ZOOM SEMINAR: Imperial Performances: Circumcision Ceremonies for Ottoman Princes, 1457-1582

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Via Zoom
  • Lecturer: Kaya Şahin, Fellow, SCAS. Associate Professor of History and Adjunct Associate Professor of Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Website
  • Organiser: Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Contact person: Klas Holm
  • Seminarium

Kaya Şahin, SCAS and Indiana University Bloomington, gives a seminar on "Imperial Performances: Circumcision Ceremonies for Ottoman Princes, 1457-1582". The talk will be followed by a Q&A session.


In my talk, I will discuss circumcision ceremonies organized by the Ottoman palace between 1457 and 1582. Activities within the ceremonies, such as parades, mock battles, banquets and scholarly discussions allowed individuals and groups within the Ottoman political-military elite, and members of urban communities, to perform their identities and assert their place in the Ottoman social order. These particular ceremonies allow us to discuss the origins and contents of Ottoman ceremonial culture, which borrowed themes and motifs from the Byzantines, the Venetians, and the myriad TurkoMuslim polities with whom the Ottomans maintained intense diplomatic and cultural relations. Next, they highlight the elevation of male circumcision, a fundamental ritual in all Islamic societies, into a major dynastic event that addressed the entire Ottoman polity as well as its interlocutors and competitors in East and West. Finally, they show how, in early modern societies, public ceremonies served as instruments of governance by creating highly visible, memorable, and relatively participatory events, and by constituting new spaces for political and cultural interactions.

For more information and the Zoom link, please see the enclosed PDF file or http://www.swedishcollegium.se/subfolders/Events.html.

Additional information