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Aymes, Marc

Permanent Research Fellow, Centre d'Etudes Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et
National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

I have been conducting research and teaching in Cyprus, Greece, France, Germany, Turkey and the United States. A research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris since 2008, I am also an associate member of the Groupe d’études turques et ottomanes (Université du Québec à Montréal). I currently serve as an editor for the journal Labyrinthe. Atelier interdisciplinaire and the European Journal of Turkish Studies. My work aims to approach the history of the modern Eastern Mediterranean world with a twofold concern in mind: what if this field of study were to turn into a provincial area? And to what extent could it be better understood if placed under the fake’s spell? The provincial turn stems from the difficult congruence between two repertoires of observation and explanation: on the one hand, the overarching schemes of taken-for-global processes (e.g., bureaucratic standardization, imperialist seizure, national or confessional upsurge); on the other, the irreducible singularity of “local knowledge” (be it understood as a trait of government, a social competence or a dialectal accent). Provincializing the history of the Eastern Mediterranean world thus aims to steer clear of paradigmatic dichotomies (such as center vs. periphery), so as to better grasp the non congruent fluxes intertwined within its shifting geometry. In so doing, this conundrum of “the province” may help us engage in a critical history of the projects of modernity that took place in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman worlds. Thereby hangs a tale in which the document—both text and deed—plays a leading part. Indeed, what crucially constitutes the provincial prism is a conglomeration of reading and writing effects. It coalesces around lettering (and what strikes it through), knowing (and what leads it astray), authorizing (and what knocks it out). Halfway between prosaic routine and poetic spillover, there stands the archival configuration of the provincial area. There, too, enters the fake. The many documents that circulate throughout the Ottoman province, while striving to act out the reification of authorized properties, remain subject to the haunting of their falsifiability. Forgeries inject unsettling currencies into the value system of “context,” thus marring the latter’s propriety. Lurking about in the archives’ safe depot, they put our interpretation methods and categories to the test, by feeding us artifacts that challenge the transparency of our data-collection procedures. Where there is a forger, there is a critic.

19th-21st Centuries   
Turkish Studies   
Ottoman Studies   
Middle East/Near East Studies   
Mediterranean Countries   
Ottoman Empire   
Provincial Hist of the Ottoman Emp   
Admin, Langs, & Social Rltns   
Fakes and Forgeries   
Osmanli (Advanced)   
Arabic (Elementary)   
French (Native)   
German (Intermediate)   
Greek (Intermediate)   
Turkish (Fluent)   
English (Fluent)   
PhD2005HistAix-Marseille 1 U
BA2005Turkish StudiesINALCO, Paris
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Marc Aymes

190-198 avenue de France
75244 PARIS Cedex 13

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