Antiquities have been pawns in empire-building and global rivalries; power struggles; assertions of national and cultural identities; and cross-cultural exchanges, cooperation, abuses, and misunderstandings—all with the underlying element of financial gain. Indeed, “who owns antiquity?” is a contentious question in many of today’s international conflicts.
About Antiquities offers an interdisciplinary study of the relationship between archaeology and empire-building around the turn of the twentieth century. Starting at Istanbul and focusing on antiquities from the Ottoman territories, Zeynep Çelik examines the popular discourse surrounding claims to the past in London, Paris, Berlin, and New York. She compares and contrasts the experiences of two museums—Istanbul’s Imperial Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—that aspired to emulate European collections and gain the prestige and power of owning the material fragments of ancient history. Going beyond institutions, Çelik also unravels the complicated interactions among individuals—Westerners, Ottoman decision makers and officials, and local laborers—and their competing stakes in antiquities from such legendary sites as Ephesus, Pergamon, and Babylon.
Recovering perspectives that have been lost in histories of archaeology, particularly those of the excavation laborers whose voices have never been heard, About Antiquities provides important historical context for current controversies surrounding nation-building and the ownership of the past.
Debunking conventional narratives of Afghanistan as a perennial war zone or marginal frontier, Faiz Ahmed presents a vibrant account of the first Muslim-majority country to gain independence from the British Empire, form a fully sovereign government, and promulgate an original constitution after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
Far from a landlocked wilderness, turn-of-the-twentieth-century Afghanistan was a magnet for itinerant scholars and emissaries shuttling between Ottoman and British imperial domains. Tracing Afghans’ longstanding but seldom examined scholastic ties to Istanbul, Damascus, and Baghdad, as well as greater Delhi and Lahore, Ahmed vividly describes how the Kabul court recruited jurists to craft a modern state within the interpretive traditions of Islamic law and ethics, or shariʿa, and international legal norms. Beginning with the first Ottoman mission to Kabul in 1877, and culminating with parallel independence struggles in Afghanistan, India, and Turkey after World War I, this rich narrative explores encounters between diverse streams of Muslim thought and politics—from Young Turk lawyers to Pashtun clerics; Ottoman Arab officers to British Raj bureaucrats; and the last caliphs to a remarkable dynasty of Afghan kings and queens.
By unearthing a lost history behind Afghanistan’s independence and first constitution, Ahmed shows how debates today on Islam, governance, and the rule of law have deep roots in a beleaguered land. Based on research in six countries and as many languages, Afghanistan Rising rediscovers a time when Kabul stood proudly for anticolonial coalitions, self-determination, and contested visions of reform in the Global South and Islamicate world.
The author is an old Istanbul hand who has seen it change over the years from a provincial backwater to today's vibrant metropolis. With Tillinghast as a guide through Istanbul's cafés, mosques and palaces, and along its streets and waterways, readers will feel at home both in the Constantinople of bygone days and on the streets of the modern town.
In the midst of World War I, the Ottoman government forcibly removed many of its Armenian citizens from their eastern Anatolian lands. While recognizing the controversy and tragedy of the events of 1915 that led to the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians, author Yücel Güçlü refrains from accepting the genocidal label that other scholars have assigned the episode.
Güçlü bases his claim largely on evidence from state and military archives in Turkey, Britain, France, and the United States that look specifically into the Ottoman version of history, placing the whole question of forced population displacements in a wider and more nuanced perspective than that in which it is usually depicted. According to the author, revolutionary Armenian forces were threatening the Ottoman Empire from within as it was simultaneously threatened by external forces. Armenians were also actively involved with Allied forces throughout World War I. In response, the Ottoman government ordered the movement of the Armenian population away from protected and sensitive war zones. The actions taken by the Ottoman Empire to control the Armenian population were those of relocation, not extermination.
Working to explain why the Armenian conflict emerged and how it was eventually resolved, this book discusses the Armenian revolutionary and separatist movements, Turkish measures of self defense, and Allied schemes regarding the region during the period. It places special emphasis on the influence of Allied forces on the actions of Armenians in Cilicia.
A Turk’s discovery that Armenians once thrived in his hometown leads to a groundbreaking investigation into the local dynamics of genocide.
Ümit Kurt, born and raised in Gaziantep, Turkey, was astonished to learn that his hometown once had a large and active Armenian community. The Armenian presence in Aintab, the city’s name during the Ottoman period, had not only been destroyed—it had been replaced. To every appearance, Gaziantep was a typical Turkish city.
