A Spatial Approach to Ottoman Defter Studies

October, 2012 to October, 2013

This study is based on fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Ottoman tax records, tahrir defterleri, called defters for short, that have been compiled in a single volume covering the area of the present-day Republic of Macedonia. The use of defters for historical research has a substantial literature that includes critiques of different approaches because defters were designed merely as working documents for the administration of the empire. These are utilitarian sources reveal what people did and only occasionally hint at why they did it. This research, “Patterns of Settlement Abandonment in Macedonia as Revealed in Ottoman Tax Records, from the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries,” will appear in: Flight and Emigration in Medieval Space and Mind, ed. Gerhard Jaritz (CEU Press, Budapest).