Locating an Ottoman Port-City in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Izmir 1580-1780

Mehmet Kuru

21 Aralık 2017 Perşembe 17:00 Salon: ŞAKİR KOCABAŞ SALONU

On December 16th 2017, Center for Turkish Studies will host Mehmet Kuru* under the diskussions theses-articles. Kuru will deliver a speech about Locating an Ottoman Port-City in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Izmir 1580-1780 ** based on his thesis.***


“Extant historiography considers Izmir as a case of early modern “boom town.” Its transformation from a mere pier for the provisions of Istanbul into a bustling trans-regional port-city, so the standard narrative goes, was due to mercantilist penetration by English and Dutch chartered companies at a time of Ottoman economic and political crisis and social dislocation. This formulation gives little credit to the city’s regional setting as an agent of change. This dissertation, in contrast, addresses the question of Izmir’s rise from the vantage point of Western Anatolia’s environmental outlook, hydrogeological features, and crop rotation patterns. It suggests that the city was forged not out of some in-built characteristics, but of how the inhabitants met the environmental challenges, and how this socio-environmental outlook contrasted with other regions in the long run and was articulated with economic and demographic factors. Using a composite methodology that combines environmental and economic historical approaches, and shifting the scale of observation to situate the environmental trends for sixteenth-century Izmir in a millennial perspective, this dissertation reconstructs the infrastructure of Ottoman socio-economic transformation. It rethinks the periodization and causal linkages between environment and fiscality by means of geography, and argues for understanding Izmir through a continuous monetary process that amplified commercial flows on a Eurasian scale."


*Dr., Sabancı University.

** Locating an Ottoman Port-City in the Early Modern Mediterranean Izmir 1580-1780, Doctoral Thesis, University of Toronto, 2017.

*** The speech will be conducted in Turkish.


خيار المحررين


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