Istanbul hosts first int’l Levantine conference
Istanbul will become the host of the first international conference on Levantine communities, bringing prominent scholars from all around the world together.The first international conference focused on the Levantine communities of the Eastern Mediterranean is kicking off in Istanbul today and will remain in the city until Nov. 5.
Titled “The Levantines: Commerce and Diplomacy,” the conference features keynote speeches by prominent scholars
Philip Mansel, Çağlar Keyder, Richard Wittmann, and Paolo Girardelli, according to a press release on the event.
The conference has attracted more than 30 international scholars who will be arriving in Istanbul to present papers, the statement said.
The Ottoman Levant is generally defined as an area covering most of the present-day
Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt, and its influence extended far beyond the borders of those countries.
The Ottoman Empire was made up of many different ethnic groups, including Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians and Jews. They were joined over the centuries by traders and diplomats from every part of Europe, from England to Slovenia, both Catholic and Protestant, many of whom settled in the region and intermarried with the local population.
In recent years, it has become common to refer to these European settlers in Ottoman lands as Levantines. However, research into the cosmopolitan world of the Levantines is still in its infancy and much remains to be discovered about their way of life and their legacy.
Quentin Compton-Bishop, chairman of the board of trustees of Levantine Heritage Foundation (LHF), said “From the date we first announced the call for papers to the deadline for submissions, the Foundation has been inundated by proposals and abstracts from senior lecturers and
academics from all over the world; more than could be fit into a three-day event.”