International conference, November 16-18, 2023

The Institute for Mediterranean Studies/FORTH and the Research Project GHOST: Geographies and Histories of the Ottoman Supernatural Tradition: Exploring Magic, the Marvelous, and the Strange in Ottoman Mentalities, European Research Council Consolidator Grant 771766, are happy to announce an international conference on “Knowing and controlling nature in Ottoman culture: scientific and occultist approaches in a global perspective“. The conference will take place in Rethymno, Greece in November 16-18, 2023.

For registration see below. All hours in Greek time – EET.

Thursday, November 16

17:45-18:00 Addresses

Chair: Gelina Harlaftis

18:00-18:30 Hasan Umut, “Astrology in Aydın Sayılı’s scholarship: some remarks on the historiography of science in modern Turkey” (video presentation)

18:30-19:00 Harun Bekir Küçük, “Historicizing the astronomical sources of Erzurumlu Ibrahim Hakki’s Marifetname” (video presentation)

19:00-19:30 Işık Demirakın, “Between supernatural and natural in the late eighteenth – early nineteenth century Ottoman Empire”

Reception at the Institute courtyard

Friday, November 17

Chair: Nikos Potamianos

10:00-10:30 W. Sasson Chahanovich, “Ktābā di-Danyāl nabiyā: The Book of Daniel and its apocalyptic appeal at the Ottoman court”

10:30-11:00 Marinos Sariyannis, “The Ottoman Hermes: notes on the reception of the Hermetic tradition in Ottoman scholarship”

11:00-11:30 Aslı Niyazioğlu, “How to make starlings bring tons of olive to Istanbul? Late fifteenth-century historians and a lettrist talisman”

11:30–12:00 Coffee break

Chair: Işık Demirakın

12:00-12:30 Feray Coşkun, “Control of nature in Ottoman Ajaib al-makhluqats”

12:30-13:00 Amila Buturović, “The occult pharmacopeia of Ottoman Bosnia: plants and herbs in love spells”

13:00-15:00 Light lunch

Chair: Yannis Spyropoulos

15:00-15:30 Nikola Pantić, “Probing hidden knowledge through divine inspiration: charismatic authority and occult sciences in eighteenth-century Ottoman Sham”

15:30-16:00 Dimitrios Giagtzoglou, “Political advice and ethics in an occult framework: Alai Muhibbi Şirazi’s Düstûru’l-vüzerâ as an example of 16th century Ottoman lettrism”

16:00-16:30 Zeynep Aydoğan, “Forging paths of continuity: “borderline” miracles in the early menākıbnāme literature”

16:30-17:00 Coffee break

Chair: Güneş Işıksel

17:00-17:30 Rao Mohsin Ali Noor, “Martial apparitions: corporeality, cosmology, and crisis on the Ottoman-Habsburg borderlands (c.1593-1606)”

17:30–18:00 Feza Günergun, “Between practice and allegory: Ottoman perception of alchemy”

18:00-18:30 Tunahan Durmaz, “Stars, djinns, and the air: Reconciling the natural and the supernatural in explaining diseases in the Ottoman medical writing (1630-1670)”


Saturday, November 18

Chair: Nikos Sigalas

10:00-10:30 Maryam Patton, “Cosmic histories: chronology as a basis for Ottoman astrology”

10:30-11:00 Ahmet Tunç Şen, “The Role of Experience in Astrology and an 18th-Century Ottoman Court Astrologer’s Take on Experiential Knowledge”

11:00-11:30 Yasemin Akçagüner, “Crises and critical days: medical astrology in the work of Şanizade Ataullah Efendi (d.1826)”

11:30–12:00 Coffee break

Chair: Aslı Niyazioğlu

12:00-12:30 Sara Nur Yıldız, “A felicitous translation: Meḥmed es-Suʿūdī’s Meṭāliʿu’l-saʿādet (composed ca. 1582) and its Jalayirid model of prognostic astrology and related practices” (video presentation)

12:30-13:00 Günseli Gürel, “Ancient wisdom in Ottoman Books of Wonders (1595-1603)”

13:00-15:00 Light lunch

Chair: Ahmet Tunç Şen

15:00-15:30 Markos Litinas, “Navigating the currents: exploring the esoteric threads in the Greek Orthodox Church of 15th to 18th centuries”

15:30-16:00 Kostas Sarris, “A playful and drinking Greek-Orthodox natural magic: the ‘marvelous things’ of Kaisarios Dapontes”

16:00-16:30 Güneş Işıksel, “The homological cosmos: mid- and late 15th-century Ottoman approaches to the nature of music and sound”

16:30-17:00 Coffee break

Chair: Marinos Sariyannis

17:00-17:30 Ethan Menchinger, “Interpreting the dreamscapes of early Ottoman chronicles” (video presentation)

17:30–18:00 Concluding remarks, discussion


Scientific Committee

Zeynep Aydoğan, Feray Coşkun, Işık Demirakın, Güneş Işıksel, Bekir Harun Küçük, Ethan Menchinger, Aslı Niyazioğlu, Marinos Sariyannis, Ahmet Tunç Şen

An international conference organized by the Research Project GHOST: Geographies and Histories of the Ottoman Supernatural Tradition: Exploring Magic, the Marvelous, and the Strange in Ottoman Mentalities, European Research Council Consolidator Grant 771766

List of participants:

Zeynep Aydoğan (Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Greece)

Yasemin Akçagüner (Columbia University, USA)

Amila Buturović (York University, Canada)

W. Sasson Chahanovich (Heidelberg University, Germany)

Feray Coşkun (Özyeğin University, Turkey)

Işık Demirakın (Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Greece)

Tunahan Durmaz (European University Institute, Italy)

Dimitrios Giagtzoglou (Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Greece)

Feza Günergun (Istanbul University, Turkey)

Günseli Gürel (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)

Güneş Işıksel (Medeniyet University, Turkey)

Harun Bekir Küçük (University of Pennsylvania, USA)

Markos Litinas (Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Greece)

Ethan Menchinger (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)

Aslı Niyazioğlu (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)

Rao Mohsin Ali Noor (Johns Hopkins University, USA)

Nikola Pantić (University of Vienna, Austria)

Maryam Patton (Harvard University, USA)

Marinos Sariyannis (Institute for Mediterranean Studies, Greece)

Kostas Sarris (Freiuniversität Berlin, Germany)

Ahmet Tunç Şen (Columbia University, USA)

Hasan Umut (Boğaziçi University, Turkey)

Sara Nur Yıldız (Middle East Technical University, Turkey)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.