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Heather Lynn Ferguson
Claremont McKenna College (Claremont, CA 91711-5929)
Sovereign Valedictions: "Last Acts" in Early Modern Habsburg and Ottoman Courts

Research and writing leading to publication of a monograph on last sovereign acts during 16th century Habsburg and Ottoman Empires.

Scholars attentive to early modern rivalries address the competitive dynamics of the Ottoman and Habsburg dynasties with increasingly sophisticated projects. "Sovereign Valedictions" explores the often-mimetic nature of early modern courts from a rare vantage point: the undertakings, directives, and landmarks that define—even if retrospectively—the last acts of a sovereign. These “last acts” reveal moments of potential fragility and vulnerability for both the individual ruler and the empire embodied in his personhood. I turn to the “last acts” of dynastic representatives not as an academic conceit, but rather as a new kind of historical index that serves as a repository of early modern forces at work. Tactics pursued to preserve the pretense of control, bend political turmoil toward dynastic endurance, commemorate triumphs, forfend disaster, and shape posterity also unmask the structures, concepts and tropes deployed to render Ottoman and Habsburg rule integral if not invulnerable.

Project fields:
Architecture; Cultural History; Near and Middle Eastern History

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 4/1/2020