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Space and Place: Thermal Springs, Public Baths, and Ottoman Sofia’s Culture of Water

September 27, 2018, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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The lecture

This talk will explore two interrelated themes: 1) the development of geology and hydrology in the early modern and modern periods, from the sixteenth century to World War I; and 2) the history of scientific travel and exploration in the same timeframe, with a focus on voyages to Southeast Europe and the Middle East. The main objective of the project is to find out how the information on the Balkans’ geological and hydrothermal characteristics was situated in the overall study of the peninsula. How was this scientific knowledge incorporated into the study of the region’s peoples and cultures? How did Southeast Europe’s affinity for the healing and sacral properties of spring water inform Western travelers’ perceptions of the region as ‘other’ vis-à-vis the places these travelers were coming from? What role did this literature play in the formation of a comprehensive image of the region?

The speaker

Dr. Stefan Peychev earned his PhD in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In his dissertation, The Nature of the Ottoman City: Water Management and Urban Space in Sofia, 1380s–1910s, he employed an environmental perspective in order to address the natural ecology of urban life through a focus on water management and usage. At the same time, he used the notion of nature metaphorically to introduce a discussion of the characteristic mechanisms of Ottoman urbanism and problematize the narrative of ruin and decay that underpins the dominant discourse on the Ottoman period in Sofia’s history.

Admission tickets

The event is free and open to the public; however, e-tickets are required.


Parking is free in Library parking lots and along the west side of Holmes Street between 51st and 52nd streets. The main entrance to the Library grounds is on Cherry Street. The Linda Hall Library is not affiliated with UMKC. Parking in all UMKC lots is by permit or meter.


September 27, 2018
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Eric Ward


Linda Hall Library
5109 Cherry
Kansas City, MO 64110 United States
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Questions? Contact Eric Ward at 816.926.8753 for more information about these events.

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