[R6412] Reading Practices and Contexts in the Early Ottoman Empire

Created by Oscar Aguirre Mandujano
Monday, 11/29/21 2:00 pm


The circulation and production of knowledge has always been an important question in the fields of Ottoman and Islamic histories. For the formative period of the Ottoman Empire, the focus has been in finding and analyzing the meaning of literary, philosophical, or historical texts. Although the social history of reading remains to be written, the sociability of knowledge and the communal nature of reading practices are evident in the works of Ottoman scholars and in the formation of an Ottoman scribal and scholarly class throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The dynamics of the transmission of knowledge in the madrasah, the library, or through the relation between master and student continues to pose important historical questions: how did books and knowledge circulate and what social contexts made this exchange meaningful? The history of intellectual production, teaching and readership in the Islamic world, even if not exclusively Ottoman, points to learning dynamics that were not necessarily centered on the text themselves so much as they depended on the mediation of other scholars and a shared community of students. Recent scholarship has pointed to these dynamics through the study of manuscripts, marginalia or para-texts, and more recently through the analysis of a conceptualization of knowledge inherent to the library catalogue of the imperial palace. This roundtable brings together scholars who have worked on reading practices in the Ottoman Empire and studied sources that range from literary works, medical treaties, mystical texts, as well as grammars and literary commentaries, in order to discuss the varied forms that the transmission of knowledge took among the Ottomans. This roundtable hopes to call attention to the important place of reading practices and contexts that allowed for the transmission of knowledge beyond, around, and about the text.


Hist; Hist



Cemal Kafadar

(Harvard University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair;

Murat Umut Inan

(University of Toronto)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

A. Tunç Sen

(Columbia University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Oscar Aguirre Mandujano

(University of Pennsylvania)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Aslihan Gurbuzel

(McGill University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Akif Yerlioglu

(Oslo University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;