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Ottoman Conceptual History

Challenges and Prospects

Alp Eren Topal and Einar Wigen


In this article, we discuss the pitfalls and benefits of conceptual history as an approach to Ottoman studies. While Ottoman studies is blossoming and using a wider set of tools to study the Ottoman past, Ottoman intellectual history is still resigned to a life-and-works approach. This absence of synthesizing attempts has left intellectual history in the margins. In addition to the lack of new, theoretically sophisticated accounts of how Ottoman intellectual and political changes were intertwined, the old Orientalist works still hold canonical status in the field. Drawing on recent developments in social and political history, conceptual history may be a good way of doing self-reflective longue durée intellectual history. Ottoman conceptual history may also offer nonspecialists more sophisticated bases for comparison with non-Ottoman cases.

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About Key Concepts and How to Study Them

Jan Ifversen

The article explores the object and the methodology of conceptual history, by elaborating on Reinhart Koselleck's idea of key concepts, and proposes to study them according to two different aspects of meaning: The representational aspect, which touches upon the relations between words and concepts and studies words and concepts within semantic fields, and the referential aspect, which brings in both the social history reflected in semantic changes and the contexts in which the concepts serve as factors, and which make the use of the concepts possible. The article concludes with a methodological suggestion for the use of digitized textual databases for diachronic as well as synchronic histories of concepts.

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Notions of Mobility in Argentina

A Discussion of the Circulation of Ideas and Their Local Uses and Meanings

Dhan Zunino Singh and Maximiliano Velázquez

The following critical review of notions of mobility in Argentina is motivated by the rapid spread of this globalized term and how it is being appropriated by transport scholars, policymakers, and technicians. Our concern as sociologists – now involved in cultural history and urban planning – and as members of the Argentinean University Transport Network, is the lack of a profound discussion that allows us to talk about a mobility turn.

We argue that the movement from transport to mobility tends to be a semantic change mostly because social sciences and humanities do not lead it, as experienced in other countries. Moreover, we believe that the particular way in which the notions of mobility spread in Argentina must be understood in the context of circulation and reception of ideas, experts, capital and goods, and re-visiting center–periphery debates.

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Disarticulated Nomos

The Buryats Against Sacred Lake Baikal on Olkhon Island

Maryam Pirdehghan


The significance of the state of the water of the sacred Lake Baikal in Buryat Indigenous society on Olkhon Island is so great that it is accompanied by a series of canons. These are rooted in certain folk narratives that define the lake as the giver of life, saviour, and maker of meanings. However, environmental narratives produced by the Russian media regarding ecological challenges, influenced by the government's shaky environmental policies, have presented Baikal as shifting from being a centre of good to a centre of evil. This image has resulted in a transformation of the normative universe among Olkhon's Buryats, leaving them with a semantic change in their religious life and diminishing the sense of responsibility in Buryat society towards the lake.

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A Tale of Two Freedoms; Semantic Struggles in Roman Antiquity?; Beyond Reception: A Historiography of Concepts in Full Right

Hugo Bonin, Alexandra Eckert, and Andrés Jiménez Ángel

because the term would have implied the power to spare. Instead, Caesar favored the term lenitas, thereby expressing his desire to avoid crudelitas (cruelty) during the civil war. Jan Timmer proposes that semantic changes in the fields of friendship

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Why Curating Live Arts Now

(on contingency and curation)

Adam Kinner

substantive. And yet, what opportunity for thought does a semantic change provide? What does the word, the way it calls forth other discourses, make possible? I wonder what my body on the stairs has to do with the question to which it stands as an

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Fortune, Felicity and Happiness in the Early Modern Period


Katrin Röder and Christoph Singer

states of existence (material wealth, flourishing, bliss, the good life, the common good) is, however, the result of a long process of semantic change that is convincingly described by Phil Withington: 2 being ‘derived from the Old Norse noun hap

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The Social Life of Contentious Concepts

Ronald S. Stade

understand semantic change. In the twentieth century, generations of anthropologists purged both kinds of semantic discontinuity from their ethnographies. Their ambition was to present unambiguous cultural meanings for the sake of creating images of

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Conceptualizing an Outside World

The Case of “Foreign” in Dutch Newspapers 1815–1914

Ruben Ros

. Digital Conceptual History The mundanity of the concept also provides a rationale for the use of large-scale corpora and computational methods. Since the goal of this investigation is the mapping of long-term semantic change in a large body of source

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Transformation of the Concept of Kyoyang (Self-Cultivation) in Korean Print Media, 1896–1936

Ah-reum Kim

cultural productivity.” 6 By investigating the semantic changes of kyoyang that appeared in media texts produced by the reformist media intellectuals, this article reveals the ways kyoyang was entangled with modern print media to produce cultural