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“Between Empires: Greek Slaves and Renegades in Ottoman North Africa (1600-1830)”

Constantine Theodoridis, History

Mon, 4/22 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 103 Scheide Caldwell

Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies

Throughout the early modern period Ottoman corsairs enslaved thousands of Venice’s Greek subjects along the coast of North Africa. At the same time, many Ottoman Greeks made a career in the region as traders, slave-ransomers, and sailors, while others converted to Islam, earning the label of “renegades” among contemporaries. Telling the hitherto neglected story of the Greeks of North Africa offers an avenue to rethink the history of the Ottoman Mediterranean through the agency of the actors crossing between its two shores. Furthermore, in this lecture I argue that the slave trade in Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, provided a context in which the identification of the Greeks as a distinct—albeit imprecisely defined—ethno-religious group was formulated and reproduced.

Constantine Theodoridis is a doctoral candidate in the history department, currently writing a dissertation on the rituals and networking practices that sustained European-Ottoman relations between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century. He holds an MA in Colonial and Global History and an MA in Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, both from Leiden University in the Netherlands. His published work to date has focused on several aspects of the early modern Dutch encounter with Islam and the Ottoman Empire.

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