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Going Far – Staying Near

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Mobility and Knowledge in Ottoman Eurasia (Busbecq, Lorck, Happel, Speer)

image of Daphnis

For some time, the interaction between the Ottoman and German Empires has been narrated as a “clash of civilizations”. This was centered on the conviction that early modern Christian Europe and the Islamic Ottoman Empire faced each other across an insurmountable cultural and religious divide, an enmity calmed only briefly by cease-fires or short term peace treaties. During these times of Waffenruhe, the opposing powers engaged in a multifaceted cultural conversation carried out in chapbooks, sermons, broadsheets, woodcuts, novels, histories, and newsprint. The image of the Turk that emerged was complicated, and constantly in motion. Merchants, soldiers, sailors, captives, and slaves populate contemporary narratives. The distance covered by these mobile members of otherwise rather sedentary societies and cultures is commensurate with the diversity of experiences and contacts, many of them providing the stuff of news eagerly consumed back home.

Affiliations: 1: Washington University in St. Louis, Vereinigte Staaten,


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