Kurt digs into the details of the Armenian dispossession that produced the homogeneously Turkish city in which he grew up. In particular, he examines the population that gained from ethnic cleansing. Records of land confiscation and population transfer demonstrate just how much new wealth became available when the prosperous Armenians—who were active in manufacturing, agricultural production, and trade—were ejected. Although the official rationale for the removal of the Armenians was that the group posed a threat of rebellion, Kurt shows that the prospect of material gain was a key motivator of support for the Armenian genocide among the local Muslim gentry and the Turkish public. Those who benefited most—provincial elites, wealthy landowners, state officials, and merchants who accumulated Armenian capital—in turn financed the nationalist movement that brought the modern Turkish republic into being. The economic elite of Aintab was thus reconstituted along both ethnic and political lines.
The Armenians of Aintab draws on primary sources from Armenian, Ottoman, Turkish, British, and French archives, as well as memoirs, personal papers, oral accounts, and newly discovered property-liquidation records. Together they provide an invaluable account of genocide at ground level.
Early in his career, Adolf Hitler took inspiration from Benito Mussolini, his senior colleague in fascism—this fact is widely known. But an equally important role model for Hitler and the Nazis has been almost entirely neglected: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. Stefan Ihrig’s compelling presentation of this untold story promises to rewrite our understanding of the roots of Nazi ideology and strategy.
Hitler was deeply interested in Turkish affairs after 1919. He not only admired but also sought to imitate Atatürk’s radical construction of a new nation from the ashes of defeat in World War I. Hitler and the Nazis watched closely as Atatürk defied the Western powers to seize government, and they modeled the Munich Putsch to a large degree on Atatürk’s rebellion in Ankara. Hitler later remarked that in the political aftermath of the Great War, Atatürk was his master, he and Mussolini his students.
This was no fading fascination. As the Nazis struggled through the 1920s, Atatürk remained Hitler’s “star in the darkness,” his inspiration for remaking Germany along nationalist, secular, totalitarian, and ethnically exclusive lines. Nor did it escape Hitler’s notice how ruthlessly Turkish governments had dealt with Armenian and Greek minorities, whom influential Nazis directly compared with German Jews. The New Turkey, or at least those aspects of it that the Nazis chose to see, became a model for Hitler’s plans and dreams in the years leading up to the invasion of Poland.
During the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877–1878, Russian troops, Cossack auxiliaries, and local Bulgarians participated in what today would be called ethnic cleansing. Tensions in the Balkans between Christians and Muslims ended in disaster when hundreds of thousands of Muslims were massacred, raped, and forced to flee from Bulgaria to Turkey as their villages were sacked and their homes destroyed.
In this book, William H. Holt tells the story of a people and moment in time that has largely been neglected in modern Turkish and Balkan memory. Holt uncovers the reasons for this mass forgetting, finding context both within the development of the modern Turkish state and the workings of collective memory. Bringing together a wide array of eyewitness accounts, the book provides unprecedented detail on the plight of the Muslim refugees in their flight from Bulgaria, in Istanbul, and in their resettlement in Anatolia. In crisp, clear, and engaging prose, Holt offers an insightful analysis of human suffering and social memory.
The modern Middle East was forged in the crucible of the First World War, but few know the full story of how war actually came to the region. As Sean McMeekin reveals in this startling reinterpretation of the war, it was neither the British nor the French but rather a small clique of Germans and Turks who thrust the Islamic world into the conflict for their own political, economic, and military ends.
The Berlin-Baghdad Express tells the fascinating story of how Germany exploited Ottoman pan-Islamism in order to destroy the British Empire, then the largest Islamic power in the world. Meanwhile the Young Turks harnessed themselves to German military might to avenge Turkey’s hereditary enemy, Russia. Told from the perspective of the key decision-makers on the Turco-German side, many of the most consequential events of World War I—Turkey’s entry into the war, Gallipoli, the Armenian massacres, the Arab revolt, and the Russian Revolution—are illuminated as never before.
Drawing on a wealth of new sources, McMeekin forces us to re-examine Western interference in the Middle East and its lamentable results. It is an epic tragicomedy of unintended consequences, as Turkish nationalists give Russia the war it desperately wants, jihad begets an Islamic insurrection in Mecca, German sabotage plots upend the Tsar delivering Turkey from Russia’s yoke, and German Zionism midwifes the Balfour Declaration. All along, the story is interwoven with the drama surrounding German efforts to complete the Berlin to Baghdad railway, the weapon designed to win the war and assure German hegemony over the Middle East.
One of the oldest surviving pieces of Turkish literature, The Book of Dede Korkut can be traced to tenth-century origins. Now considered the national epic of Turkey, it is the heritage of the ancient Oghuz Turks and was composed as they migrated westward from their homeland in Central Asia to the Middle East, eventually to settle in Anatolia. Who its primary creator was no one knows, the titular bard, Dede Korkut, being more a symbol of Turkish minstrelsy than a verifiable author. The songs and tales of countless minstrels lay behind The Book of Dede Korkut, and in its oral form the epic was undoubtedly subject to frequent improvisation by individual performers. Partly in prose, partly in verse, these legends were sung or chanted in the courts and camps of political and military leaders. Even after they had been recorded in written form, they remained part of an oral tradition.
