Research

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I am currently completing a book-length monograph and a companion digital project, tentatively entitled The Dragoman Renaissance: Diplomatic Interpreters and the Routes of Orientalism. The project explores how “East” and “West” became oppositional categories through the cultural mediation of dragomans (diplomatic interpreter-translators) who hailed from the social and political periphery of an emergent Europe and a powerful Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It relates dragomans’ practices of mediation to the intersecting domains of Mediterranean diplomacy and Italianate print culture, building on recent interest in the place of the Ottomans in the political, religious, and cultural transformations of the late Renaissance.

My next project, Trans-Imperial Archives: Entangled Subjecthood and Textual Sovereignty in Early Modern Mediterranean Diplomacy, traces the articulation of trans-imperial diplomatic archives at the intersection of early modern Ottoman and Venetian textual and jurisdictional claim-making practices, thereby challenging received wisdom about the singularly western European genealogy of modern diplomacy. Using digital methods to explore the multiplex currents that forged and transformed the archives of the Venetian resident ambassador to the Ottoman Porte in the seventeenth century, the project will underscore the hitherto ignored mutual imbrication between diplomatics, biopolitics, and resident diplomacy at a crucial moment of their emergence.