Hist Seminar: Cengiz Kırlı (Boğaziçi U. Ata.Ins. for Mod.Turk Hist)


Sabancı University

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

History Speaker Series



Constituting the Public in the 19th Century Ottoman Empire


Assist. Prof. Dr. Cengiz Kırlı

(Boğaziçi University, Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History)



Instead of employing the conventional antagonistic conceptualization of state and society, and understanding public and public opinion as merely sociological referents that emerged despite and against the state, this paper argues that the “public” and “public opinion” were constituted in a series of governmental practices that redefined politics in the second quarter of the nineteenth century in the Ottoman Empire. This process will be detailed by way of two examples: first, the changing status of public opinion with the establishment of surveillance and second, the symbolic yet consequential meaning of an unprecedented practice in courtly behavior, namely, the Ottoman sultan’s public visibility.


March 20, 2008 (Thursday)