A Companion to Early Modern Istanbul


This multi-disciplinary volume is the first collective effort to explore Istanbul, capital of the vast polyglot, multiethnic, and multireligious Ottoman empire and home to one of the world’s largest and most diverse urban populations, as an early modern metropolis.

It assembles topics seldom treated together and embraces novel subjects and fresh approaches to older debates. Contributors crisscross the socioeconomic, political, cultural, environmental, and spatial, to examine the myriad human and non-human actors, local and global, that shaped the city into one of the key sites of early modern urbanity.

Contributors are: Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano , Zeynep Altok, Walter G. Andrews, Betül Başaran, Cem Behar, Maurits H. van den Boogert, John J. Curry, Linda T. Darling, Suraiya Faroqhi, Emine Fetvacı, Shirine Hamadeh, Cemal Kafadar, Çiğdem Kafescioğlu, Deniz Karakaş, Leyla Kayhan Elbirlik, B. Harun Küçük, Selim S. Kuru, Karen A. Leal, Gülru Necipoğlu, Christoph K. Neumann, Aslı Niyazioğlu, Amanda Phillips, Marinos Sariyannis, Aleksandar Shopov, Lucienne Thys-Şenocak, Nükhet Varlık, N. Zeynep Yelçe, Gülay Yılmaz, and Zeynep Yürekli.

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Shirine Hamadeh, Ph.D. (1999), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology and the History of Art at Koç University. She works on the architecture and urban culture of early modern Istanbul and is the author of The City’s Pleasures: Istanbul in the Eighteenth Century.

Çiğdem Kafescioğlu, Ph.D. (1996), Harvard University, is Professor in the History Department at Boğaziçi University. She works on the visual, urban, and architectural culture of the early modern Ottoman world and is the author of Constantinopolis/Istanbul: Cultural Encounter, Imperial Vision and the Construction of the Ottoman Capital.
Note on Transliteration
List of Figures and Tables

1 Early Modern Istanbul
Shirine Hamadeh and Çiğdem Kafescioğlu

2 The City Opens Your Eyes Because It Wants to Be Seen
 The Conspicuity and Lure of Early Modern Istanbul
Cemal Kafadar

Part 1: Istanbulites of City and Court

3 Istanbul: A City of Men
Selim S. Kuru

4 Women in the City
Lucienne Thys-Şenocak

5 Elites’ Networks and Mobility
Christoph K. Neumann

6 Palace and City Ceremonials
N. Zeynep Yelçe

7 Courtly Spaces: Visual and Material Culture
Emine Fetvacı

Part 2: Spaces and Landscapes of Production

8 Volatile Urban Landscapes between Mythical Space and Time
Gülru Necipoğlu

9 Merchants and Global Connections
Maurits H. van den Boogert

10 Artisans and Guilds
 Practices, Negotiations, and Conflicts
Suraiya Faroqhi

11 When Istanbul Was a City of Bostāns
 Urban Agriculture and Agriculturists
Aleksandar Shopov

12 Water for the City
 Builders, Technology, and Private Initiative
Deniz Karakaş

Part 3: Everyday Lives and Spaces of Habitation

13 Neighborhood and Family Lives
Leyla Kayhan Elbirlik

14 Communal Matters
Karen A. Leal

15 Crafts and Everyday Consumption
Amanda Phillips

16 Death in Istanbul
 Plagues, Fires, and Other Catastrophes
Nükhet Varlık

17 Crime, Violence, and Urban Policing
Betül Başaran

Part 4: Streets and Publics

18 Sociability, Public Life, and Decorum
Marinos Sariyannis

19 Sufi Spaces and Practices
John J. Curry

20 The Sultan, His Monument, and the Critical Public
Zeynep Yürekli

21 Urban Protests, Rebellions, and Revolts
Gülay Yılmaz

22 The 18th-Century “Istanbul Tale”
 Prose Tales and Beyond
Zeynep Altok

Part 5: Spaces of Thought and Imagination

23 Science and Technology
B. Harun Küçük

24 Music and Musicians in the City
Cem Behar

25 Poets, Sufis, and Their City Tours
Aslı Niyazioğlu

26 The Poetics of Istanbul: The City of Cities
Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano and Walter G. Andrews

27 Istanbul Elites and Political Writing
Linda T. Darling

Select Bibliography
This handbook is aimed at students, teachers and scholars interested in Istanbul, Ottoman and Middle Eastern history, Mediterranean cities, early modern history, and urban studies.
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