Ottoman history video reaches hundreds of thousands

Mostafa Minawi, associate professor of History and the director of the Ottoman & Turkish Studies Initiative, collaborated with the TED_Ed team to create a short primer video for students interested in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Minawi took inspiration from his many years teaching an interactive course at Cornell titled "Introduction to the Ottoman Empire," which he offers every year at the freshman level. 

Mostafa Minawi, associate professor of history and the director of the Ottoman & Turkish Studies Initiative, collaborated with the TED_Ed team to create a short primer for students interested in the history of the Ottoman Empire. The primer is part of Minawi’s public outreach efforts.

The video, "The Rise of the Ottoman Empire," explores the early days of the Ottoman Empire, as shrewd political rulers grew the principality into an intercontinental empire.  A "dig deeper" lesson created by Minawi accompanies the video.  It links to some of his online lectures and other sources useful for the study of the history of the Ottoman Empire. 

The video took a year to put together, and it was an effort with the TED-Ed team in the United States and animators in Turkey.  Minawi wrote the script and collaborated in all aspects of production, from the pronunciation of words to "frame and artistic style" concepts to edits. He had to make some difficult decisions about what to include and exclude to fit the five-minute time frame.  

The purpose of the video is to trigger curiosity and questions, not to answer all questions. The purpose stems from Minawi's interest in expanding Public History platforms for the study of the Middle East and North Africa. A second video that focuses on Ottoman history in the 19th and early 20th century is currently under discussion.

The public reach of this video is broad: it has been viewed 272,043 views times as of this writing.  

Minawi is on sabbatical writing a book tentatively titled When It All Falls Apart, Arab-Ottoman Imperialists of Istanbul at the End of Empire, which he hopes will be of interest to a wider public, as well as historians interested in lived experiences of everyday people at the turn of the 20th century. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Central European University (2020/21).

Watch The Rise of the Ottoman Empire.

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