Friday, April 13, 2018
12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Italian Studies, 190 Hope St., Room 102
This presentation explores the entanglement of Venetian and Ottoman modalities of knowledge-production in the shared Dalmatian borderlands from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. It asks how the Dalmatian border was fixed—both materially and epistemologically—through the efforts of dragomans (diplomatic interpreters) who shuttled across the region, recalibrating Venetian and Istanbulite metropolitan understandings of sovereign space and constituting the archives thereof. Following dragomans’ complex itineraries and documentary practices across Ottoman and Venetian institutions, the paper first situates the archives of Dalmatian border negotiations as they developed in chanceries in Zara (Zadar), Istanbul, and Venice, then foregrounds the centrality of dragomans’ specialized knowledge to all three archival sites. In exploring the modalities—practices, people, genres—through which Venetian and Ottoman forms of political sense-making in Dalmatia were commensurated, the presentation brings together multiple scales of analysis, from the hyper-local skirmishes that typified the borderlands to the large-scale inter-imperial dynamics in which local conflicts were inevitably implicated, and which they also helped shape. It concludes by outlining the significance of attending to early modern trans-imperial archival practice more broadly.