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Ottomans Online

June 14, 2021 – December 31, 2021

The Skilliter Centre at Newnham College, Cambridge University, hosts lively webinars on Ottoman history and culture. Recent talks include Selim Kuru: A Queer Cosmology: Male Ottoman Poets and the Power of Poetry; Amit Bein: Not so distant neighbor: Turkey and the Middle East in the 1930s; William Kynan-Wilson: Frames and Fashion: Ottoman Costume Books as Material Texts; and Onur İsçi: Turkish Diplomacy and the 1936 Montreux Convention, which remain available online.

The centre was set up as a bequest by Dr Susan Skilliter, who lectured in Turkish Studies at the University of Cambridge in 1965–1985. She always declared that she owed her inspiration in Turkish Studies to Professor Paul Wittek whose unpublished work on the genesis of Anglo-Ottoman trade and diplomacy in the late 16th century she took up. She became an international authority in the field with her book William Harborne and the Trade with Turkey, 1578-1582 (OUP, 1977). Dr. Skilliter was planning a second major volume at the time of her death (September 1985).

Since Dr. Skilliter’s death, there has been no permanent provision for a specialist in Turkish Studies in the University of Cambridge. This makes her bequest to Newnham College all the more significant, far-sighted and generous.

As well as being a Fellow of Newnham, Dr. Skilliter was also on the Council of the Royal Asiatic Society, the Hakluyt Society, the Society for Mediterranean Studies and the Council of Management of the British School at Ankara, acting as Honorary Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society for seven years. She was an avid book collector and her collection is particularly rich in first editions of 17th-century travellers to Turkey such as Tavernier and Busbequius.

The Centre continues to grow the collection and to support Turkish/Ottoman Studies through its scholarships, conferences, seminars, publications and projects.

The library catalogue can be reached through the IDiscoverwebsite.

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