The Experience of Enemy Space: Istanbul Through the Eyes of the Spanish Other

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The focus of my research is the way in which Early Modern Spanish writers experienced and understood Ottoman people and cities, specifically Istanbul, within the cosmopolitan context of the Mediterranean. I intend to uncover the way in which the physical space of the city and its corresponding layers of significance were manipulated textually in Spanish captive, travel and fictional literature, as well as expose the function of space in the creation of identity and as an instrument in defining the Other. Applying both geographic and literary theory to textual representations of Istanbul, I will consider the extended history of the city and how the process of place-making has imposed distinct meanings on this urban space throughout the centuries. I will explore the dynamics of the relationship between Self and Other, how space comes into play in understanding and delineating the Self, and specifically how Spaniards and those within the Ottoman Empire understood each other considering their intimate contact and antagonist relationship in attempting to dominate the Early Modern Mediterranean. I will ultimately turn to Turkish texts, both modern works and selections from the Early Modern time period, in order to compare the Spanish understanding of the city with representations by those who examine the city from within. Such comparison will aid in the understanding of both the urban space itself and the complicated dynamics of the multicultural conviviality of the time period.


Keywords: Spanish literature, Captive literature, Ottoman Empire, Istanbul, Self/Other relations, Cosmopolitanism, Urban space
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Experience of Enemy Space, The


Dr. Jessica Boll

PhD student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI, USA

As a PhD student in Early Modern Spanish literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I am employing an interdisciplinary approach (essentially combining the Turkish, Spanish, and Geography departments of the university) in order to explore the representations of both Istanbul and Turks in sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spanish literature. I have been studying Turkish language and culture intensively since the summer of 2006, when I participated in the six-week Fatih University Summer Program in Istanbul. I have also spent extensive time studying and working in Spain as an undergraduate in the Honors Program at the University of Delaware and as a Master's student at Purdue University. My PhD Minor at UW-Madison is Cultural Geography, and I will be combining all three disciplines in order to carry out my dissertation research in the upcoming years.

Ref: H08P0529