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Knowledge Systems and Ottoman-European Encounters: Spatial and Social Dynamics

online, Switzerland
Organisation: Priority Programme Transottomanica
Science, commerce, military, religion and authorities: in all these domains, everyday knowledge was from time immemorial collected and condensed into written knowledge. But content, structure and social relevance of knowledge are always historically contingent. The conference is asking thus for the importance of the Ottoman Empire in a history of European knowledge in the Early Modern Period. We focus on knowledge from or about the Ottoman Empire. We address two broader questions: from a spatial perspective, how can the Ottoman Empire be included into a European history of knowledge? From a social viewpoint: how was knowledge inside or about the Ottoman Empire organized and what kind of social functions can there be distinguished?
Spaces of knowledge. The development of Early Modern science was strongly influenced by (west-)European-Ottoman encounters. But to what degree was the Ottoman Empire an object of European knowledge systems? What contexts and players promoted or impeded the circulation of knowledge between the Ottoman Empire and other regions of Europe, including its Eastern parts? Which channels and forms were used for the communication of knowledge? What was the status of knowledge from or about the Ottoman Empire in European knowledge hierarchies and classification-systems?
Social functions. History of knowledge about the Ottoman Empire has long been focused on a classical history of science, technology and religion. Only recently, there is a shift towards conceptualising knowledge as a fundamental social practice for all kinds of human interaction. We are thus interested in social practices and discourses and their organizing or fragmentizing effects on social relations. What was the social relevance of different kinds of knowledge and which were the places of knowledge-production? Which kind of knowledge was privileged or legitimized by whom and in which contexts?
The Conference will be held on Zoom and is open to everyone interested. To get the Link to the Zoom-Meeting, please send a message to
Time schedule: 14.00 / 12.00 UTC