Science, Technology and Learning in the Ottoman Empire

Western Influence, Local Institutions, and the Transfer of Knowledge

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  • Imprint: Ashgate Variorum
  • Illustrations: Includes 9 b&w illustrations
  • Published: February 2004
  • Format: 224 x 150 mm
  • Extent: 352 pages
  • Binding: Hardback
  • ISBN: 978-0-86078-924-6
  • ISBN Short: 9780860789246
  • BL Reference: 509.5'61'09
  • LoC Control No: 2003050260
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  • Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, IRCICA, Turkey
  • Series : Variorum Collected Studies Series: CS773
  • The aim of these studies is to explore the scientific activity and learning that took place within the Ottoman empire, a subject often neglected by both historians of science and of the Ottoman world. Professor Ihsanoglu has been a pioneer in this field. In several papers he analyses the continuing tradition of Arabic science inherited by the Ottomans, together with the contributions made by the conquered Christian and incoming Jewish populations. The main focus, however, is upon the Ottoman reaction to, accommodation with, and eventual acceptance of the Western scientific tradition. Setting this in the context of contemporary cultural and political life, the author examines existing institutions of learning and the spread of ‘Western-style’ scientific and learned societies and institutions, and charts the adoption of the ideas and methods of Western science and technology. Two case studies look in particular at astronomy and at the introduction of aviation.

  • Contents: Preface; Some remarks on Ottoman science and its relation with European science & technology up to the end of the 18th century; The introduction of western science to the Ottoman world: a case study of modern astronomy (1660–1860); Ottoman science: the last episode in the Islamic scientific tradition and the beginning of the European scientific tradition; Bashoca Ishak Efendi pioneer of modern science in Turkey; Some critical notes on the introduction of modern sciences to the Ottoman state and the relation between science and religion up to the end of the 19th century; The initial stage of the historiography of Ottoman Medreses (1916–65), the era of discovery and construction; The genesis of 'Darulfünun': an overview of attempts to establish the first Ottoman university; The group of scholars known as members of Besiktas Cemiyet-i Ilmiyyesi (Besiktas Learned Society); Genesis of learned societies and professional associations in Ottoman Turkey; Modernization efforts in science, technology and industry in the Ottoman Empire (18–19th centuries); Aviation: the last episode in the Ottoman transfer of western technology; Modern Turkey and the Ottoman legacy; Index.

  • About the Author: Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is Director General of the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture, Istanbul, and President of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science, Division of History of Science

  • Reviews: 'They show just how original and monumental is [Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu's] contribution to our understanding of science in the Ottoman Empire.' Nature

    'Ihsanoglu's essays on the Ottoman scientific tradition and its encounters with modern European science should be read by all scholars and students interested in the relationship between diverse global cultures and the transnational history of science and technology.' Technology and Culture

    'This collection of twelve essays by the world's leading scholar in Ottoman science is an important contribution to our understanding of the scientific activities that were carried out during the six-century history of the Ottoman Empire (1299–1923). Indeed, it may be said to be an essential work inasmuch as its corrects and supersedes the earlier works of A. Adnan Adivar and Aydin Sayili.' Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences

    'Ihsanoglu's overall message is stimulating. His work expands our knowledge of Ottoman scientific and technological interaction with Europe and, more crucially, it invites new ways of looking at a complex history.' BJHS