Institute for Mediterranean Studies

GHOST

Geographies and Histories of the Ottoman Supernatural Tradition: Exploring Magic, the Marvelous, and the Strange in Ottoman Mentalities

The project will explore Ottoman concepts and beliefs about the supernatural. Its main objectives will be to examine the significance and content of the various perceptions of the "supernatural", to place them within the various Ottoman world images, to analyse the changes that have occurred over time and to relate them to the emergence of different cultural levels and social groups.

GHOST: Geographies and Histories of the Ottoman Supernatural Tradition: Exploring Magic, the Marvelous, and the Strange in Ottoman Mentalities (2018-)

Principal Investigator: Marinos Sariyannis

Funding Institution: European Research Council - Consolidator Grant 2017

Collaborator Researchers: Ethan Menchinger, Tuna Artun (Rutgers University, USA), Feray Coşkun (Özyegin University, Turkey), Güneş Işıksel (Medeniyet University, Turkey), Bekir Harun Küçük (Pennsylvania University, USA), Aslı Niyazioğlu (Oxford University, UK), Ahmet Tunç Şen (Columbia University, USA).

The project will explore Ottoman concepts and beliefs about the supernatural. Its main objectives will be to examine the significance and content of the various perceptions of the "supernatural", to place them within the various Ottoman world images, to analyse the changes that have occurred over time and to relate them to the emergence of different cultural levels and social groups. The project will give impetus to broader discussions in recent historiography on concepts such as "disenchantment of the world" or "enlightenment," thus integrating the Ottoman intellectual history into the wider cultural history of early modernity. The research team includes scholars from Greece, Great Britain, Turkey and the US, who will participate as postdoctoral researchers, visiting researchers, and doctoral candidates.

In the context of the research, the following publications have already been made:

  • M. Sariyannis, "Of Ottoman Ghosts, Vampires and Sorcerers: An Old Discussion Disinterred", Archivum Ottomanicum 30 (2013), 195-220.
  • M. Sariyannis, "Ajâ'ib ve gharâ'ib: Ottoman collections of mirabilia and perceptions of the supernatural", Der Islam 92/2 (2015), 442-467.
  • M. Sariyannis, "The Dead, the Spirits, and the Living: On Ottoman Ghost Stories", Journal of Turkish Studies / Türklük Bilgisi Araştırmaları 44 (2015) [Çekirge Budu: Festschrift in Honor of Robert Dankoff], 373-390.
  • M. Sariyannis, Perceptions ottomanes du surnaturel. Aspects de l’histoire intellectuelle d’une culture islamique à l’époque moderne [Les conférences de l’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes 13], Paris: Les éditions du Cerf 2019.

Project team: Marinos Sariyannis, Zeynep Aydoğan, Dimitrios Giagtzoglou, Markos Litinas, Aris Kydonakis

Project Team

Marinos Sariyannis

Research Director, Department Coordinator of Ottoman History
Curriculum vitae

Zeynep Aydogan

Postdoctoral researcher
Curriculum vitae

Markos Litinas

PhD candidate

Aris Kydonakis

Systems administrator, Software engineer
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No. 771766)