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Mapping Asia Minor German Orientalism in the field, 1835-1895

Peeters Collection Turcica, 21

Edward Said claimed that nineteenth century German Orientalism conveyed a less real and tangible “Orient” – a rather bookish Orient — than British and French Orientalisms did. In contrast to this conception, this book shows that German Orientalists did engage in concrete fieldwork. Drawing on the maps of Asia Minor that were published in Berlin between the 1830s and the 1890s, it brings to light the entire web of their producers, be they designers, draughtsmen, translators or patrons – thus delineating a transnational network of cartographic know-how. From Pera to the Wilhelmstrasse, from Trebizond to Leipzig, from Smyrna to Paris, London, St. Petersburg and Vienna, indigenous and foreign producers of knowledge about the Ottoman Empire travelled, met and interacted with each other. The task of mapping corralled philological, archeological, commercial and military skills. Maps were therefore a common ground which brought Orientalist scholars, businessmen, and army officers together. Between 1835 and 1895, a period punctuated by two major Berlin-sponsored official missions to the Ottoman Empire, strategic and academic interests critically overlapped in the German Empire; but military and civilian projects evolved in parallel on the Ottoman side. Maps of Asia Minor were therefore no mere tool of German imperialism in the Ottoman Empire: rather, they served as a tool for both empires. As such, they play a pivotal role in the writing of a transimperial history.

Updated on : 17 October 2016


Géographie-cités 2011, All rights reserved