This is the second monthly digest. For those new to Liberating Narratives, I send out a general update at the end of each month.
This month features a short story about my time in Bursa in July and a few thoughts about my travels in Ghana these past two weeks. I apologize for sending this post out late. I had some travel hiccups today.
This newsletter journey has been an incredible one so far. I love watching this little project grow as more people subscribe each week. Thank you for being so supportive. I’ve been excited about planning and thinking about future posts. If you have thoughts or recommendations for topics you want me to write about, please share them with me.
What I’ve Published
7 October - “‘At Last I Defended Myself’: 400 Years of Resistance to the Transatlantic Slave System” - This weekly post was for paid subscribers. I discussed the tendency of world history textbooks to minimize their presentation of resistance by enslaved Africans. In this essay, I focus on why we need to include more discussion of resistance in our classes, resistance at sea, everyday resistance on plantations, rebellions by enslaved Africans, and what this resistance tells us about the role of Africans in developing ideas about freedom and liberty. The post includes excerpts from primary sources, visual sources, and maps.
14 October - “‘A Total Abolition of Slavery’: The Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave System” - This weekly post was for paid subscribers. I discussed the tendency of world history textbooks to focus on White abolition. In this essay, I focused on how we include the long history of resistance, the writings about abolition by Africans, and the role of rebellions by enslaved Africans in explaining the reasons for abolition. The post includes excerpts from primary sources, visual sources, and maps.
15 October - “‘Addicted to the Coffeehouse’: Snapshots from the Ottoman Empire” - This was the free monthly post for all subscribers that introduced the focus for the month. In this post, I discussed the challenge of teaching the long history of the Ottomans in world history classes and introduced the idea of the Ottomans as a “multiethnic, multilingual, multiracial, and multireligious” empire. I also discuss how we can use five visual snapshots to tell the history of the Ottomans. I begin with an early seventeenth-century illustration of an Ottoman coffeehouse. The post includes an excerpt from a primary source, visual sources, and maps.
21 October - “‘A Great and Important City’: Bursa and the Beginning of the Ottoman Empire” - This weekly post was for paid subscribers. I discussed the challenge of teaching the first century of the Ottoman Empire (at this point, it was an Emirate) given the lack of contemporary sources. I then focused on using the earliest extant Ottoman mosque in Bursa to highlight the inclusive and syncretic policies of the early Ottomans. The post includes an excerpt from a primary source, photographs of architecture, and maps.
28 October - “An Elephant in Belgrade: The Ottoman Empire as an Afroeurasian Empire in the Sixteenth Century” - This weekly post was for paid subscribers. I discussed a painting of an execution by an elephant from the Süleymanname as a way to see how the Ottoman Empire, at the height of its power, linked together ideas from Europe, Central Asia, and the Indian Ocean world. The post includes visual sources and maps.