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

By Jessica Boll.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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 a (post)modern Turkish text in order to compare the Spanish understanding of the city with that of a modern writer examining the same situation from within. Such comparison will aid in the understanding of both the urban space itself and the complicated dynamics of the multicultural coexistence of the time period.

Keywords: Spanish Literature, Captive Literature, Ottoman Empire, Istanbul, Self/Other Relations, Cosmopolitanism, Urban Space

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp.53-58. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 525.290KB).

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, Jessica is employing an interdisciplinary approach and 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. She has been studying Turkish language and culture intensively since the summer of 2006 when she participated in the six-week Fatih University Summer Program in Istanbul, and has recently returned from the eight-week Boğazici University Summer Program in Istanbul during the summer of 2008. She has also spent extensive time studying and working in Spain as an undergraduate in the Honors Program at the University of Delaware and as a Masters student at Purdue University. Her PhD Minor at UW-Madison is Cultural Geography, and she will be combining all three disciplines in order to carry out her dissertation research in the upcoming years.


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