History Department
History Department

Lecture: "Studying the History of Istanbul Through Violence"

Fri, April 15, 2011 | Texas Union, Sinclair Suite 3.128

3:00 PM

Associate Professsor of History Fariba Zarinebaf at the University of California, Riverside, will present a lecture titled "Studying the History of Istanbul Through Violence."

This vividly detailed revisionist history exposes the underworld of the largest metropolis of the early modern Mediterranean and through it the entire fabric of a complex, multicultural society.

Zarinebaf maps the history of crime and punishment in Istanbul over more than one hundred years, considering transgressions such as riots, prostitution, theft, and murder and at the same time tracing how the state controlled and punished its unruly population.

Taking us through the city's streets, workshops, and houses, she gives voice to ordinary people—the man accused of stealing, the woman accused of prostitution, and the vagabond expelled from the city. She finds that Istanbul in this period remains mischaracterized—in part by the sensational and exotic accounts of European travelers who portrayed it as the embodiment of Ottoman decline, rife with decadence, sin, and disease.

Linking the history of crime and punishment to the dramatic political, economic, and social transformations that occurred in the eighteenth century, Zarinebaf finds in fact that Istanbul had much more in common with other emerging modern cities in Europe, and even in America.

Zarinebaf is the co-author, with J.L. Davis and J. Bennett, of An Historical and Economic Geography of Ottoman Greece: Southwest Morea in the Eighteenth Century.

Sponsored by: History Dept., Center of Middle Eastern Studies

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