German Expatriates in Late Ottoman Istanbul Mon, 2016-08-22 18:06

Ottoman-German relations have usually been studied in the context of great-power politics, imperialism both hard and soft, or the military and economic spheres. In this podcast Philipp Wirtz presents some initial findings of a larger research project focusing on personal networks and experiences of Germans residing in the late Ottoman Empire and early Turkish Republic and two German expatriates in particular: the journalist Friedrich Schrader and the academic Martin Hartmann. As theatre-goers, buyers of books and writers of literary reviews, both took an active part in the cultural life of the Ottoman capital in the years following the Young Turk Revolution.  Using their local knowledge and fluency in Ottoman Turkish, both were able to gain unique insights at odds with the popular portrayal of Ottoman affairs in the western media. On the other hand, neither of these authors was immune to the biases of their times, constantly questioning the extent to which Ottoman literary expression, and in particular the emerging “Turkish national literature” were “original” or “civilised.

Philipp Wirtz studied the history, languages and cultures of Europe and the Middle East in Frankfurt am Main, Bamberg and London, with research trips taking him to Iran and Turkey in between. He received his PhD from SOAS, University of London, in 2013 for a dissertation that analysed the ways in which the ‘lost world’ of the Ottoman Empire was presented in Turkish autobiographies of the 20th century. He currently is a Teaching Fellow in Middle East History at the Department of History, University of Warwick, and Senior Teaching Fellow at SOAS.

Find the podcast on the Ottoman History Website:

Hosted, produced and edited by Taylan Güngör.