“Long before Covid-19: The Socio-Economic Effects of Contagious Diseases and Epidemics in the Ottoman World (1500-1800)”

with Günhan Börekçi (Central European University)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EST
Zoom Virtual Event

Photo_Gunhan BorekciBased on the most recent scholarship as well as some hitherto unexamined archival and narrative sources, this lecture will discuss the question of how millions of Muslim and non-Muslim people once lived in the Ottoman Empire had experienced the outbreaks of various contagious diseases between the sixteenth and the nineteenth centuries. More specifically, it aims to demonstrate that such communicable diseases (most notably plague) not only periodically erupted as epidemics in numerous Ottoman towns and often claimed the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people on a daily basis, but also significantly disrupted the social life and economic activities in a given region for long periods. Overall, as the participants of this lecture shall observe, the general impact of these diseases and epidemics in different parts of the Ottoman world centuries ago was actually not that different from what we continue to experience under the still raging Covid-19 pandemic today.

Günhan Börekçi is a Visiting Professor at the Department of Medieval Studies in Central European University PU, Vienna. After completing his B.A. and M.A. studies at Boğaziçi University, Dr. Börekçi received his Ph.D. degree in history from the Ohio State University in 2010. His main areas of research and teaching include premodern Ottoman political, dynastic and social history, 17th-century global crisis, military history, history of horsemanship and traditional archery. In addition to his numerous articles and encyclopedia entries on Ottoman history, he has published with Ahmet Arslantürk a facsimile edition of Feridun Ahmed Bey’s illustrated chronicle, Nüzhet-i Esrârü’l-Ahyâr der Ahbâr-ı Sefer-i Sigetvar [Topkapı Palace Museum Library, MS Hazine 1339], on Süleyman the Magnificent’s last Hungarian campaign in 1566 (Istanbul, 2012). His study on the Ottoman imperial campaign against the Habsburgs in 1596 came out under the title, Macaristan’da Bir Osmanlı Padişahı: Sultan III. Mehmed’in Eğri Seferi Rûznâmesi (1596) [The Diary of Sultan Mehmed III's Imperial Campaign of 1596] (Istanbul, 2016). Dr. Börekçi is currently working on two new book projects, “Factions and Favorites at the Ottoman Imperial Court, 1580-1640” and “A Short Biography of Sultan Ahmed I (r. 1603-1617).”

Flyer_November 17,2020


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