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Friday Workshop – E. Natalie Rothman “Translating Empire: Ottomans, Venetians, and Dragomans in Early Modern Istanbul”

September 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Tommaso Tarsia, 1681

“This paper explores the dynamics and mechanics of the “translation of empire” as articulated in Venetian-Ottoman diplomatic relations in the seventeenth century. Focusing on dragomans, or diplomatic interpreters who worked in the service of the Venetian consulate in Istanbul, the paper aims to specify the modalities of knowledge production unique to this professional group. Specifically, it seeks to define “the dragomans’ perspective”–a set of distancing mechanisms and claims to intimate knowledge of the Ottomans—as it emerges from the institutional frameworks and social milieus they engaged. By situating their evolving translation practices in relation to dragomans’ biographical and professional trajectories, the paper underscores the role of this trans-imperial cadre in refracting and commensurating Ottoman and Italianate socio-political forms and conceptions of history, and assesses dragomans’ enduring impact on the Ottomanist discourse of a nascent Republic of Letters.”

E. Natalie Rothman is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Toronto, Scarborough. Her articles have appeared in Mediterranean Historical Review, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and she is the author of Brokering Empire: Trans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul (Cornell University Press, 2011).


The Friday Workshops are a series of workshops in an informal setting, designed to give students and faculty opportunities to present works in progress for interdisciplinary critical discussion.


September 21, 2012
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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