Call for papers: Rethinking Late Ottoman Civilization Symposium (March 24-25, 2017)


University of Texas at Austin
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Keynote Speaker: Suraiya Faroqhi
Program Committee: Samy Ayoub, Jeannette Okur, and Firdevs Canbaz Yumuşak

The Ottomans encountered the word civilization in the early 19th century, and the Ottoman version of this word, medeniyet, was coined thereafter. Both ‘civilization’ and ‘empire’ refer to comprehensive manifestations of power, culture, and ideas. This symposium will explore the artifacts of Ottoman modernization and intellectual history, and encourage careful examination of the late Ottoman discourse on “civilization”. As is well known, many Ottoman intellectuals, in their conceptualization of civilization, aimed to reconcile the material achievements of European civilization with Ottoman-Islamic morality and aesthetics. Even so, historiographies in the post-Ottoman sovereign states have often equated modernization with de-Ottomanization, a notion which excludes the Ottoman period as a legitimate setting for the study of modernity. This symposium encourages new scholarship that will further legitimize the study of Ottomans’ engagement with modernity’s social, political, economic and aesthetic implications.

We invite advanced graduate students and established scholars to submit paper proposals for this two-day interdisciplinary symposium to be held at the University of Texas at Austin on 24-25 March, 2017. We will welcome papers from the disciplines of history, law, literature, architecture, art, and music. We especially encourage papers on the following subtopics:

Possible subtopics include (but are not limited to):
• Daily Life in the Empire
• Justice
• Aesthetics of Love (Aşk)
• Family
• Politics
• Minority Communities
• Trade and the Economy

Potential participants should submit an abstract (up to 250 words) and a brief curriculum vita by October 31, 2016. Please include the words “Late Ottoman Civilization Symposium” in the subject line. Also, please provide your institutional affiliation, as well as a mailing address and telephone number where you may be reached. Funding for lodging and meals may be available for participants.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance by November 14, 2016 and completed papers from accepted applicants will be due for pre-circulation on March 1, 2017. Please send all submission materials to

For further information, please contact: Dr. Samy Ayoub at

Jeannette Okur
Samy Ayoub
Firdevs Canbaz Yumuşak

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