Philosophy, History and Art Department Colloquium: "Staging, Posing, Self-fashioning: Ottoman Subjects Before the Camera"
Edhem Eldem, Professor of History, Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) University, Istanbul
Buley Library Art Gallery
Despite a great number of works on Ottoman photography, we have very little information about its "vernacular" uses, that is, whatever lies beyond the Orientalist and staged images of mainstream studios. The appeal of Saidian and postcolonial readings of these images can partially explain this slant. The latter is also a result of the absence of a consistent and serial documentation, as well as of a more critical analysis of the dynamics involved in the process. One way to address this issue is to seek out cases that may allow us to shift our attention from the photographers' role to the sitters' agency and to the importance of local cultural preferences.
Edhem Eldem is a professor at the Department of History, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. He has taught at Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia, at the EHESS and the ENS (Paris). His research focuses on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ottoman history, more particularly on the Levant trade, funerary epigraphy, late-nineteenth-century Istanbul, the Imperial Ottoman Bank, the history of archaeology, first-person narratives, and photography. He has recently co-edited with Zeynep Çelik Camera Ottomana. Photography and Modernity in the Ottoman Empire, 1870-1914. His article on "The Search for an Ottoman Vernacular Photography" is forthcoming in s special issue of Studies in Theory and History of Photography (University of Zurich).
Support by the Faculty Development Fund
New Haven, CT 06515
ContactProfessor Armen T. Marsoobian
Phone: (203) 392-6788