Finished Workshop “Circles of Trust: Marriage, Village Guarantors, and Private Reading Groups in the Ottoman Empire” (Mar. 25)


Category: Workshop

Research Group: B01 State Systems

The Workshop “Circles of Trust: Marriage, Village Guarantors, and Private Reading Groups in the Ottoman Empire” will be jointly organized by Group B01 “The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems” and Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), “International joint research on social class and gender in the Ottoman Empire” (AKIBA Jun, 20H01322).

Date & Time: March 25, 2023, 13:30~17:00

13:30~13:45 Opening
Koh Choon Hwee (UCLA): “Trust, Connectivity and Empire: Nested Suretyships in the Ottoman Postal System”

This paper focuses on the mechanism of suretyships in the operations of the Ottoman postal system. It argues that in the eighteenth century, the Ottoman bureaucracy used the old mechanism of suretyship in a new way. Specifically, it began to create nested suretyships, whereby sureties for postmasters required their own guarantors in the villages. In this way, trust at the level of the village was institutionalised and systematized in order to guarantee the provisioning of Ottoman post stations all across the empire.

Tommaso Stefini (European U Institute): “Risky unions: Venetian/Ottoman marriages and contested inheritances”

During the early modern period, numerous Venetian merchants residing in Ottoman cities for many years married Ottoman Christian women and started a family. These Ottoman/Venetian marriages were usually registered before a Qadi (a Muslim judge and public notary) and, in the Venetian and other European accounts, they are called kebin marriages. In case of the death of the married Venetians, controversies over their inheritance between Venetian and Ottoman heirs were likely to occur. According to international treaties (the Capitulations, ahdname), Venetian ambassadors and consuls collected the estates of dead Venetians. However, the fact that marriages between Venetian and Ottoman women were registered in Ottoman courts gave to the Ottoman widows and the children of these unions legitimate claims over the inheritance according to Islamic law. By analyzing the practice of kebin marriages and legal disputes over the inheritance of dead Venetians, this presentation demonstrates the centrality of marriage and inheritance rights in the construction of Venetian and Ottoman sovereignty in the early modern period. On the one hand, Ottoman authorities considered Venetian merchants married to Ottoman women as “naturalized” Ottoman subjects, and protected the inheritance claims of Ottoman widows and the children of these unions. On the other hand, by appealing to the Capitulations, Venetian ambassadors and consuls rejected this “naturalization” and firmly defended the estates of all dead Venetians regardless of their marital status. 

Baki Tezcan (UC Davis): “The not-so-well-connected domains of Ottoman knowledge production: Su’udi’s The Book of Felicity and The New Report and their reception”

Following the epistemological model suggested by the late Shahab Ahmed for the Balkans-to-Bengal complex in 1350-1850, I argue that Ottoman knowledge production often operated in tandem with a hierarchical epistemology. While some authors produced for the reading (and listening) public at large, others’ works circulated around a smaller circle, sometimes not reaching the reading public at all and sometimes reaching it much later. My presentation will center on Su’udi (d. 1591), a late sixteenth-century Ottoman geographer, judge, poet, professor of law, and translator. Focusing on the two extant works of his which he produced for the Ottoman court in the early 1580s, The Book of Felicity and The New Report, I argue that geographical knowledge challenging commonly held assumptions about the world in the late sixteenth-century was not treated much differently than occult sciences the study of which was reserved for a select few.  

16:35~17:00 discussions

Moderator: AKIBA Jun (U Tokyo)

Venue: 2nd meeting room, 2nd floor, Tokushokan, Imadegawa Campus (no. 12 in Campus Map), Doshisha University (registered participants may also access the workshop online by Zoom), Open to public/Admission free, Pre-registration is required.

Pre-registration: please use this form for in-person participation.
                                  please use this form for online participation.

Co-organizer: Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A), “The Ideas of the Muslim Community and State Systems” (Principal Investigator: KONDO Nobuaki (ILCAA); 20H05827)/Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B), “International joint research on social class and gender in the Ottoman Empire” (Principal Investigator: AKIBA Jun (U Tokyo); 20H01322).

Contact: MORITA Madoka (mmorita[at]

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