Italy, Islam & the Mediterranean(Part 2) featuring Ali Aydin Karamustafa

“I think for anyone who lives in Italy or is interested in Italy, it’s really valuable and interesting to keep those other connections in mind. The Mediterranean touches us all in some way or other.” Ali Aydin Karamustafa

In part two of our conversation, Ali and I continue to discuss Italy’s relationship to its Mediterranean neighbors and to the Islamic world through the ages and take a deeper dive into a wide range of topics touching on Italy’s colonial past, postwar history, contemporary politics, and immigration. Once again through Ali’s commentary, informed by a keen historical lens, we also look at Italy’s ambiguous position, geographically and politically, delve into the complicated questions surrounding immigration in the country today, and explore broader topics related to economics and politics, in Italy, Europe, and on a global level. Finally, we talk about what’s in store for Ali and he shares with us some exciting projects he has in the works for the immediate future.

Ali Aydin Karamustafa biography

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Ali Aydin Karamustafa is a historian of the Ottoman and Safavid worlds, and his research focuses on oral and written traditions concerning origins, conquest, legitimacy, and rebellion which were produced and circulated by political communities from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries across Eurasia. Primarily based in Bologna, Italy, since 2018, he currently teaches at Stanford University’s Breyer Center for Overseas Studies Program in Florence. In January 2020, he received his PhD in history from Stanford in Transnational, International, and Global History. His dissertation focused on the popular culture of the Middle East in the 16th-18th centuries, in particular, the epic of Köroğlu. He speaks and reads several regional languages, and works with manuscripts, journals, and print sources for his research. He has extensive travel and research experience in Iran, Turkey, Jordan, the Caucasus, and Russia. He is interested in applying his expertise in historical analysis and language skills to carry out research on contemporary politics and economics in Europe and the Middle East.

Recorded March 5, 2024 @ Musikalmente Firenze

Production Intern: Mark Scott

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