Neuere Geschichte

The Power of Connections: Interpersonal Networks and Agency in the Ottoman Empire and Ottoman Europe

Annual Conference of the Working Group "Ottoman Europe"

Tübingen, 27–28 September 2017

[Venue] [Hosts] [Abstract] [Programme] [Organizing Committee] [Homepage of the Working Group "Ottoman Europe"] [Conference Report]


University of Tübingen, Theologicum (Faculty of Theology), Liebermeister Straße 12, 72076 Tübingen, Germany, Seminar Room 12 (2nd floor, Room 223)


With financial support from the DFG Priority Programme "Transottomanica: Eastern European–Ottoman–Persian Mobility Dynamics"

Organized by Ayşegül Argıt (Heidelberg), Prof. Dr. Lejla Demiri (Tübingen), and Dr. Tobias Graf (Tübingen/Heidelberg) in cooperation with the Working Group "Ottoman Europe".

Back to top


Whether on a local, a regional, an imperial, or a global level, interpersonal networks provide the crucial social infrastructure for human activity across the board, from ostensibly lonely academic studies to dinner parties, from travel to conquest. Like the physical infrastructure provided by roads and ports, the postal system and telegraph lines, water pipes and electric wires, this social infrastructure enables, shapes, and sustains certain forms of human behaviour. Like physical infrastructure, the existence of social infrastructure was the result of conscious efforts as much as serendipity. Moreover, in their very nature, interpersonal networks were dynamic, changing over time as individual members reoriented themselves or passed away and as the social, political, economic, and legal frameworks transformed. Such shifts in turn affected the formation of webs of contact as well as the respective patterns of, and options for, action.

The 2017 Annual Conference of the Working Group "Ottoman Europe" brings together scholars working on the Ottoman Empire and Ottoman Europe from the fourteenth to the twentieth century to reflect on the ways in which interpersonal networks enabled, constrained, and shaped the actions of individual as well as group actors and how the creation and maintenance of such networks itself became the object of agency. The papers cover a wide variety of themes, including, but not limited to, Ottoman political, cultural, and social history, diplomacy and 'international' relations, violence, economic history and commerce, as well as the history of literary production, scholarship, and theology. Contributors will examine individual actors, social groups, as well as associations and institutions such as families, guilds, and state agencies.

Back to top


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

14:30–15:00 Registration and tea/coffee

15:00–15:30 Welcome and introduction by Lejla Demiri (Tübingen) and Tobias Graf (Tübingen/Heidelberg)

15:30–17:00 Panel 1: Scholarly and Religious Networks

  • Chair: Lejla Demiri (Tübingen)
  • M. Sait Özervarlı (Istanbul), Study Circles, Scholar Invitations, and Text Competitions: Building Scholarly Networks in the Early Ottoman Period
  • Asim Zubčević (Sarajevo), Books and Their Owners in Ottoman Sarajevo, 1762–1828
  • Ines Aščerić-Todd (Edinburgh), Sufis, Artisans and Traders: Ottoman Guilds as Economic, Social and Spiritual Networks

17:00–17:15 Tea/coffee break

17:15–18:15 Panel 2: The Ottoman’s Empire’s Tributaries

  • Chair: Philip Hahn (Tübingen)
  • Daniel Ursprung (Zurich), Christians Acting as Ottomans: Wallachia's Seventeenth-Century Elites as Agents of Ottomanization
  • Konrad Petrovszky (Vienna), When Networks Fail: The Case of the Phanariot Iordaki Stavraki

18:15–18:30 Tea/coffee break

18:30–19:30 Organizational meeting of the Working Group "Ottoman Europe"

20:00 Dinner

Thursday, 28 September 2017

9:30–10:30 Panel 3: Between War and Peace

  • Chair: Ayşegül Argıt (Heidelberg)
  • Tobias Graf (Tübingen), Reconstructing Intelligence Networks: The Example of Austrian-Habsburg Intelligence in Istanbul, c. 1575–1583
  • Nikolas Pissis (Berlin), The Greek Spies of Muscovy in the Ottoman Empire, 1640–1660

10:30–10:45 Tea/coffee break

10:45–12:15 Panel 4: Commerce and Trade

  • Chair: Denise Klein (Mainz)
  • Evelyn Korsch (Venice/Erfurt), Global Networks and Multi-Layered Agency of an Armenian Merchant Banker Family
  • Gülay Tulasoğlu (Ankara), The Katipzade Family between Trade and Politics
  • Anna Vlachopoulou (Munich), Networking as a Business Strategy in the "Long 19th Century"

12:15–13:30 Lunch

13:30–14:30 Panel 5: Connecting the Localities and the Imperial Centre

  • Chair: Stefan Rohdewald (Gießen)
  • Uroš Dakić (Belgrade), Sokollu Mehmed Pasha's Kinship Network in the Serbian Orthodox Church
  • Henning Sievert (Berne/Heidelberg), Brokerage in the Well-Connected Domains

14:30–14:45 Tea/coffee break

14:45–15:15 Panel 6: Political Mobilization

  • Chair: Tobias Graf (Tübingen/Heidelberg)
  • Ayşegül Argıt (Heidelberg), Press, Politics, and Mobilization in Istanbul, 1908–1914

15:15–16:15 Concluding discussion

Chair and commentary: Renate Dürr (Tübingen)

Back to top