© Philip Bockholt

Visit from the Specialised Information Service (FID) Middle East-, North Africa- and Islamic Studies

On 20 June, Volker Adam from the German Specialised Information Service (FID) Middle East-, North Africa- and Islamic Studies (Halle) visited the TRANSLAPT team and presented the many services that the FID provides in Germany. These services, like MENAlib, MENAsearch, and MENAdoc, equip both scholars and institutions in Germany with access to academic literature and primary sources in the languages of the region such as Arabic, Persian, and (Ottoman) Turkish. The meeting featured, among other things, discussions about the accessibility of foreign language books in Germany, academic publishing institutions in Turkey, and the topic of open access publishing. The TRANSLAPT team is grateful for Volker Adam’s visit and looks forward to future collaborations.

© Wissenschaftskolleg

TRANSLAPT welcomes visiting fellow Derin Terzioğlu

Derin Terzioğlu from Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, will be present in Münster from 1 June to 15 July as a visiting fellow at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics. Dynamics of Tradition and Innovation”. Renowned for her work on confessionalisation in the Ottoman Empire, she will notably deliver a lecture on the “Politics of Islam in the Early Modern Ottoman Empire” on 18 June. In addition to her research activities, Terzioğlu will also convene with TRANSLAPT on several occasions. The TRANSLAPT team is delighted to welcome her, and also looks forward to fruitful discussions and insights into the early modern Ottoman Empire’s intellectual life and religious landscape.


Workshop on “Daily Life in the Turco-Iranian World” in Paris

On 12 June, Sacha Alsancakli took part in the workshop "Dévoiler le privé : le quotidien à travers les documents d’archives du monde turco-iranien, VIIIe–XVIIIe siècle", jointly organized by the Centre de Recherche sur le Monde Iranien (CeRMI, Paris) and the Institut de Recherches et d'Études sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman (IREMAM, Aix-en-Provence). Convened at Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris, the workshop focused on the private life of societies in the Turco-Iranian world, from Anatolia to Central Asia, and how documents such as archives, letters, account sheets, and others, allow historians to examine everyday activities and the private lives of populations. Alsancakli notably chaired the afternoon session of the workshop.

© Philip Bockholt

TRANSLAPT Team Meeting with Adam Sabra, Yui Kanda, and Derin Terzioğlu

On 7 June, the TRANSLAPT team convened with Adam Sabra (University of California, Santa Barbara) and visiting research fellows Yui Kanda (ILCAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies) and Derin Terzioğlu (Boğaziçi University, Istanbul). They discussed genealogy, focusing on scholars’ claims to sayyid and sharīf status in early modern Ottoman Egypt, which is the subject of Sabra’s forthcoming book. This discussion highlighted the connection between these lineage claims and the broader processes of scholarship composition and circulation in the Islamic world. The gathering also served as an opportunity to present the TRANSLAPT project and its various sub-projects, fostering a fruitful dialogue on translation and book culture in the Islamic world between the participants.

© Philip Bockholt

Research Day at the Philology Department

On 6 June, Hicham Bouhadi participated in the Philology Department's fourth Research Day at the University of Münster, presenting TRANSLAPT's work through a poster titled "TRANSLAPT: Translation and Transfer in the Eastern Mediterranean (1400–1750)." The event featured numerous short lectures and other poster presentations on the department's ongoing research projects. Bouhadi's presentation was well-received, drawing attention to the TRANSLAPT project for its detailed analysis and contribution to understanding the dynamics of translation in the early modern Eastern Mediterranean.

© Philip Bockholt

TRANSLAPT Welcomes Guest Researcher Yui Kanda

In June and July, the TRANSLAPT team is delighted to welcome Yui Kanda (ILCAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies) as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies. During her stay in Münster, she will deliver a lecture on one of her ongoing projects, which explores the pious endowments of Arabic and Persian manuscripts by Shah ʿAbbās (r. 1588–1629) to shrines in Iran. She will also investigate the circulation and reception of a lesser-known Persian metrical version of Kalīla and Dimna in the Ottoman domain. Along with Philip Bockholt, she is a co-organiser of the forthcoming conference on Textual Transmission in the Islamic Manuscript Age, featuring some twenty scholars from Japan and Germany.

