Victor Taki is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of History and Classics at the University of Alberta. Dr. Taki's research interests include the cultural history of war, diplomatic history, modern history, orientalism, Ottoman history, Russian history, Russo-Turkish relations, and symbolic geography. He is working in the Place, Belonging, and Otherness Research Theme.
Tsar and Sultan: The Ottoman Empire under Russian Eyes
Faculty of Arts, Department of History and Classics
This project explores different forms of Russia's engagement with the Ottoman Empire between the late 17th and the early 20th century. It addresses wars, diplomacy, religious pilgrimages, scientific exploration and tourism that took Russians to Turkey and treats them as an important, yet understudied aspect of Russia's discovery of the Orient. While it fills in a significant gap in the on-going discussion of Russian Orientalism, this project also engages with the interdisciplinary problems of social production of space and construction of otherness. It challenges the quasi-exclusive focus on space as mental construct at that hitherto characterized studies of imagined geographies. It also demonstrates that the religious, military, diplomatic and tourist encounters between the Russians and the Ottomans always included a third party (Ottoman subject population or Western European diplomats and military). The multisided character of these encounters allows overcoming the binary logic that often dominates the analysis of otherness in history, anthropology and cultural studies.