Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Anna Akasoy

Subject Categories

European History | Rhetoric


Discourse; Humanism; Ideology; Orientalism; Power; Rhetoric


The Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 had an overwhelming geopolitical impact on Western Europe which included a discursive shift that depended greatly on the ideological construction of this event by its contemporaries for its consequences. In other words, the nature of Western European discourse subsequent to the Fall of Constantinople was rooted in the psychological impact this loss of territory had in contemporary secular and church leaders as well as their functionaries, many of which were key humanist figures. Consequently, Renaissance writers who constructed the Ottomans as 'others', were also writing within a context of power relations. In this power binary they were in the weaker position and the Ottomans were the imperialists. This context of power relations will serve as the focal point in this study. As I see it, it is the determining factor in deciphering not only the meaning but the intent of Renaissance humanist discourse and its construction of the Ottoman 'Other'.

My exploration of this ideologically based intellectual production will deconstruct the concept of 'Turk' as linguistic semic code thereby clearly delineating the characters and settings which are most indicative of this opposition. The additional application of Antonio Gramsci's intellectual framework and Edward Said's concept of Orientalism to these linguistic and thereby cultural and historical events will ultimately present us with a picture that reveals more about the West itself than it does about the actual people, culture and history of the Ottoman East.