© Tobias Sick

Learning Chaghatay and Studying Manuscripts in Prague

From 20 to 24 May, Tobias Sick took part in a Chaghatay course in Prague, which was organised by the Oriental Institute (Orientální ústav) of the Czech Academy of Sciences and taught by Eric Schluessel (George Washington University). The course featured both linguistic and paleographic instruction, discussing Chaghatay source materials such as documents, vernacular risāla works and even literary classics penned by famous authors such as ʿAlī Shīr Navāʾī (d. 906/1501) or the Moghul emperor Bābur (d. 937/1530). Apart from learning Chaghatay, Tobias Sick also conducted research in the manuscript collections of the National Library in Prague (Národní knihovna) and the Oriental Institute for his project on Ottoman translations of the Pandnāma-yi ʿAṭṭār.

© Sacha Alsancakli

Readership and Book Culture in a 17th-Century Ottoman Kurdish Emirate

On 22 and 23 May, Sacha Alsancakli was in Sheffield to take part in the second Kurdish Studies Conference organised by the Middle East Centre of the London School of Economics and the University of Sheffield. The conference gathered more than 70 speakers over two days to discuss all issues related to the Kurds and Kurdistan, as well as the latest research and developments in the burgeoning field of Kurdish studies. Alsancakli presented a paper titled "Readership and Book Culture in a 17th-Century Ottoman Kurdish Emirate: A Study of the Library of Abdāl Khān of Bidlīs", in which he discussed the Kurdish emir's wide-ranging literary and scholarly interests, including his patronage of translations from Persian to Ottoman Turkish.

© Philip Bockholt

Examination of Manuscripts in British Collections

Over the course of this week and the following, Philip Bockholt is engaged in a thorough examination of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish manuscripts housed in several British collections, including the British Library in London, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and the University Library in Cambridge. In addition to his manuscript research, he is convening with fellow scholars in the field, utilising this period to engage in scholarly discourse. He is also availing himself of the opportunity to explore additional Islamic objects on display in local museums.

© Asienzentrum, Universität Münster

Opening Ceremony of the Asian Studies Centre in Münster

Yesterday, the TRANSLAPT team joined the opening ceremony of the Asian Studies Centre, which is based at the Faculty of Philology at the University of Münster. The centre aims at networking scholars, students, and employees interested in Asian cultures, who conduct research on the region, or who are from Asian countries. TRANSLAPT is looking forward to cooperating with the Asian Studies Centre and utilising synergies to foster research and knowledge transfer about Asia both locally and internationally!

© Philip Bockholt

Ottoman Translation Lab

This week, Philip Bockholt and Sacha Alsancakli participated in the Ottoman Translation Lab in Paris and presented their current research projects. Philip Bockholt’s presentation was titled “Adjusting Moral Norms in Turkish Translations of the Qābūsnāma in the Contexts of Iran and Anatolia” and discussed the adaptation and interpretation of moral norms in Turkish translations of the Qābūsnāma, a well-known mirror for princes penned by the Ziyarid ruler Kay Kāvūs for his son. Sacha Alsancakli presented the Indo-Persian handbook of arts and crafts titled Majmūʿat al-Ṣanāyiʿ, an important work covering a variety of skills and techniques, which was translated into Ottoman Turkish in Bidlīs.

© Seda Kurt

Multilingual Exchange on Early Modern Translations

The TRANSLAPT team was delighted to welcome Dr. Seda Kurt for a lecture and discussion on "Şebüsterî'nin Gülşen-i Râz'ının Türkçe Tercümelerinin Erken Modern Dönem Osmanlı Edebiyatına Yansıması" held in Turkish. Dr. Seda Kurt, currently a TÜBİTAK Fellow at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, introduced her new research project on the Ottoman Turkish translations of the prominent Persian mystical work Gulshan-i Rāz (The Rose Garden of Mysteries) by Maḥmūd Shabistarī. It was also a special joy to welcome her host at RUB and TRANSLAPT cooperating partner, Professor Hülya Çelik, at the institute on this occasion.

