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Middle East Studies Program | The Ottoman Transition to Print: Technology, Aesthetics, and Textual Administration

February 28, 2022 @ 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

This event will be in-person and also live streamed.
For the livestream, go to the Middle East Studies Program’s facebook page during the event.
Building upon my book, Letters of Light: Arabic Script in Calligraphy, Print, and Digital Design (2017, Harvard University Press), this talk explores Ottoman print adoption in comparative perspective. I begin by outlining the Ottoman system of script variation. I then discuss the ways in which this system interfaced with the new technology of movable type printing. More specifically, the paper rereads Ottoman printing in light of Raymond Williams’ concept of the “long revolution,” arguing that the Müteferrika press represents a shift in what William has labeled “structures of feeling.” Working within the structures of Ottoman script variation, the Müteferrika press introduced both a new genre of administrative and state-oriented texts, as well as a new “style of script” (i.e. movable type) with which to visually represent these novel texts.


Ingraham Hall, Room 206
1155 Observatory Dr.
Madison, WI 53706 United States
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