Dr. Denise Klein
Member of the academic staff, Department of History
This project compares the Ottoman and Spanish histories of expansion during the early modern period as well as their enduring memories to the present. It brings together scholars of the Eastern Mediterranean, Latin America, and Western Europe to explore the similarities, differences, and connections between these two expanding empires in three workshops focusing on narratives of conquest and loss, post-conquest materiality, and contemporary memory cultures. This project forms part of the Leibniz Research Alliance "Value of the Past", Lab 2.1. "Dynamic Spaces" (2021–2025).
Migration made Istanbul an imperial capital and one of the most diverse cities in the early modern world. After the Ottoman conquest in 1453, the sultans repopulated the city by bringing in people from the provinces, prisoners of war from the Balkans to Iran, and slaves from Eastern Europe. Istanbul then became a safe haven for Spanish Jews and Moriscos. From the late sixteenth century, it took in a large number of refugees from Anatolia. As the capital of a world empire, the city also drew in students, career-seekers, merchants, and a growing number of labor workers from the Balkans, Anatolia, and other distant places. The migrants not only formed a significant part of the population but also held key positions in the city’s imperial institutions and dominated important sectors of urban life.
The Leibniz Research Alliance "The Value of the Past" started its work on September 1st, 2021. Over a period of four years it will investigate the significance of the past for societies in the past and present.