Knowledge, Exchange, Encounter: Europe and the Ottoman Empire, 1453-1718

An interdisciplinary conference convened by Simon Mills (CRASSH), Scott Mandelbrote (Peterhouse) & Kate Fleet (Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies, Newnham College) with the support of CRASSH, University of Cambridge. Two minute video introduction on YouTube here.

8-9 July 2013 at CRASSH
The aim of this conference is to further our understanding of the ways in which knowledge was exchanged between Europe and the Ottoman Empire during the period from the conquest of Constantinople to the Treaty of Passarowitz. The conference, and the resulting collection of essays, will make an important contribution to the growing body of research concerned with the transfer of information between European and Ottoman societies in the early modern period which has emerged to challenge the long-held assumption that these societies developed along separate, and largely isolated, intellectual trajectories.

One key objective of the conference is to cover a broad disciplinary field. The six panels will focus on different kinds of knowledge, broadly construed to cover both a number of fields of intellectual enquiry – botany, geography, and antiquarianism – and a number of practical disciplines: architecture, health, military technology, and economics. The conference will also engage substantially with questions concerning the mechanics of cross-cultural exchange: how, where, and by whom was theoretical knowledge and practical information conveyed between Europe and the Ottoman world? In order to answer these questions, the three panels on the second day will investigate broader concerns such as the ‘culture of collecting’ in its European and Ottoman contexts and the functioning of ‘knowledge networks’. Significant attention will also be devoted to the relations between intellectual exchange and the diplomatic, mercantile, and religious infrastructures which connected Europe and the Ottoman Empire during the period.

A second key objective is to ensure that both the Ottoman and the European sides of these questions are equally addressed. In order to work against the grain of long-established disciplinary boundaries, each panel will combine a specialist in Ottoman history with a specialist in European history. This will ensure that the presentations, and the planned publication, draw on a range of sources rarely accessible to an individual scholar. Participants will include a number of historians who have been at the forefront of developing new approaches to delineating the workings of cross-cultural exchange in the early modern period. This will be complemented by the work of well-established scholars in various fields of Ottoman and European history. The conference is jointly organised by Kate Fleet (Newton Trust Lecturer in Ottoman History and Director of the Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies, Cambridge), Scott Mandelbrote (Director of Studies in History and Perne Librarian, Peterhouse College, Cambridge), and Simon Mills (Mellon/Newton Postdoctoral Research Fellow, CRASSH, Cambridge.

Speakers include: 
Doris Behrens-Abouseif (SOAS)
Ebru Boyar (METU)
Sonja Brentjes (MPIWG) 
Kate Fleet (Cambridge)
John-Paul Ghobrial (Oxford)
Carmelina Gugliuzzo (Messina)
Feza Günergun (Istanbul)
Gottfried Hagen (Michigan)
Peregrine Horden (Royal Holloway)
Deborah Howard (Cambridge)
Colin Imber (Manchester)
Scott Mandelbrote, Simon Mills (Cambridge)
Andrei Pippidi (Bucharest).

Full details and online registration.