Islam ex situ: The 'Othering' of the Ottoman at and after the great exhibition, 1851-1901
Jennings, K. L. (2018). Islam ex situ: The ‘Othering’ of the Ottoman at and after the great exhibition, 1851-1901 (Thesis, Master of Philosophy (MPhil)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12098
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12098
This thesis takes a material culture approach to one aspect of Anglo-Ottoman relations, that of the ‘othering’ of the Ottoman by the Anglo-Christian observer. I analyse how Ottoman objects were assembled, ordered, exhibited, and interpreted at the Great Exhibition. The Sublime Porte sent 3380 articles to be exhibited at the Crystal Palace. I examine what messaging their classification and exhibition gave to Anglo-Christian audiences regarding Islam and ‘the Turk’—both a religious and racial ‘other.’ Part I surveys the exhibitionary complex, beginning with the Great Exhibition (the material dimension); and Part II deals with the ways Anglo-Christian commentators characterised Ottoman Turks between 1851 and 1901 (the social dimension). The conclusion I have drawn is that a material dimension reflected and served to reinforce the social dimension to historical Anglo-Ottoman relations. Although some turcophile observers during the mid-to-late nineteenth century sought a sincerer, more empathetic engagement with Turkey and her empire, tropes that cast Ottoman Turks as ‘barbarous’ and ‘lustful’ persisted and were manifested at the Crystal Palace—itself a structure that physicalised binaries between east and west, crescent and cross, ‘other’ and ‘self.’ Ottoman objects ex situ were read with reference to an existing canon of tropes/types. This research shows how Islam and the Ottoman Empire have been conceptualised, materialised, and ‘othered’ since the Great Exhibition by way of object, text, and space.
The University of Waikato
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