For centuries, people have been documenting their travels with images, which purportedly function as visual evidence for someone’s experience far from home. This was no less the case for Europeans touring through Ottoman lands, who created a whole industry selling pictures from their time abroad. In this episode, Elisabeth Fraser explains how Western European artists at the turn of the eighteenth century began to create a new type of popular media, the illustrated travel volume.
In 1892, the renowned Islamic scholar and educator Shibli Nomani traveled to the Ottoman Empire, where he visited cities in modern-day Turkey, Syria, and Egypt. His travelogue, entitled Safarnāmah-i Rūm o Miṣr o Shām, was published in the Urdu language within his own lifetime. In this episode, the guest speaker is Gregory Maxwell Bruce, the author of an annotated translation of Shibli's travelogue.
What was it like to be a foreigner living in Ottoman Istanbul? In this episode, Robyn Dora Radway answers this question by providing an in-depth look at an unusual type of document: alba amicorum, or friendship albums, which were essentially the social media of the sixteenth century.
What does it mean to wield or possess a certain technology? What are the limits to associational claims to technical expertise or superiority? In this podcast, Daniel Pontillo considers these cultural and social dimensions of technology through a study of the travel narrative Across Asia on a Bicycle, in which two American men set out at in the heat of the late nineteenth-century bicycle craze to use their new technology to tame the rugged Asian geography.
The city of Istanbul underwent vast transformations over nearly five centuries of Ottoman rule, but it nonetheless retained its place at the center of Ottoman urban life. In this episode, Kate Fleet and Ebru Boyar discuss some of the transformations and continuities that shaped the urban history of Istanbul between 1453 and 1923.