Talk – 'The Politics of Procedure: Literary Language and Political Commentary in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire'
"The Politics of Procedure" offers a study of how Ottoman intellectuals and bureaucrats provided models for social and political behavior through the creation of a new literary language for official correspondence and diplomatic letters. It shows that Ottoman bureaucrats attempted to create a corpus of exempli for the training of diplomatic and official writing, and in so doing they advanced their own models for a new Ottoman imperial society. By attempting to standardize bureaucratic procedure, different bureaucrats aimed at creating an authoritative manual for letter writing that would become the canon of model responses to social problems like corruption in the provinces, declarations of war, oaths of peace and friendship with neighboring states and others. Here I examine the works of two members of the court and two middle-range bureaucrats, namely, Tācī Beg and his son Tācī-zāde Sa‛di Çelebi, as well as Mesīḥī and Lami‛ī Çelebi. The lives and works of these four scholars intersected in different levels at the Ottoman imperial court in Istanbul and were aimed at various audiences of the ruling elite, ranging from the sultan to the provincial secretary. All of them produced a large corpus of models for writing that would become a canon for Ottoman prose until the sixteenth century.
Oscar Aguirre-Mandujano will be the speaker.