© Transottomanica

“Transottoman Retro-Perspectives” in Leipzig

Last week, Tobias Sick took part in the concluding conference of the DFG Priority Programme “Transottomanica” (2017–2023), which brought together a large number of research projects dealing with transregional mobilities of people, knowledge, and objects. The TRANSLAPT Research Group, which was strongly influenced in its conception by Transottomanica approaches, will continue to promote these interdisciplinary and transregional perspectives and maintain contact with the researchers who took part in it for future research collaborations.

© Philip Bockholt

Exploring Turkish Translations and Safavid Book Culture with Colleagues in Japan

In February and March, Philip Bockholt will serve as a visiting research fellow at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. During this period, he will deliver two lectures focusing on Turkish translations of moral norms within Persian advice literature, as well as the book culture during the era of Shah ʿAbbās I in Safavid Iran (circa 1600). Additionally, he intends to use this time to expand his professional network by connecting with scholars engaged in the study of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish texts across various research institutes and universities in Japan.

© Sacha Alsancakli

Sacha Alsancakli joins TRANSLAPT

In early 2024, TRANSLAPT is delighted to announce the addition of a new member to its team! Sacha Alsancakli has joined the fully assembled TRANSLAPT team as a postdoctoral researcher, focusing on translations of encyclopaedic works into Ottoman Turkish, with a specific emphasis on art and craft compendia. The year 2024 holds promise for TRANSLAPT, as we eagerly anticipate numerous opportunities for research collaboration and knowledge exchange with fellow scholars and institutions.


New Cooperation Partners

The TRANSLAPT team is delighted to welcome its new cooperation partners: Hülya Çelik (Ruhr University Bochum), Kristof D’hulster (University of Bonn) and Paula Manstetten (University of Bonn). The research group will gain important insights into the fields of Ottoman literature and Manuscript Studies, Turkic literature and translation in the Mamluk Empire and the reception and translation of hagiographic-biographical works in the Ottoman Empire. As part of the cooperation with TRANSLAPT, there will be numerous opportunities for academic exchange in the coming years, including joint colloquia, conferences and guest lectures.

© Privat

Andrew Peacock as Mercator Fellow

The TRANSLAPT team is delighted to introduce the Mercator Fellow of the Emmy Noether Junior Research Group: Andrew Peacock, who is Bishop Wardlaw Professor in the School of History at the University of St Andrews. As a Mercator Fellow, he will regularly attend the group's meetings during the project period and contribute to the group's official events and research publications. Andrew Peacock's expertise will enrich our research perspectives and methods in the study of the history of inner-Islamic translation processes.

© MEDhis

Conference “New Approaches in Mediterranean Studies” in Madrid

On 27 and 28 November, Philip Bockholt will take part in the conference “New Approaches to Mediterranean Studies”, organised by the Interdisciplinary Thematic Platform (PTI) MEDhis of the CSIC in Madrid. For two days, numerous researchers with thematically diverse projects on the Mediterranean region will come together to discuss future perspectives for joint approaches. Philip Bockholt is very much looking forward to presenting TRANSLAPT and his research on the (Islamic) Eastern Mediterranean.

© Philip Bockholt

Recently released:

Authorship and Textual Transmission in the Manuscript Age: Contextualising Ideological Variants in Persian Texts

The newly published collective volume by Philip Bockholt and Sacha Alsancakli (Cahiers de Studia Iranica, Paris) addresses dynamic and collective authorship by examining how authors and scribes in the Persianate parts of the Islamic world produced, copied, and interpreted texts during the manuscript age within specific cultural contexts, out of political necessity and as a result of professional choices. The changes applied consist of minor corrections and amendments, as well as full-fledged reworkings of a text and modifications to its core ideological components.

© Thorsten Probst

Conference “Texts as Living Objects” in Paris

The conference “Texts as Living Objects” at the Institut d’études avancées de Paris from November 14th to 16th, organised by Philip Bockholt and Sacha Alsancakli, aims to examine how texts remained relevant throughout the pre-modern and modern periods in the Islamic world, with a focus on the phenomenon of dhayl (pl. dhuyūl) in Arabic, or ẕayl/ẕeyl in Persian and Turkish. As a prominent feature of Islamic manuscript transmission, the term dhayl refers to the act of continuing the narrative of a given text, typically a historical chronicle, up to the time of the amendment.


