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Brokering EmpireTrans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul$
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E. Natalie Rothman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449079

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449079.001.0001

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Narrating Transition

Narrating Transition

(p.87) 3 Narrating Transition
Brokering Empire

E. Natalie Rothman

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines different genres of converts’ life narratives to illustrate the contrasting ways in which Muslim, Jewish, and Protestant converts to Catholicism articulated the process of conversion and the converted self. It also analyzes how the genres envisioned the relationship among religious conversion, juridical subjecthood, and political loyalty. The examination suggests how the conversion and converts’ subjectivity itself were articulated in different genres by looking at reports penned by Venetian representatives in Istanbul about renegades who had “turned Turk,” inquisitorial depositions by Protestant subjects and by Muslims of presumed Christian background who sought reconciliation with the Church, converts’ matrimonial examinations, and baptismal records. Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the chronotope reveals two prototypical accounts of the spatiotemporal process of conversion prevalent in narratives of conversion to Catholicism from Ottoman Islam and Protestantism, respectively, and point to the key role of Venetian institutions and intermediaries in articulating both.

Keywords:   religious conversion, juridical subjecthood, political loyalty, Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Catholicism, chronotope

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