Around 24 emerging scholars enrolled in the Summer School Program organized by OIB “Reading and analyzing Ottoman manuscript sources” which is taking place in Beirut, Lebanon, between the 27th and 30th of August 2017, visited the AUB Libraries Archives and Special Collections Department on the morning of August 27th.
The workshop is co-organized by the French Institute of the Near East (Ifpo), the Orient-Institut Beirut (OIB), the University of Balamand, the Lebanese University (Doctoral School of Literature, Humanities and Social Sciences), the Center for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Central Asian Studies (CETOBaC), the Ankara Sosyal Bilimler Üniversitesi, the İbn Haldun Üniversitesi, and the Japan Center for Middle Eastern Studies (JaCMES) with the support of the Open Jerusalem Project. The summer school is devoted to reading and analyzing Ottoman manuscript and primary sources. This is the second edition, following the summer school of 2016 in Amman, Jordan. During the four-day program the young researchers (mostly MA and PhD candidates, but also postdocs) are introduced to ways of reading, combining and analyzing manuscript sources from various archives of the Ottoman era, produced at local, provincial and imperial levels. The aim is to overcome the initial difficulties researchers often face when working with archival material from the Ottoman period, one of which is an administrative terminology no longer in use today, and to get exposed to the archival terrain.
The scholars spent an hour at the Archives, delving into several Ottoman resources. On display were various Ottoman manuscripts from our collections, some Ottoman newspapers, magazines, periodicals, almanacs, Salnamas related to Wilayat Beirut, photos of Ottoman commissioners on visit to the Syrian Protestant College to give SPC students their medical exams on-site, photos from the late 19th century, documents related to WWI and SPC, maps and various documents related to the Ottoman provinces in the late 19th century (e.g. awqafs, legal documents related to Haifa, Beirut, etc.).
The excitement of the researchers was noticeable, as many had not been aware of the existence of these resources in the region, or at AUB. The visit was a great opportunity for the scholars to liaise with one another, exchange ideas and interests, and to get to know the Ottoman resources available at the AUB Libraries. Many will sure be back, with longer dissertation and book projects.