CFA: Habsburgs and Ottomans: intensive summer school of primary sources (second circular - updated)

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Call for Applications

Habsburgs and Ottomans
Intensive summer school of primary sources

July 22 - August 2, 2019, Vienna



 Please see highlighted sections

New application deadline: May 10, 2019

The Institut für Neuzeit- und Zeitgeschichtsforschung (INZ) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna is offering a two-week intensive summer school devoted to comparative reading and analysis of early modern (1500-1800) Habsburg and Ottoman primary sources. During the two-week program that will be held at the INZ’s centrally-located building in the second district of Vienna, participants will decipher and analyze many different types of early modern documents in German in the first week and Ottoman Turkish in the second week. They will also listen to at least eight lectures by experienced scholars in both fields.

The relationship between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire was uneasy yet mutually formative and transformative. From the first diplomatic contacts in the early 1500s through the end of the eighteenth Century (and beyond), the Habsburgs and Ottomans mutually shaped each other’s policies, priorities, and imperial visions through a constant cycle of war, peace, and exchange. This interaction has produced a copious amount of archival sources including diplomatic instructions and reports, public and private letters, diaries, testimonies, travelogues (seyahatnameler/Reiseberichte), final summaries (tezkire/Hauptrelation) and many other types of documents.

However, there has been a major shortcoming in the scholarship to this day concerning the common histories of the Habsburg Monarchy and Ottoman Empire: a comparative use of their archives in early modern Habsburg and Ottoman studies has lagged far behind the use of Venetian, French, and British archives. The explanation might be in the research trends of recent decades prioritizing the broader Mediterranean world or relative difficulty of concurrently mastering complexities of early modern Germanic and Ottoman Turkish documents in comparison to archival sources in Romance languages. This intensive summer school aims to address this research gap by fulfilling two goals: first, introducing graduate students and early career researchers to the intricacies of Habsburg and Ottoman primary sources in an intensive two-week program, and second, giving researchers an opportunity to explore on-site the rich archival collections in Vienna.

The summer school program includes guided tours of the following archives:

  • Haus-, Hof-, und Staatsarchiv (HHStA): A great portion of the Habsburg imperial archives up to the modern era is held at the HHStA, including the extraordinarily comprehensive Turcica series which holds documents mainly in German and other European languages as well as some in Ottoman Turkish. The Turcica collections offer a plethora of research opportunities in all conceivable fields of research (political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, legal etc.) concerning the common histories of the Habsburg Monarchy and Ottoman Empire.
  • Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv (AVA): A great number of governmental archival collections concerning war and finance chambers are located here. There is also an extensive collection of noble family archives.
  • Sammlung von Handschriften und alten Drucken, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek: The Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books at the Austrian National Library holds one of the richest collections of early modern Ottoman Turkish manuscripts in Europe.

Course content: The majority of the documents studied and analyzed during the classes will be broadly related to all aspects of early modern Habsburg-Ottoman diplomacy. At the center of analysis, there will be travelogues, official instructions and reports, private letters as well as final summaries that are written by diplomats.

However, participants will also be able to analyze brief samples of early modern documents produced by Habsburg and Ottoman chancelleries as well as excerpts from a variety of manuscripts.

Course program and lectures: The first week of the program (July 22-26) will be devoted to Habsburg sources while the second week (July 29-Aug 02) will be devoted to Ottoman materials. In addition to daily morning classes offered by experienced teachers (4 x 50 minutes every day between 8:30-12:30), senior academics and experts in both fields will deliver afternoon lectures based on a particular type of document.


The confirmed lecturers include:


Ottomanists: Suraiya Faroqhi (Istanbul), Rhoads Murphey (Birmingham), Sandor Papp (Szeged), and Claudia Römer (Vienna).

Habsburg lecturers: A new list of Habsburg lecturers will be announced later.


Archival visits will take place during weekdays.

Language: The language of instruction will be English. There are no linguistic prerequisites for registration. However, the organizers would like to remind that at least an intermediate level of reading knowledge in both German and Ottoman Turkish is required for efficient completion of the program.

Who can apply? The program is geared toward graduate students and postdoctoral/early career researchers. More senior researchers may also apply, but priority will be given to younger applicants in case the number of applicants exceeds the registration quota.

How to apply? Please submit your application by filling the online application form.

Registration and program fees (UPDATED): Participants may choose to register in the first, second, or both weeks of the program. The classroom quota is limited to 20 participants in both weeks.

The summer school now has financial backing from the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the directorate of the INZ which allowed a reduction in the program fees. The reduced new fees are 200 Euros per week and 400 Euros for two weeks. Prices will be the same for all existing registrants and prospective applicants. Those who apply for both weeks will be given priority over those who apply for a single week. Based on these new prices, no financial aid is offered.

The fee covers course materials, all program activities (including seminars and archival visits), and daily refreshments. It does not include housing, international travel, inner-city transportation in Vienna, medical and travel insurance, or any passport or visa costs.

New application deadline: May 10, 2019


Visa applications: For applicants who need a visa to travel to Austria, the INZ may provide a letter of acceptance which can be presented during the visa application to the Austrian embassy at the applicant’s country of residence.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Yasir Yilmaz at

The summer school is organized by Prof. Arno Strohmeyer (Vienna), Dr. Yasir Yilmaz (Olomouc), and Dr. M. Fatih Calisir (Istanbul)