HIST 625 Topics in Ottoman Cultural History
Topics in Ottoman Cultural History been treated mostly in terms of segmented and isolated fields, giving rise to separate "histories" of architecture, miniature painting, the other decorative arts, music and literature. Furthermore, its relationship with the Imperial court has been narrowly and superficially conceived, so that it has frequently been reduced to a mere "reflection" of the political and military fortunes of the state or the ruling house, and simultaneously divorced from the material and cultural conditions of production, the entire habitus, of a court society. Against this historiographical background, and through an ongoing critique of the prevailing modes of interpretation (including documentary, formalist retrospective-ideological, or connoisseurial approaches, as well as more up-to-date methodologies focusing on reception theory, the social foundations of art, or identity issues within art), HIST 625 will be exploring the possible avenues of "total history" in this regard, seeking to address questions of "Ottomanization", "social, political and cultural fluidity", "legitimate change", "barriers between various classes of official Ottoman society", "erosion of corporate distinction", or "cultural experimentations", and encouraging students to investigate the ways in which configurations of power and legitimation (in all their change and continuity) were both expressed by and constructed through artand culture at various times. Counts towards fulfilling the seminar requirement in History subject to the completion of a major research paper (of around 30 pages) largely based on primary source materials. For the possibility of being taken as an upper undergraduate lecture course, with adjusted readings and requirements, see HIST 425. Prerequisite : An adequate command of Ottoman Turkish, through TLL 501-502 or the equivalent, and subject to the instructor's approval.