History Talk by Semih Çelik, Animals Against the Grain: Histories of Animal (Dis-)assemblages in the Ottoman world

Author: CSSH
Time: 13:00
Location: Zoom

Animals Against the Grain: Histories of Animal (Dis-)assemblages in the Ottoman world

Semih Çelik

Friday, May 7th, 2021 13:00-14:30

Meeting ID: 968 0875 8994

Passcode: 966721

Studies on animal history have over the last decade turned to the assemblage theory to discuss animal agency, emphasizing the hybridity of human and non-human animal lives throughout history. The liminal lives of non-human animals have been reconstructed as embedded within the human world, creating a shared cultural space fostering dependency of one on the other. The developing literature on animal history of the Ottoman Empire too examines non-human animal lives within a relationship based on assemblages. Especially mega-fauna such as livestock, beasts of burden, pets, stray dogs (and few cats) have been understood as vital elements of human economic, social, political, and ecologic systems until the organic economies of the pre-industrial world gave way to an inorganic one.  

This talk focuses on animal histories of Ottoman Anatolia, covering a period from the early-modern period to the end of the nineteenth century to discuss the forms of assemblages and dis-assemblages between non-human animals and humans, and to reconstruct an alternative history of animals based on historical human knowledge of these animals and their agency, which are central to animal history. The talk will be based on the literature on Ottoman animal history and on my research on Angora goats, water buffaloes, and vermin in Anatolia and Mesopotamia. 

Semih Çelik is a lecturer at History Department at Koç University. He has a PhD in History and Civilization from European University Institute, Florence. His research focuses on Ottoman Environmental History, History of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire, History of Cultural and Natural Heritage Conservation, History of Charity and Humanitarianism.

This talk is organized as part of the TUBİTAK project titled “Animal Trade from Anatolia to Istanbul (1783-1920)” and co-sponsored by History Club.