This joint series of lectures organized by Evangelia Balta (Programme of Ottoman Studies, National Hellenic Research Foundation, Athens) and Richard Wittmann (Orient-Institut Istanbul), to be held at the Sismanoglio Megaro during the October 2015 – May 2016 academic year, aims at shedding light on various aspects of the communal past of today’s residents of the Eastern Mediterannean region. This series of lectures is consistent with the research interests of the Orient-Institut Istanbul and the Programme of Ottoman Studies at the National Hellenic Research Foundation. It focuses on a large number of sources that go beyond the standard rules of established history-writing. By taking into account personal and official textual sources, as well as visual and artistic forms of expression, an attempt will be made to throw light on the rifts and continuities that accompanied the profound political reshuffling in this wide – and for centuries, unified – geographical area during the first third of the twentieth century. Indeed, the consequences and impact of the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire continue to be felt even today.
The lectures introduce the work of international researchers from different academic disciplines who study the rich ethnic and cultural diversity of the Eastern Mediterranean region. The lectures discuss how the memory of an Ottoman past is portrayed in an enormously wide range of sources. In addition to drawing on the personal testimonies of the inhabitants and on local literature, the speakers also illustrate how this memory has been expressed in popular music, film, photography and, last but not least, in food. More >