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Research in the fields of Jewish, Ottoman, and Middle East history is often focused either on the late Ottoman period (variously defined), or on successor regimes (e.g. Republican Turkey, Arab and Balkan nation-states, British mandate Palestine or French mandate Syria). Moreover, scholars often divide the worlds of Ottoman Jewry into two discrete zones defined by geography, culture, or language: the Ladino-speaking Jews of the Balkans and Anatolia, and the Arabic-speaking Jews of the Eastern Mediterranean and parts of North Africa. Yet due to the parameters imposed by multiple (sub)fields, language limitations, and other factors, these various Jewish groups–who also intersect with Greek-speaking Jews, Neo-Aramaic-speaking Jews, Yiddish-speaking Jews and others–are often not conceptualized within an integrated framework.

Working across these temporal and geographic divides reveals the legacies and afterlives of the Ottoman Empire after its demise, continuity as well as change across space and across moments of historical rupture, and the mechanisms by which the Ottoman Empire took on meaning as an object of memory within and in light of later political, cultural, and social developments.