I am currently completing a digital companion to my monograph, The Dragoman Renaissance: Diplomatic Interpreters and the Routes of Orientalism. The project traces how Istanbul-based diplomatic translator-interpreters, known as dragomans, systematically engaged Ottoman elites in the study of the Ottoman Empire—eventually coalescing in the discipline of Orientalism—throughout 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. The digital platform offers visitors a variety of entry points into the datasets at the basis of the research, from transcriptions and digital surrogates of archival materials and curated subject bibliographies to a range of visualizations of research findings.
My new project, Trans-Imperial Archives: Diplomacy, Circulation, and Entanglement in the Early Modern Mediterranean, 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. This collaborative project, in partnership with Kirsta Stapelfeldt of the Digital Scholarship Unit at the UTSC library, as well as Prof. Heather Ferguson (Claremont McKenna College) and Dr. Guy Burak (NYU Library) is funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant (2020-2024).