An unwritten rule reigns over my field: Art-historical and archaeological studies on ancient Mesopotamia do not integrate Ottoman primary sources, while historians of the late Ottoman Empire are not interested in art-historical and archaeological method and theory. Although there are several notable exceptions, the traditional disciplinary barriers stand firm.
My interest in a critical reading of local sources has recently evolved into a side project which will be published as a series of articles. The topics I have worked on so far range from exhibition practices in the Imperial Museum (Müze-yi Hümâyun) to the institutionalization of the School of Fine Arts (Sanâyi-i Nefîse Mektebi), and from the relationship between archaeology, land tenure/ownership, and local communities in Ottoman Iraq to the networks of Ottoman government representatives overseeing the excavations. A particular emphasis will be paid to all those local players who had profound influence on the ground but have been systematically left out of official narratives.