From the Empire with Love: Andreas David Mordtmann, Traveling Theory, and the Tale of Turkish Ethnology
Hande A. Birkalan-Gedik (Goethe Universität)
Paper short abstract:
Before anthropology was professionalized in 1925 in Turkey, several travelers shared pre-anthropological accounts. I focus on Andreas Mordtmann (1811-1879), a Protestant-German Orientalist and a cultural broker and his impact on ethnology, ethnography and anthropology in the 19th century-Turkey.
Paper long abstract:
Today, many anthropologists agree that Anthropology is the offspring of travel of some forms—perhaps also what Edward Said calls, of "traveling theory" (1982). My paper considers the life and works of Andreas David Mordtmann (Father) (1811-1879)—an Orientalist "traveling" to Istanbul with his "theory," who left an imprint on the pre-anthropological accounts of the Ottoman-Turkish ethnology, ethnography, and anthropology. As a German Orientalist, he not only traveled through Anatolia and published several of his travel notes, but also taught statistics, ethnology, and ethnography at the Mülkiye Mektebi (School of Political Science) in Istanbul. He was a prolific character in Oriental Studies, as he also took roles as a "cultural broker," to borrow the term for Ulf Hannerz (1992). He was a diplomat, judge, journalist, a Protestant missionary, and a teacher. He lived almost 35 years in Istanbul and died there, even obtaining a citizenship of the Ottoman Empire. He left many writings: legation reports, scientific and journalistic works, and personal letters. He was a contemporary witness to the late nineteenth century Ottoman cultural and political life. By participating in it, what he did was not too far from what anthropologists today describe as "participant observation." As a cultural translator for both sides—he produced knowledge about "the Orient" for his readers in Germany and carried his ethnological and ethnographic understandings to an Ottoman-Turkish audience in the 19th century.
'Peripheral' anthropologies of Europe. Their histories and intellectual genealogies [Europeanist network]