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Methodological Statement - Local and Imperial Epistemologies

Entry from the account book

Entry from the account book, Ottoman Imperial Archive.

 

"Livadya kazası kocabaşılarının Balciver Çiftliği bedel-i iltizamından zimmetleri, sene 234, 5500 guruş." [The debt of the Greek notables of Livadya district from the tax-farm contract for the chiftlik of Balciver, year 1818-1819, 5500 ghurush.]

We would like to underline a key methodological premise of the MapOE:  Regional and imperial archives complement each other. However, we approach these archives, not only as complementary sources, but also as two different competing epistemic programs, with different modes of expressing, knowing, measuring and classifying regional realities. For instance, the spatial logic in these documents was often different. They defined boundaries of individual or collective property in different ways: while the documents in the Ali Pasha Archive defined the boundaries using local knowledge, the imperial documents insisted on certain fixed definitions, compatible with the imperial cadastral documents prepared during the Ottoman conquests in the fifteenth century, which were housed in Istanbul. In other words, these two document sets provide us with two different senses of place and space. Through our visualization, MapOE problematizes these discrepancies between regional and imperial epistemologies, or rather the plurality involved in these. In other words, the visual corpus we are developing represents this plurality of the physical fabric of landscape, relations, and events as they were reflected in the different epistemological programs of the regional and imperial archives.