April 26, 2013, 9:00am
Ottoman-Persian Exchanges, 16th-20th Centuries
Presenter: Middle East Center, University of Pennsylvania
Location: Houston Hall, 218 - Ben Franklin Room

 

The Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania is organizing a conference on cultural, social, political, economic, and intellectual exchanges between the Ottoman and Persian empires 16th through 20th centuries, which will be held on Friday, 26 April 2013 at the University of Pennsylvania.  Championing different expressions of Islam and sharing a long and turbulent border, the Ottoman and Persian empires rivaled each other since the rise of the Safavid state in Persia in the 16th century until the fall of Qajars and the Ottoman dynasties at the turn of the 20th century. This regular contact produced rich historical encounters between the two states. 

Traditional historiography had portrayed the Ottoman and Persian histories as a narrative of struggle against European encroachment and attempts at “modernization” that derived inspiration from Europe since the early 19th century. Until recently, such a portrayal had overlooked the rich historical interactions between the two empires, including but not limited to trade, smuggling, pilgrimage (or religious tourism), intellectual exchanges, nomadic border tribes, and expatriate communities that inhabited the Ottoman-Iranian territories. 

The symposium hopes to bring together scholars working on issues at the intersection of Ottoman and Persian relations to shift the focus of the debate to the eastern fault line of Middle Eastern history and to shed light on the historical interactions between the two empires, which governed almost the entire Middle East up until the end of World War I.

Departments of Religious Studies & History