Current Projects

Projects at the Centre for Mediterranean Studies

The Chair's current projects are mainly carried out at the Centre for Mediterranean Studies (ZMS). For a complete overview, please refer to the Centre's website.

Projects at ZMS
The Venetian Army on Ottoman Land 1684-1718. Translociation, War Experience, Transculturation

Project officer: Dr. Andreas Helmedach

The project is part of the DFG-Priory Programm 1981 “Transottomanica: Eastern European-Ottoman-Persian Mobility Dynamics”. It explores the war experiences of soldiers in the Venetian army in Ottoman Southeastern Europe, that is in those territories of Dalmatia, Albania and Greece which were conquered, occupied, and for the most part lost to the Ottoman Empire during the Morean (or Peloponnesian) Wars 1684-1699 and 1715-1718. Military journeys are a core topic of migration history; the history of such mobility in the context of the Morean wars will lead towards a better understanding of transcultural processes in the Southeast European region. Similar to other forms of travelling, military journeys not only link up points of departure and arrival, but they also mean crossing through given spaces and territories. It is here that translocalization and transculturalization happens. Such processes in fact have always been constituent elements of soldiers’ and combatants’ war experiences, at all times.
In which ways did the circumstances of military campaigns in Ottoman Southeastern Europe mould the soldier's daily routines, perceptions, and experiences of war? The focus is on the life worlds of officers, sergeants and ordinary soldiers. The project explores their daily routines during their voyage towards and away from the theatre of war; their service in the garrison, the camp, and the field; their encounters with civilians (not least with women); the coming to terms with combat and violence, with desertion, imprisonment, slavery and (if the occasion arose) ransoming; with illness, wounds, invalidity, and death. The backdrop of these men’s experiences, imaginaries, and discourses about their experience of “migration as transcultural entanglement” was the Ottoman Empire. From their socialization in their home countries they had to match new modes and patterns of interaction and cooperation both with their peers, who constituted the ethnic and religious heterogeneity of the Venetian army, and with the "locals", who also were heterogeneous as far as their ethnicity, religion, and social origin were concerned. The framework of early modern times seems particularly befitting to explore the transcultural processes involved, as it forced upon the men a particular intensity of interaction as such, but especially, beyond the battlefields, a cooperation with the “other”, with individuals on the “enemy”’s side.

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Transottomanica: Eastern European-Ottoman-Persian Mobility Dynamics

Social and (trans)cultural ties between the Moscovite Tsardom and/or Petersburg Empire, Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire and Persia from the early modern period to the beginning of the twentieth century have so far not been the subject of systematic historical study. The historical societies of the above-mentioned regions and those far beyond developed relationships that evolved and interconnected over centuries. In the priority programme described in this proposal, we shall focus on the “trans-Ottoman” ties and communication practices which emerged as a consequence of mobility between these dominions and which until now have not been apparent in studies of individual regions or bilateral relations. This approach promises to change our understanding of globalised European and Asian history in a transcontinental context. Instead of constructing “one” new region, our “post-area studies” approach allows us to focus on several, different contexts and fields of social interaction with different spatial and social ranges unified by the lens of mobility: Reciprocal processes of migration, knowledge circulation (travelling concepts), travel, trade and mobility of entire societies between Muscovy and then the tsarist empire, Poland-Lithuania, the Ottoman Empire and Persia will be in our
focus. Since we are exploring undiscovered terrain in the research for our project, we shall first carry out basic research which shall cast more light in the thicket of our planned research approaches. On the basis of the research findingd of the initial phase, suitable methodical tools for a new theory design shall be developed for a possible second ssubsequent phase that shall take into account the specific requirements of our research subject.

The investigation period of the proposed priority programme shall begin in the early 16th century, when the Ottoman Empire developed into a cross-regional hub due to the expansion into northern and eastern Africa, the conquests in East Central Europe and to the extension of power into the Near and Middle East. During the course of the 19th century, however, this area was integrated into altered and/or new areas of communication and action because the major European powers were increasingly able expand their political and economic influence. Due to its mobility dynamics and structures, the trans-ottoman spatial configuration lost significance and merged into increasing global and nationalised context. The priority programme shall investigate these transitions until the beginning of the 20th century. The proposed programme is intended to enable the application for approximately 18 single projects.

