Between the World and the International: Thinking with Ottoman and Islamic Pasts


This interdisciplinary workshop considers Ottoman/Islamic visions of the world that preceded or contended with our globalized notion of the international comprised of discrete, sovereign nation-states connected by seas. The objective is to both historicize and pluralize visions of the world, so as to grapple with our contemporary predicaments. We focus on Ottoman and Islamic visions and practices not because they are privileged sites but because they are some of the traditions of an area (the Middle East) that is currently crumbling under the weight of world order. Discussion will be based around pre-circulated papers to allow for sustained engagement and for the development of meaningful, collective insights across disciplines.

To attend the workshop and to receive the pre-circulated papers, email


Sultan Room, CMES, 360 Stephens Hall


Welcoming Remarks
Emily Gottreich (Chair, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley)

Introductory Remarks
Samera Esmeir (Rhetoric, UC Berkeley), “The World and the International”

Chair: Christine Philliou (History, UC Berkeley)
Wilson Chacko Jacob (History, Concordia), “Between Islamic and Ottoman Pasts: An Indian-Arab Sufi’s (Other)Worldly Peregrinations to the Threshold of the International”
Respondent: Murad Idris (Politics, Virginia)
Baki Tezcan (History, UC Davis), “Was the ‘Golden Gate of the Languages’ ever Open? Ali Ufki (a.k.a. Wojciech Bobowski) and the Question of Cosmopolitanism in the Seventeenth Century (and Today)”
Respondent: Karen Barkey (Sociology, UC Berkeley)

Chair: Baki Tezcan (History, UC Davis)
Selim Karlitekin (MESAAS, Columbia), “Take, Burn, Cut! The Massacre of Scio and the Law of Nations in Ottoman Greece”
Respondent: Christine Philliou (History, UC Berkeley)
Aimee Genell (History, UC Berkeley), “The Ottoman Foreign Ministry’s Office of Legal Counsel, International Law and the End of Empire”
Respondent: Cemil Aydin (History, UNC Chapel Hill)
Umut Özsu (Law and Legal Studies, Carleton), “Ottoman Decolonizations after 1945”
Respondent: Aimee Genell (History, UC Berkeley)


CMES Keynote
Alexis Wick (History and Archaeology, AUB), “History at Sea: The Ottoman Empire, the Red Sea and the Oceanic Turn”


3335 Dwinelle Hall

Chair: Karen Barkey (Sociology, UC Berkeley)
Cemil Aydin (History, UNC Chapel Hill), “The Muslim World of the Queen and the Caliph: Illusions of Pan-Islamism from Imperial Peace to Jihad, 1873 to 1924”
Respondent: Ali Yaycioglu (History, Stanford)
Katharina Ivanyi (Religion, Columbia), “Early Modern Ottoman Sufi Views of the World: Cosmography and Sacred Topography in Qazwīnī, Yazıcıoğlu and Erzurumlu Ibrāhīm Haqqī”
Respondent: Shahzad Bashir (Religious Studies, Stanford)

Chair: Umut Özsu (Law and Legal Studies, Carleton)
Karen Pinto (History, Boise State), “Before Ottoman Pasts: Islamic(-ate) Cartographic Visions of the Cilician Plains”
Respondent: Katharina Ivanyi (Religion, Columbia)
Murad Idris (Politics, Virginia), “Formations of the World, Divisions of the Globe: Nations, Cities, Colonies”
Respondent: Wilson Jacob (History, Concordia)
Alexis Wick (History and Archaeology, AUB), “The Geographical Mission: Europe, the Mediterranean, Islam and the World”
Respondent: Samera Esmeir (Rhetoric, UC Berkeley)


Concluding Remarks

Samera Esmeir (Rhetoric, UC Berkeley)

Basit Kareem Iqbal (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

Convened by Samera Esmeir, organized by the Department of Rhetoric and the Center for Middle East Studies, and co-sponsored by the Mellon Project Grant, the Office of the Dean of the Humanities, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the History Department, the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion, and the Center for the Study of Law and Society.