Reading Clocks, Alla Turca explores the technological and social aspects of Ottoman temporal culture, where religious and secular powers competed and colluded for authority, the army tried to rationalize its systems of training and communication, and schoolboys complained about how long classes were. The conflicts that played out on the field of temporal systems were not along the axes one might expect, with secular, urban, rationalist, modernizing, and Europeanizing forces arrayed against rural, traditional, religious, and nationalist people and parties. Rather, religious institutions saw the rationalization of temporal culture as a way to extend their authority (the muezzin s call to prayer was the traditional way of counting the hours of the day, after all), and urban elites proclaimed their nationalism and their religiosity by their watches, both timepiece and jewelry. The image of Europe was, in a mirror of European Orientalism, deployed as both a rationalist model to be emulated (by, for example, the military) and a negative model of lazy and late aristocratic carelessness (by government administrators). Exploring sources as varied as lyric poetry, military manuals, school and military memoirs, and ferry timetables, Avner Wishnitzer lays out the full richness of Ottoman temporal culture in the nineteenth century."
|Publisher||University of Chicago Press|
|Rating||4/5 (23 users)|