The Experience of Enemy Space: Istanbul Through the Eyes of the Spanish Other
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
Dr. Jessica Boll
PhD student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Wisconsin-Madison