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Title: Conversion of the Landscape: Environment and Religious Politics in an Early Modern Ottoman Town
Authors: Sekulic, Ana
Advisors: Greene, Molly
Contributors: History Department
Keywords: Environment
Franciscan Order
Muslim-Christian Relations
Ottoman Empire
Subjects: History
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation explores the history of Ottoman religious communities and inter-religious relations as they found expression in different material and metaphorical engagements with the environment. By focusing on the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Spirit in the Bosnian town of Fojnica and on its mountainous environs where the friars left their most enduring imprint between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, the dissertation argues that the friars constructed the meanings and modes of being an Ottoman Catholic by creatively engaging with the Catholic spiritual tradition, Ottoman legal repertoire, apprehensions over conversion to Islam, and the material world that they shared with their Muslim neighbors. Rather than focusing exclusively on Ottoman privileges and Islamic religious hierarchies—essential but not exclusive parameters of non-Muslim communal life in the Ottoman Empire—the dissertation foregrounds landscape as an ideological interface and a set of experiences arising from ongoing interactions between the physical environment and the different cultural, legal, and spiritual imaginaries. The environment was an inspiration for and means to shaping communal ties and instituting physical and conceptual boundaries between the Catholic and Muslim communities. The findings are based on the monastic Ottoman and Slavic archive as well as published and unpublished material including imperial registers, local and imperial chronicles, travelogues, and ethnographic writings. While focusing on a specific community, the dissertation makes a larger argument about the environment as a site of cultural history in the Ottoman Empire. In the Ottoman studies, visions of land have been defined through the language of the state, obscuring the rich cultural significance of the natural world. This dissertation demonstrates that imaginaries of local and imperial belonging were shaped through references to the natural world and topography, making land an important mediator and metaphor of loyalty and authority. It shows that focusing on cultural, spiritual, and poetic valences of land offers cues about the cultural currents that ran through the Ottoman society, uncovering hitherto invisible conversations, imaginaries, and apprehensions about what it meant to be an Ottoman subject.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:History

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