The present edition is the first complete text in English. The translators provide an excellent introduction to the language and background of the legends as well as a history of Dede Korkut scholarship. These outstanding tales will be of interest to all students of world mythology and folklore.
Religion and nationalism are two of the most powerful forces in the world. And as powerful as they are separately, humans throughout history have fused religious beliefs and nationalist politics to develop religious nationalism, which uses religious identity to define membership in the national community. But why and how have modern nationalists built religious identity as the foundational signifier of national identity in what sociologists have predicted would be a more secular world? This book takes two cases - nationalism in both Ireland and Turkey in the 20th century - as a foundation to advance a new theory of religious nationalism. By comparing cases, Goalwin emphasizes how modern political actors deploy religious identity as a boundary that differentiates national groups This theory argues that religious nationalism is not a knee-jerk reaction to secular modernization, but a powerful movement developed as a tool that forges new and independent national identities.
An investigation of how the expansion of modern medicine in Turkey transformed young boys’ experiences of circumcision.
In Turkey, circumcision is viewed as both a religious obligation and a rite of passage for young boys, as communities celebrate the ritual through gatherings, gifts, and special outfits. Yet the procedure is a potentially painful and traumatic ordeal. With the expansion of modern medicine, the social position of sünnetçi (male circumcisers) became subject to the institutional arrangements of Turkey’s evolving health care and welfare system. In the transition from traditional itinerant circumcisers to low-ranking health officers in the 1960s and hospital doctors in the 1990s, the medicalization of male circumcision has become entangled with state formation, market fetishism, and class inequalities.
Based on Oyman Başaran’s extensive ethnographic and historical research, Circumcision and Medicine in Modern Turkey is a close examination of the socioreligious practice of circumcision in twenty-five cities and their outlying towns and villages in Turkey. By analyzing the changing subjectivity of medical actors who seek to alleviate suffering in male circumcision, Başaran offers a psychoanalytically informed alternate approach to the standard sociological arguments surrounding medicalization and male circumcision.
The history of communications in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey contradicts the widespread belief that communications is a byproduct of modern capitalism and other Western forces. Burçe Çelik uses a decolonial perspective to analyze the historical commodification and militarization of communications and how it affected production and practice for oppressed populations like women, the working class, and ethnic and religious minorities. Moving from the mid-nineteenth century through today, Çelik places networks within the changing geopolitical landscape and the evolution of modern capitalism in relationship to struggles involving a range of social and political actors. Throughout, she challenges Anglo- and Eurocentric assumptions that see the non-West as an ahistorical imitation of, or aberration from, the development of Western communications.
Ambitious and comprehensive, Communications in Turkey and the Ottoman Empire merges political economy with social history to challenge Western-centered assumptions about the origins and development of modern communications.
In the Western imagination, the Middle Eastern harem was a place of sex, debauchery, slavery, miscegenation, power, riches, and sheer abandon. But for the women and children who actually inhabited this realm of the imperial palace, the reality was vastly different. In this collection of translated memoirs, three women who lived in the Ottoman imperial harem in Istanbul between 1876 and 1924 offer a fascinating glimpse "behind the veil" into the lives of Muslim palace women of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The memoirists are Filizten, concubine to Sultan Murad V; Princess Ayse, daughter of Sultan Abdulhamid II; and Safiye, a schoolteacher who instructed the grandchildren and harem ladies of Sultan Mehmed V. Their recollections of the Ottoman harem reveal the rigid protocol and hierarchy that governed the lives of the imperial family and concubines, as well as the hundreds of slave women and black eunuchs in service to them. The memoirists show that, far from being a place of debauchery, the harem was a family home in which polite and refined behavior prevailed. Douglas Brookes explains the social structure of the nineteenth-century Ottoman palace harem in his introduction.
These three memoirs, written across a half century and by women of differing social classes, offer a fuller and richer portrait of the Ottoman imperial harem than has ever before been available in English.
A history of the last century of tensions in the Middle East.
Until the First World War, the Ottoman Empire had dominated the Middle East for four centuries. Its collapse, coupled with the subsequent clash of European imperial policies, unleashed a surge of political feeling among the people of the Middle East as they vied for national self-determination. Over the century that followed, the region has become almost synonymous with unrest and conflict.
