Inventing Laziness: The Culture of Productivity in Late Ottoman Society

Meliz Hafez

Date: Monday, Oct 24, 2022

Start time: Noon

Location: via Zoom

Audience: Free and open to the public

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Neither laziness nor its condemnation are new inventions, however, perceiving laziness as a social condition that afflicts a 'nation' is. In the early modern era, Ottoman political treatises did not regard the people as the source of the state's problems. Yet in the nineteenth century, as the imperial ideology of Ottomanism and modern discourses of citizenship spread, so did the understanding of laziness as a social disease that the 'Ottoman nation' needed to eradicate. Inventing Laziness asks what we can learn about Ottoman history over the long nineteenth-century by looking closely into the contested and shifting boundaries of the laziness - productivity binary, Melis Hafez explores how 'laziness' can be used to understand emerging civic culture and its exclusionary practices in the Ottoman Empire.

Sponsor(s): Humanities Research Center, History Department

Event contact: Rani Sisavath,