Fellow Talks

Sinem Erdoğan İşkorkutan
The 1720 Imperial Celebrations in Istanbul:
A Holistic Analysis of an Ottoman Festival in Light of New Sources


14 May 2020 / 18:00 Geçmiş Aktivite

Fellow talks return online!

Fellow Talks, where Istanbul Research Institute fellows share the progress of their research started back in February and now continue online. The first event will take place with Post-Doctoral Research and Writing Grant recipient Sinem Erdoğan İşkorkutan on Thursday, May 14 at 18.00 via Zoom.

In the fall of 1720, the Ottoman court hosted a three-week-long festival for the circumcision of Sultan Ahmed III’s four sons. On the occasion of this festival, thousands of boys living in Istanbul were circumcised, food and gifts were distributed to hundreds of people, imperial banquets continued for days, and participants enjoyed strange and enchanting shows that continued night and day. This magnificent celebration represented in illustrated sûrnâmes(the book of the imperial festival), which were planned simultaneously with the event, holds a prominent place in modern history-writing and art historiography. These studies that dwell mostly on sûrnâme paintingsexaminethe morphology of the event and its high-ranking participants. Yet, other aspects of the festival and its social, material, financial, and ideological dimensions have not yet been properly analyzed. This talk will address how the newly discovered archival sources on the 1720 festival, together with the illustrated and non-illustrated sûrnâme copies, vividly illuminate different aspects of the festival. Respectively, the festival’s hitherto unknown planning, staging, and representation stages and their different constituents, as well as the involvement of urban participants across all social strata and the officials will be discussed. The talk will end with addressing some broader questions that this study raises on the early eighteenth-century Ottoman history. 

Sinem Erdoğan İşkorkutan is an alumna of PhD programme of history of art, architecture and visual culture at Boğaziçi University.

The Zoom talk will be in Turkish. Limited seats, please make a reservation.

The event is fully booked. Thank you for your interest.