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MEMS Workshop. Domesticating Dragomans: Affect, Homosociality and Textual Circulations

E. Natalie Rothman, University of Toronto
Friday, October 12, 2018
4:00-5:30 PM
1014 Tisch Hall Map
The chapter under consideration is from a book in progress about dragomans (diplomatic interpreters) in seventeenth-century Istanbul and explores the relationship between (homosocial) space and affect in the making of a dragoman corps. Through two case studies it examines how Venetian officials sought (and often failed) to cultivate dragomans’ heteronormative affective ties and loyal Venetian political subjectivity through the practice of extended residential apprenticeship in the Venetian embassy compound (bailate) and attended technologies of surveillance and controlled textual circulation. The two cases explored here, of dragomans’ attempted unionization in 1660 and of an aborted love affair between a dragoman apprentice and the bailate barber in 1588, suggest the competing ways in which dragomans and their Venetian employers attempted to control publicity about potentially scandalous affairs, how they mobilized patronage networks that linked the bailate with Venetian metropolitan institutions and powerful patrons, and how the archival traces from which these cases of "misplaced" affect are reconstructed themselves need to be situated in the context of evolving diplomatic protocol and Ottoman--as much as Venetian--social structures and sexual regimes.
Building: Tisch Hall
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: Anthropology, European, History, Middle East Studies, Research
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS), Department of History