TRANSLAPT – Time to start!

During last week's kick-off meeting in Münster, all six members of TRANSLAPT had the opportunity to introduce themselves and discuss their approach to translations of various secular and religious genres. We are all deeply motivated to delve into the translation processes of Arabic and Persian into Ottoman Turkish during the early modern period, exploring the actors and intricacies involved. We express our gratitude for the presence of Mercator fellow Andrew Peacock from St Andrews, as well as the numerous guests who attended the event, including representatives from the University of Münster and other universities in the region. We are optimistic that the musical performance and the reception that followed will be cherished by all who were in attendance.


TRANSLAPT welcomes new team members!

As of October 1st, two new doctoral candidates have become part of the TRANSLAPT team. Hicham Bouhadi, hailing from Morocco, is embarking on a research journey centered around the translation of biographical and hagiographical works. Simultaneously, Muhammed Sofu, who comes from Istanbul and Berlin, will be immersing himself in the realm of translating Hadith works. Both sub-projects are dedicated to exploring the multifaceted translation processes within significant secular and religious literary genres of the early modern Eastern Mediterranean.


TRANSLAPT Kick-Off Meeting

Translation processes in the Islamic world of the early modern period, especially in the Ottoman Empire, have hardly been researched so far. The new Emmy Noether Junior Research Group TRANSLAPT aims to change this and invites everyone to its inaugural event on 19 October in Münster. In addition to the presentation of the TRANSLAPT team, the event will also feature a lecture by the renowned scholar Andrew Peacock (St. Andrews) on the topic of "Translation and the Making of Islamic Intellectual Culture", as well as a musical contribution by Maktub Trio.


Turkologentag in Vienna

This week, Philip Bockholt is in Vienna for the Turkologentag 2023, the fourth European Convention on Turkic, Ottoman and Turkish Studies. The event, held every two years at different universities, is organised in collaboration with the Society for Turkic, Ottoman, and Turkish Studies (GTOT). He is particularly excited about discussing translation processes into Ottoman Turkish during the early modern period.

© ECIS10

Tenth European Conference of Iranian Studies (ECIS 10) in Leiden

Last week Philip Bockholt attended the Tenth European Conference on Iranian Studies (ECIS10) in Leiden, the Netherlands (21-25 August). It takes place every four years and is organised by the Societas Iranologica Europaea (SIE). Besides giving a lecture on historiography in 16th-century Khurasan, he met with fellow researchers in the field of Iranian and Persianate Studies.

The Institute of Oriental Studies in Bamberg.
© M. Müller

Lecture at the Bayerisches Orientkolloquium

Last week, Philip Bockholt presented his research on inner-Islamic translation processes at the last session of the Bayerisches Orientkolloquium in Bamberg, Franconia. This was followed by a lively discussion with members from all areas of the Institute of Oriental Studies (Arabic Studies, Iranian Studies, Islamic Studies, and Turkology).

Emmy Noether Group Photo
© DFG / Svea Pietschmann

Emmy Noether Meeting in Potsdam

The Emmy Noether Meeting from 7 to 9 July 2023 in Potsdam, which Philip Bockholt attended, was again characterised by exchange and discussion. In addition to workshops, lectures and office hours, this year's science policy evening on the topic “Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Science: Opportunity or Risk?” was a particular highlight. In addition, the actress Anita Zieher took the guests on “Mathematical Walks with Emmy Noether”.

© Talha Özçelik

TRANSLAPT welcomes a new associate researcher

Starting from July 2023, Ahmet Aytep will begin his research within Philip Bockholt's new project focussing on Arabic-Ottoman translations of works of Qurʾānic exegesis (tafsīr), which is part of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics. Dynamics of Tradition and Innovation” at the University of Münster. As one of the most significant religious genres in Islamic culture, Arabic and Persian tafsīr works were translated into Ottoman Turkish several times and circulated widely in the Islamic lands.

© Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften

Joint lecture at the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig

Last week, Philip Bockholt and Tobias Sick gave a joint lecture on translations of Persian advice literature at the interdisciplinary conference “Vernetzte Sprachen und Religionen entlang der Seidenstraße – von der Antike bis in die Frühe Neuzeit”, which was organised by the Structural Commission "Africa – Asia – Europe" (AAE) at the Saxon Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig.

