The research group “Ottoman Europe: Methods and Perspectives of Early Modern Studies on Southeast Europe” (http://www.osmanisches‐europa.de) is an open association of scholars from various historical sub‐disciplines. Its primary aim is to foster cross‐disciplinary exchange between the various strands of research on early modern Southeast Europe, both among the different regional traditions and within the overarching field of early modern studies increasingly moving away from its Western European focus. Studying the region from different angles implies to overcome the privileged view on the imperial center and to attend more to the provinces of the empire as well as to the permeable border regions – from the Crimean Khanate to Dalmatia, from Hungary to Crete – and to the exchange with neighboring regions of (Eastern) Europe and the Mediterranean. “Ottoman Europe” as a regional‐cum‐temporal concept denotes roughly the area of Ottoman dominance or influence which is yet to be discovered by mainstream‐research on European history and will potentially change some of its foundational narratives. For the 15th installment of the Ottoman Europe workshop/conference series we launch the following call for papers:
Research on pre‐modern Southeast Europe is often challenged by the nature and availability of sources, i.e. their limited number or uneven distribution, combined with an often‐elusive style, precarious state or unsystematic preservation. This conference proposes to address such source‐induced limitations of research through a reversal of perspective: It will explore practices, strategies, and fields of recording, gathering and organizing information in Ottoman Europe from the 15th to the early 19th century in order to launch a comparative discussion about how central sources of the early modern period came to be in the first place.
Recording and record keeping are cultural techniques encompassing a wide range of practices and strategies of garnering, ingesting and processing information that can be performed habitually or with a deliberate documentary aim, through different media and on different sites. As examples one may think of property lists, book catalogues, tax registers, inventories of belongings, compendia of laws, collections of judicial decisions, charts or decrees, waqf registers, intelligence reports but also recipe collections, popular songs or poetry, medical manuals, dictionaries, diaries, etc. Beyond the realm of writing, one could also consider “visual inventories,” such as maps, or “oral repositories” produced by the memory‐based knowledge of storytellers and singers in the largely oral communities of pre‐modern Southeast Europe.
Bringing traditional scholarship on these materials into dialogue with recent research on archives, documentary practices, scribal cultures and administration (see a selection of references below), the conference intends to explore a range of scholarly approaches to procedures of recording and record‐keeping. Taking advantage of the inherently comparative notion of Ottoman Europe in its geographical and temporal mutability, the proposed topic offers an opportunity to discuss assumptions of different “cultures of recording,” evolving along or crossing confessional, political or professional lines until the early 19th century.
We invite researchers from all disciplines to engage in a – still missing – comparative and systematic discussion of fundamental source types through the prism of their formative condition, in other words, to combine source criticism with the history of knowledge. In
accordance with the three notions in the conference title, we welcome papers focusing on
a) practices of recording, note taking and documenting,
b) materializations of garnering and pooling information into larger collections, or
c) purposes and uses of keeping and preserving records.
The conference will take place on September 18–19, 2023, at the Institute for Habsburg and Balkan Studies of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Participants are expected to give 25‐minute presentations. Proposals should include a provisional title and abstract (200–300 words), and be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 15, 2022.
Confirmation of acceptance of papers will be sent by mid‐January 2023.