Vom Aufständischen zum Räuber und viceversa – Gewaltgemeinschaften im westlichen Balkanraum im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert

Research Associate: Dr. Andreas Helmedach

The summary is only available in German.

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Closed Projects

Bibliography Database regarding the Historiography in Ottoman Europe (15th-18th Century)

The envisaged database aims at establishing the first comprehensive bibliography of early modern historiography in Ottoman Europe, thereby providing a lasting support for historical research. In the framework of a culture mainly shaped by religious writing, the polyglot historiography of the region represented an important section of secular writing and for this reason has constantly been drawn upon as a primary source for the study of social and cultural history as well as for the intellectual entanglement among the cultural spheres within Ottoman Europe and their intercommunication with the Mediterranean and Central European regions.
For the first time, the project will comprise the entire body of historiographic texts written in all the languages of Ottoman Europe between 1500 and 1800 and merge the data into one integral bibliography. Thus, the advanced bibliographic indexing of the scattered and hardly available texts will allow for searching the material irrespective of language and genre, for highlighting the inter-textual entanglements and interdependencies, and for indicating the currently available printed or online editions respectively. Access to the database will be provided via the website of the Centre for Mediterranean Studies at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum which has a special focus on the circulation of cultural knowledge and closely cooperates with the Chair of Ottoman and Turkish History at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Thus, early modern South Eastern European and Mediterranean studies will be provided with a durable and easily updatable key instrument for their particular research interests, which, in the long run, could even be transformed into a research portal linking libraries, research institutions and individual researchers across national borders. The planned “Bibliographical Database Historiography in Ottoman Europe (15th–18th centuries)” is not only supposed to have a signaling effect upon a research landscape that is still highly disjointed, but rather understands itself as an essential step towards a comparative research that conceives of Ottoman Europe as a space shared by a variety of cultures, languages, and religions.

You can find the university library's website regarding this project here:

Turkish foreign policy and pro-Turkish activism in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Discourse and Actors (2002-present)

Postdoktorand: Dr. Dino Mujadžević (Forschungssprache: Englisch)

In scope of my research project funded by Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation I focus on the use of the academic and media discourses in Bosnia and Herzegovina related to Turkish foreign policies and pro-Turkish activism since the advent of AKP to power in Turkey in 2002 by relying on the theoretical approach known as Critical Discourse Analysis. The quantitative side of the research relies on the corpus-driven approach and the use of the text-mining software tools. Several scholars use the term "Neo-Ottomanism" to describe the new foreign policy of the conservative AKP government, which uses Ottoman historical legacy to justify Turkish foreign policy activities in formerly Ottoman areas. Bosnia and Herzegovina with its large Muslim population and its legacy of recent wars has a special symbolical importance for this discourse and it is able to provide it with the supporting network. Others, including Turkish government and its supporters, reject this term. My research goes beyond the purely foreign policy implications of Turkish presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond the disputed „Neo-Otomanism“ concept itself in order to look at the interactions of the related Turkish and local Bosnian discourses and social networks and their implications for the identity politics of Bosnian Muslims. As sources for my research I use the textual and other material of Turkish state and non-state actors and their allies produced in the Bosnian academia (books, articles, papers) and media (newspapers, TV, online services etc.), as well as interviews.

Identitätskonstruktionen von Roma, Ashkali und Ägyptern im Kosovo

The summary is only available in German.

Imperiale Herrschaftsausübung im osmanischen und russländischen Reich – die Umsetzung der Modernisierungs- und Integrationspolitik in Südosteuropa und Zentralasien im 19. Jahrhundert

The summary is only available in German.

Wissenschaftliches Netzwerk "Das osmanische Europa - Methoden und Perspektiven der Frühneuzeitforschung zu Südosteuropa"

The summary is only available in German.