Hakan Karateke

Professor of Ottoman and Turkish Culture, Language and Literature

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies
Pick Hall 217


I enjoy working in the areas of Ottoman philology, epigraphy and codicology and alternating between the exciting realms of philology and history. I cannot think of a more enjoyable occupation than reading and reflecting on Ottoman texts. I also take pleasure in reading and studying early Republican and modern Turkish literature. I see it as one of my primary tasks as a teacher to familiarize my students with the methodology of approaching a text — how to interpret it, how to place texts into a larger context, how to penetrate the author’s mind, how to reconstruct his world and mindset, and how to find more information and guess appropriately, if necessary, as to the author’s social and scholarly references.

I have published a few articles in the recent years on the transformation of Ottoman historiography during the nineteenth century. I am now working the articles and my new findings into a monograph which will survey the changes in history-writing practices, methods, concepts, and sources, with aims to arrive at larger conclusions concerning intellectual transformations.

Another ongoing project titled Ottoman Turkish: The Social History of a Language seeks to establish a narrative of the history of the Ottoman Turkish language by exploring and reconstructing the changing perceptions of the Turkish language over several centuries, as held by speakers living primarily in the Ottoman domains. A narrative of the changing attitudes and mindset of Turkish speakers, the psychological implications of being a speaker of Turkish, and finally, the attitudes of others towards Turkish speakers will be the major contribution of the project. The subject is mammoth, the sources to be covered vast. It will keep me busy for at least a few more years to come.

I also am the co-editor of the online encyclopedic project Historians of the Ottoman Empire  and, again, the co-editor of the Database for Ottoman Inscriptions.

Published recently:

Evliya Çelebi’s Journey from Bursa to the Dardanelles and Edirne. From the Fifth Book of Seyahatname. Edited with an introduction, translation and annotations. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2013.

“The Challenge of Periodization: New Patterns in Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Historio­graphy.” Writing History at the Ottoman Court: Editing the Past, Fashioning the Future. Ed. by Emine Fetvacı, Erdem Çıpa (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013), 129-154.

“‘On the Tranquility and Repose of the Sultan’: The Construction of a Topos.” The Ottoman World. Ed. Christine Woodhead. (Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon; New York: Rout­ledge, 2012), 116-129. Tur­kish translation will appear in 2013.

Ottoman and Turkish Studies