şanlı Vasquez hosted by Brittany White | Over the course its final decades, millions of Muslim immigrants, many of them refugees of war and Russian conquest, settled in the Ottoman Empire. Between a quarter and a third of people in Turkey today have ancestors who arrived with those migrations. Yet their history often stops short of capturing the personal experiences of such people, what was erased, and what they have sought to preserve. In this episode, we speak with sociologist Şölen Şanlı Vasquez about how to write a more empathetic history of migration in Turkey through the lens of the Circassian diaspora. For her, this history is not just the story of how people from the North Caucasus were expelled from one empire and settled in an another. It is also a personal story about continuity, rupture, and recovery within the families of immigrants across generations and continents. Through a conversation about her ongoing research project called "The Home Within," we explore the themes of family, gender, ethnicity, race, and erasure --- not only in Turkey --- but across contexts of migration and displacement in the US and elsewhere. And we also reflect on the importance of public history that makes these issues relevant and relatable to a wider audience. « Click for More »
Rewriting the Black Death
with Monica Green hosted by Chris Gratien | For years, the historiography of the 14th-century Black Death produced more questions than answers. Then, roughly a decade ago, genomic research confirmed that the medieval Black Death was caused by the same bacteria, Yersinia pestis, which causes the modern bubonic plague. This settled the burning question of precisely which disease had caused the pandemic that produced colossal mortality in many parts of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. In this episode, we speak to Monica H. Green, whose recent work has raised new questions about the Black Death by showing that the chronology of the Black Death was incomplete. As she explains, prior outbreaks of plague in 13th-century Asia occurred at the edges of the ascendant Mongol Empire, roughly a century before the plague arrived in Western Europe. In our conversation, we learn how Green uncovered the new story of the "four Black Deaths" and in doing so, explore the historiography of the Black Death and how genetics, archaeology, and a fresh approach to textual sources have brought us to a deeper understand of one of history's deadliest pandemics. « Click for More »
The Origins of Ottoman History
with Rudi Lindner hosted by Joshua White & Maryam Patton | Among the most murky periods of the Ottoman dynasty's six-century history is the period of its very emergence in medieval Anatolia. In this episode, we talk to Rudi Lindner about his attempts to understand this early period of Ottoman history and the development of hypotheses and methods concerning the investigation of Ottoman origins over the past century of scholarship. We also reflect on what decades of research and teaching have taught Lindner about sources for history and the questions they require us to ask. « Click for More »
The Politics of Mass Violence
with Laura Robson hosted by Sam Dolbee and Deren Ertaş | Depictions of the Middle East as a space of timeless violence pervade media, popular culture, and scholarship. In The Politics of Mass Violence in the Middle East, Laura Robson offers a rejoinder to such misconceptions while providing a historical explanation of these distinctly modern forms of violence in greater Syria and Iraq, also known as the Mashriq. In this episode, we discuss how a new kind of territoriality in the late nineteenth century combined with imperialist interventions to transform violence into a way of making political claims through the twentieth century and up to the present across the region. We additionally talk about historical research and writing more generally, and how Robson’s past as a trained pianist has shaped her work. « Click for More »
The Many Lives of Waqf in Beirut
with Nada Moumtaz hosted by Susanna Ferguson | The waqf, often translated as "endowment," is a critical player in the story of urban landscapes, charitable giving, property management, and religion in the Islamic world. But what is a waqf? In this episode, Nada Moumtaz uncovers the many lives of waqf in the city of Beirut, from Ottoman times until the present. We talk about waqfs as buildings, processes, acts, and investments. We see how the story of waqf illuminates central features of the modern state while blurring boundaries between family life and public life, religion and business, charity and investment, past and future, and human and divine. « Click for More »
Layers of History in Downtown Beirut
with Rayya Haddad | The modern history of Beirut has been defined by periods of intense construction, destruction, and reconstruction. In this episode, we explore the layers of history in Beirut's cityscape through a walking tour with Rayya Haddad. We chart Beirut's transformation from its rise as a late Ottoman capital through the expansion of the port during the French Mandate period, its golden age as a commercial center in independent Lebanon during the 1950s and 60s, the long civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990, and the postwar reconstruction carried out by the company Solidere. We also explore the history of Beit Beirut, a unqiue building designed by Youssef Aftimus--Beirut's foremost architect of the late Ottoman and French Mandate period--from its Mediterranean revivalist origins to its redesign as a sniper's haven during the war, ending with its rescue and renovation by activists in recent decades. We conclude with some thoughts on what this layered history of the city means for the new layer of destruction and reconstruction created by the port explosion during August 2020. « Click for More »
Thought-provoking interviews with top scholars have helped this American look at history a little differently. Comprehensive website too.
Best podcast ever
I’ve been listening to the Ottoman History Podcast since about its inception nearly a decade ago. It’s got better in terms of its production and widening of hosts and topics - it’s pretty much the only podcast I listen to (with a few exceptions) and am always happy and mentally stimulated thereafter.
Informative and fun
I’ve enjoyed all podcasts I’ve listened thus far. Thank you for the content as well as bringing the personalities into the works of some of the most amazing scholars oh Ottoman history.