Levantines of the Ottoman World: Communities, Identities, and Cultures
The wide geographic expanse of the Ottoman Empire, and length of its political existence, presents historians with the challenge of describing a vast, complex and evolving mosaic of communal formations, many of which were unstable and ambiguously defined. Understanding the relationship of these communities to the formulation of individual subjectivity and self-identity during this period remains an even more difficult historiographic puzzle. Alongside major ethnic, religious and linguistic groupings such as Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Bulgarians, Armenians and Jews, one of the most historically prominent communities of the Empire – and yet, at the same time, among the most amorphous and understudied – are the Levantines. Originating from populations of merchants, diplomats, and other travelers and migrants who settled in the port cities of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires from the lands of Western, Southern, and Central Europe, the Levantines emerged as a multifarious but distinct social grouping with a pivotal role in the history of the Ottoman state. Research into the cosmopolitan world of the Levantines remains inadequate, however, and much remains to be said about their particular modes of living, social interaction, and cultural inheritance.
This book project aims to go beyond the borders of formalistic narratives and to juxtapose a multiplicity of approaches, methodologies, and perspectives in the study of Levantine lives in the Ottoman Empire. We welcome chapters that engage in the current body of scholarship on topics such as Levantine cosmopolitanism, hybridity, marginality, ambiguity, and transnationalism, but we also encourage submissions which critique the centrality of such terminology and theoretical frames in historical scholarship. Ultimately, it is hoped that these chapters will contribute to a deeper understanding of processes of communal and identity-formation in the Ottoman world, and highlight the possibilities of Levantine studies in challenging entrenched disciplinary boundaries.
Proposed chapters might pursue, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- panoramic approaches to Levantine communities or publications
- Levantine families, households, and domestic culture; labor, intimacy and consumption
- Levantine institutions, clubs, schools, and churches, and other social organizations
- Levantine publications, companies, and commercial enterprises; engaging with port-cities studies and the questions of class formation in the Ottoman Mediterranean
- Cosmopolitanism, transnationalism, and internationalism as a Levantine analytic
- Levantine religious spaces and architecture; Levantine life in urban space and traces/hauntings in the built environment of contemporary cities
- Levantine social and cultural interactions with other communities of the Ottoman world; ambiguities, exchanges, passings and crossings
The initial request is an abstract submission which describes the applicant’s interest in the project. These should be between 200-250 words and outline the intended area of investigation and any relationship to the mentioned topics. Those interested should email these with the title in the subject line by the abstract submission deadline of midnight, 15/02/22. Final manuscripts are strongly encouraged to be limited to 10000 words. Articles in English and Turkish are accepted.
Style and Citation Guidelines
Notes should appear as footnotes (not endnotes) and be 12 pt, Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and formatted according to The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition.
Expression of interest deadline: February 15th, 2022 at midnight.
Notification of acceptance: March 4th, 2022.
Manuscript submission deadline: September 30th, 2022.
Revised manuscript submission deadline: February 20th, 2023.
Publication: June 2023.
Erik Blackthorne-O’Barr (Columbia University)
Burhan Çağlar (Sakarya University)