Lesser of Two Evils? Slavery in a Comparative Perspective in 19th Century American Travel Narratives of the Ottoman Empire
Lesser of Two Evils?
Slavery in a Comparative Perspective in 19th Century American Travel
Narratives of the Ottoman Empire
C. Özge Özmen Pushkin
Nam?k Kemal University, Turkey
Abstract Nineteenth century travels of Americans from various backgrounds to the Ottoman Empire resulted in abundant literature which largely went unnoticed by scholars of American literature in the following centuries. Genre of travel provides the authors with opportunities that are manifold. The most essential of these opportunities were usually the most obvious: representation of self, the young nation; representation of the other (the Ottoman Empire) and a comparative approach, the result of which would either be reassurance of the audience of the superiority of the nation or self-critique. The comparative approach was presented regarding many subjects but one of them was not as easily tackled by the authors as the rest: institution of slavery, its practices and repercussions in both lands. This paper presents a limited survey of this particular comparative approach in nineteenth century American travel narratives by revealing its presence as well as absence in the authors’ discursive preferences.
Keywords: travel, Orientalism, slavery, representation, metadiscourse