Reading Clocks, Alla Turca: Time And Society In The Late Ottoman Empire

Hardcover | July 7, 2015

byAvner Wishnitzer

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Up until the end of the eighteenth century, the way Ottomans used their clocks conformed to the inner logic of their own temporal culture. However, this began to change rather dramatically during the nineteenth century, as the Ottoman Empire was increasingly assimilated into the European-dominated global economy and the project of modern state building began to gather momentum.  In Reading Clocks, Alla Turca, Avner Wishnitzer unravels the complexity of Ottoman temporal culture and for the first time tells the story of its transformation. He explains that in their attempt to attain better surveillance capabilities and higher levels of regularity and efficiency, various organs of the reforming Ottoman state developed elaborate temporal constructs in which clocks played an increasingly important role. As the reform movement spread beyond the government apparatus, emerging groups of officers, bureaucrats, and urban professionals incorporated novel time-related ideas, values, and behaviors into their self-consciously “modern” outlook and lifestyle. Acculturated in the highly regimented environment of schools and barracks, they came to identify efficiency and temporal regularity with progress and the former temporal patterns with the old political order.

Drawing on a wealth of archival and literary sources, Wishnitzer’s original and highly important work presents the shifting culture of time as an arena in which Ottoman social groups competed for legitimacy and a medium through which the very concept of modernity was defined. Reading Clocks, Alla Turca breaks new ground in the study of the Middle East and presents us with a new understanding of the relationship between time and modernity.

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From the Publisher

Up until the end of the eighteenth century, the way Ottomans used their clocks conformed to the inner logic of their own temporal culture. However, this began to change rather dramatically during the nineteenth century, as the Ottoman Empire was increasingly assimilated into the European-dominated global economy and the project of mode...

Avner Wishnitzer is a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University. He resides with his family in Jerusalem.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:July 7, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022625772X

ISBN - 13:9780226257723

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Note on Terms, Names, and Transliteration
Introduction

Chapter 1 Reading Clocks, Alaturka
Chapter 2 Clerk Work
Chapter 3 Military Time
Chapter 4 On Time for School
Chapter 5 Ferry Tales
Chapter 6 No Time to Lose

Conclusion Reading Clocks, Alafranga

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Editorial Reviews

“From sociology via anthropology to social and cultural history, time as an aspect of social relationships has recently become an object of empirical scholarly inquiry. Reading Clocks, Alla Turca is the first extensive study that brings the insights from these fields to bear on Ottoman history. It is a study of the changing temporal regimes, daily rhythms, and the meaning of time among the Ottoman state elite from the eighteenth century to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. . . . While Reading Clocks is a study in social history, it is highly relevant for scholars working in other fields as well.”