The Ottoman Printing Enterprise: Legalization, Agency and Networks, 1831-1863

Ayşe Tek Başaran

29/محرم/1441 02:00 م Salon: ŞAKİR KOCABAŞ SALONU

On September 28th 2019, Center for Turkish Studies will host Ayşe Tek Başaran* under the discussions theses-articles. Başaran will deliver a speech about “The Ottoman Printing Enterprise: Legalization, Agency and Networks, 1831-1863”** based on her thesis.***



“This dissertation focuses on the consolidation of the Ottoman printing enterprise between the establishment of the Directorate of Takvîm-i Vekâyi‘hâne-i Âmire in 1831 and its annexation to the Ministry of Public Education in 1863. It argues that the main agents of the printed medium emerged in this period. These agents and the Ottoman state entered a process of intensive experimentation, competition, and bargaining that paved the way for the formation of a legal framework. Moreover, their interaction with the changing socio-economic context introduced the printed book as a commercialized item in the Ottoman market. In the meantime, what was in origin a foreign technology was internalized, made Ottoman, and rendered meaningful. This study further treats the printed books under two groups: as textbooks prioritized by the Ottoman state for their utility-value and as books introduced by non-state actors with an eye to tastes in the wider book market. In both cases, traditional and religious titles substantially outnumber new titles. This shows that a new technology was in fact utilized for the dissemination of the Ottoman traditional culture, a finding that challenges the narratives of nineteenth-century Ottoman modernization and secularization. Rather than a technological device, the printing press becomes a socio-intellectual tool for various agents bending even the traditional discourse in a new direction; by the 1860s, the press would become such a familiar part of Ottoman society that even those texts considered most sacred would be printed underground, in violation of both political and religious sensitivities.”


* Dr., Assist. Prof., Istanbul Sehir University

**Doktoral Thesis, Bogazici University

*** The speech will be conducted in Turkish.


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