The Politics of Giving in the Late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic (1853-1950)

The Skilliter Centre for Ottoman Studies Newnham College, Cambridge

10 – 13 July 2024


Wednesday 10 July

14.00-18.00 Registration


Thursday 11 July

10.00-11.30 Panel I : Society and Philanthropy
Chair: Kate Fleet (University of Cambridge)

Efi Kanner (University of Athens), Ottoman Society as an Extended Family: Philanthropy, Respectability and the Emergence of the Public Sphere in the Late Ottoman Empire.

Gabriel Doyle (Aix-Marseille Université), The Materiality of Giving: Gardens, Donations and the Transformation of Ottoman Istanbul.

Canan Bolel (University of Washington), Navigating the Waves of Anarchy: Apathy among the Jewish Community of Istanbul and the Dynamics of Philanthropy in the 1930s.


11.30-12.00 Coffee


12.00-13.00 Panel II : Philanthropy in Times of Conflict
Chair: Ebru Boyar (Middle East Technical University, Ankara)

Milena Methodieva (University of Toronto), Politics, Benevolence, and Patriotism: Refugee Support in the Late Ottoman Empire.

Münevver Hatipoğlu (Boğaziçi University, Istanbul), Donating in Times of Crisis: İane Practices During the Cretan Revolt (1866-1869) and the Balkan Crisis (1876- 1878).


14.30-15.30 Panel III : Organising Philanthropy
Chair: Milena Methodieva (University of Toronto)

Ceyda Karamürsel (SOAS, University of London), Eunuchs’ Mutual Aid Society: Race, Kinlessness, and the Politics of Giving after the Empire.

Yücel Yanıkdağ (University of Richmond), Benefactors Behind Barbed Wire: Ottoman Prisoners of War and the Greek Invasion of Anatolia, 1919-1922.


15.30-16.00 Coffee


16.00-17.00 Panel IV : Philanthropic Women
Chair: Amy Singer (Brandeis University)

Sena Hatip Dinçyürek (Orient-Institut Istanbul), The Benevolent Ladies in the Ottoman Empire: the Recipients of the Order of Mercy (Şefkat Nişânı) (1878- 1918).

Elif Yumru (University of Cambridge), Beyond Charity: Unveiling the Political Dimensions of Ottoman Women’s Philanthropy in the Aftermath of the Young Turk Revolution.


Friday 12 July

10.00-11.00 Panel V : Children and Charity
Chair: Amy Singer (Brandeis University)

Nazan Çiçek (Ankara University), Caring for Children through the Social Aid Branches of the People’s Houses: Shoes, Lunches and Circumcision Ceremonies (1933-1946).

Mesadet Maria Sözmen (University of California, Santa Barbara), Nurturing the Future: Intellectual Philanthropy and Charity Projects for Street Children in Early Cold War Turkey.


11.00-11.30 Coffee


11.30-12.30 Panel VI : Charitable Entertainment
Chair: Ceyda Karamürsel (SOAS, University of London)

Gábor Fodor (HUN-REN Research Centre for the Humanities, Institute of History, Budapest), Giving by Music: Hungarian Charity Concerts in Constantinople during the First World War.

Daniel-Joseph MacArthur-Seal (Scuola Superiore Meridionale, Naples), Occupation and Resilience: Charitable Entertainments in Occupied Istanbul, 1918-1923.


Free afternoon


Saturday 13 July


10.00-11.00 Panel VII : Propaganda and Philanthropy
Chair: Nazan Çiçek (Ankara University)

Kate Fleet (University of Cambridge), The British and the Balkans: British Relief Work in Istanbul 1912-1913.

Ebru Boyar (Middle East Technical University, Ankara), British Humanitarian Propaganda in Turkey: the Anglo-Turkish Relief Society and the 1939 Erzincan Earthquake.


11.00-11.30 Coffee


11.30-13.00 Panel VIII : Gifts and Diplomacy
Chair: Yücel Yanıkdağ (University of Richmond)

Onur Engin (University of Cambridge), Sonic Glorification: Cannons as Diplomatic Objects of Gift-Giving in the Ottoman Empire.

Mehmet Doğar (University of Cambridge), Turkish Fields, Italian Wheels: Mussolini’s Gift of a Tractor to Mustafa Kemal in 1929.

Eve Lacey (University of Cambridge), “Since Generous Things Prosper”: British Council Gifts to Turkey 1940-1946.


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