Having Özbek Pilavı after the İSAR talk at the Özbekler Tekkesi in Üsküdar.
© Philip Bockholt

Conference participation and TRANSLAPT talks in Istanbul

Last week, Philip Bockholt and Tobias Sick participated in the “Sufi Manuscript Cultures II” workshop at the Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Nafi Baba Tasavvuf, Tarih ve Kültürel Miras Araştırma Merkezi and gave a lecture at the İstanbul Araştırma ve Eğitim Merkezi (İSAR) at the Özbekler Tekkesi in Üsküdar. Further meetings at various universities and research centres gave them the opportunity to discuss possibilities for future cooperation.

With colleagues from Yerevan, Sarajevo, Warsaw, Hamburg and Tokyo at the Matenadaran.
© Philip Bockholt

Ninth Biennial Convention of the ASPS in Yerevan

This week Philip Bockholt is attending the Ninth Biennial Convention of the Association for the Study of Persianate Societies in Yerevan, Armenia. During his stay, he will meet with colleagues from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences and the Matenadaran / Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, the latter being one of the most important centres for manuscripts in the region.

© Sergej Tan

Breaking New Ground: On Persian in the Ottoman Empire

The conference “Multilingualism, Translation, Transfer: Persian in the Ottoman Empire”, held at the Gotha Research Centre from 27 to 29 April 2023, provided the platform for an in-depth discussion on the role of Persian in the Ottoman Empire. A keynote lecture by Andrew Peacock and thirteen presentations explored the importance and spread of Persian in the Ottoman Empire as part of the wider Persianate world and in relation to other languages of the region such as Arabic and Ottoman Turkish. The organisers intend to publish the results in a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal in 2024 – stay tuned!

© Philip Bockholt

Philip Bockholt as KFW Fellow at the DHI Paris

Philip Bockholt is currently a Karl Ferdinand Werner Fellow at the Deutsches Historisches Institut Paris, which will enable him to research Oriental manuscripts at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. In addition, his stay will give him the opportunity to deepen his existing academic contacts for Franco-German academic cooperation, including for the upcoming conference “Texts as Living Objects” in Paris this November.

© Bibliothèque nationale de France

Multilingualism, Translation, Transfer: Persian in the Ottoman Empire
Gotha Research Centre, 27-29 April 2023

The conference will provide a forum for discussion and collaboration between scholars of Ottoman, Iranian and Arabic Studies and beyond, who are concerned with the interactions of the three languages in the Ottoman Empire (elsine-i s̱elās̱e) and examine their functions as well as the interrelationships between languages, (literary) genres and disciplines. The conference is organised by Philip Bockholt, Hülya Çelik (Bochum), Ludwig Paul (Hamburg) and Ani Sargsyan (Hamburg). It is generously funded by the DFG Priority Programme 1981: Transottomanica and Gotha Research Library. For more information, please see the programme and the brochure.

The Spring School group at the International Academic Forum at Heidelberg University.
© Philip Bockholt

Participating in the Heidelberg Ottoman Siyakat Spring School 2023

Philip Bockholt and Tobias Sick are taking part in the Spring School 2023: Ottoman Siyakat Script led by renowned Ottomanists Hedda Reindl-Kiel and Claudia Römer, organised by the Institute of Islamic Studies at Heidelberg University and the DFG Priority Programme 1981: Transottomanica. As the system of Siyakat writing is a highly multilingual practice containing Turkish, Arabic and Persian elements, among others, it is of great importance for the study of multilingualism and knowledge transfer in this region during the early modern period.

With Yui Kanda and Nobuaki Kondo at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
© Philip Bockholt

Philip Bockholt as Guest Lecturer in Japan
(March 2023)

Philip Bockholt is currently a guest lecturer at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in Japan, where he lectures in Tokyo and Kyoto on the Persian world history Ḥabīb al-Siyar and the Turkish translations of Kalīla and Dimna. By examining details of the works' production, distribution and readership, he sheds light on the reception of Persian and Turkish pre-modern texts. He is also establishing contacts with Japanese colleagues in the field and planning future collaboration.