An accessible survey of the last century, Contested Lands tells the story of what happened in the Middle East and what it means today. T. G. Fraser analyzes the fault lines of the tension, including the damage brought by imperialism, the creation of the State of Israel, competition between secular rulers and emerging democratic and theocratic forces, and the rise of Arab Nationalism in the face of fraying regional alliances and the Islamic revival. Fraser offers a close look at how the events of the twenty-first century—the tragedy of 9/11, the Arab Spring, and Syria’s civil war—have combined with complex social and economic changes to transform the region. Untangling the history of the Middle East, this book offers a detailed and insightful picture of the region and why its heritage remains important today.
This book provides the first in-depth, wide-scope treatment of da’wa. A term difficult to translate, da’wa covers a semantic field ranging from the call or invitation to Islam, to religious preaching and proselytizing, to the mission and message of Islam. Historically da’wa has been directed outward to nonbelievers, but in modern times it has turned increasingly inward to “straying” Muslims. While the media and many scholars have focused on extremism and militant groups that have raised the banner of jihad, this volume argues that da’wa, not jihad, forms the backbone of modern Islamic politics and religiosity, and that the study of da’wa is essential for understanding contemporary Islamic politics as well as jihadist activity. Contributors represent a variety of approaches and come from a range of academic, religious, and national backgrounds. In these essays, they analyze the major discourses of da’wa, their embodiment in the major Islamic movements of the twentieth century, and their transformation into new forms of activism through the media, the state, and jihadi groups—including al-Qaeda and ISIS—in the twenty-first century.
The Early Ottoman Peloponnese: A study in the Light of an Annotated editio princeps of the TT10-1/14662 Ottoman Taxation Cadastre (ca. 1460-1463) is a study drawn from the author's PhD thesis, conducted at Royal Holloway, University of London, under the supervision of the late Professor Julian Chrysostomides.
The book is divided into two parts, with part one covering a range of materials through an introduction and three chapters and part two consisting of a diplomatic edition of the transcribed Ottoman text. The introduction offers an orientation to the scope of the book, surveys previous scholarship conducted on the subject, and provides a historical examination of the late Byzantine Peloponnese and its conquest by the Ottomans. Accompanied by topographic and linguistic notes, Liakopoulos presents the historical geography of the Peloponnese, listing all the place-names mentioned in the sequence they appear in the TT10-1/14662 register. This is followed by a set of thirty-eight digital maps of the early Ottoman Peloponnese using GIS (Geographical Information Systems). This is followed by a discussion of the demography of the Peloponnese, including the settlement patterns, the density of population and its categorisation—urban and rural, sedentary and nomadic—concentrating on the influx and settlement of the second largest ethnic group in the peninsula: the Albanians. Liakopoulos explores the administrative and economic structures of the Peloponnese, and provides a detailed presentation their of agricultural production, fully illustrated with tables and charts.
The effect of Western influence on the later Ottoman Empire and on the development of the modern Turkish nation-state links these twelve essays by a prominent American scholar. Roderic Davison draws from his extensive knowledge of Western diplomatic history and Turkish history to describe a period in which the actions of the Great Powers, incipient and rising nationalisms, and Westernizing reforms shaped the destiny of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the new Turkish Republic. Eleven of the essays were previously published in widely scattered journals and multi-authored volumes. The first of these provides a general survey of Turkish and Ottoman history, from early Turkish times to the end of the Empire. The following essays continue chronologically from 1774, detailing some of the changes in the nineteenth-century Empire. Several themes recur. One is the impact of Western ideas and institutions and the resistance to that influence by some elements in the Empire. Another concerns the diplomatic pressure exerted by the Great Powers of Europe on the Empire, which amounted at times to direct intervention in Ottoman domestic affairs. Taken together, the essays portray a confluence of civilizations as well as a clash of cultures. Professor Davison has written an interpretive introduction that sets out the historical trends running throughout the book. In addition, he includes a previously unpublished article on the advent of the electric telegraph in the Ottoman Empire to show how the adoption of a Western technological advance could affect many areas of life. Of particular interest to students of Ottoman and Middle East history, these essays will also be valuable for everyone concerned with modernization in developing nations. Davison's interpretations and keen methodological sense also shed new light on several aspects of European diplomatic history.
The origins of the Ottomans, whose enterprise ruled much of the Near East for more than half a millennium, have long tantalized and eluded scholars, many of whom have thrown up their hands in exasperation. While the later fourteenth- and fifteenth-century history of the Ottomans has become better known, the earlier years have proved an alluring and recalcitrant puzzle. A reconsideration of the sources and a canvass of new ones has long been overdue. Rudi Paul Lindner’s Explorations in Ottoman Prehistory is the first book in over sixty years to reassess the overture to Ottoman history.
In addition to conducting a critical examination of the Ottoman chronicles and the Byzantine annals, Lindner develops hitherto unutilized geographic data and previously unknown numismatic evidence and also draws on travelers’ descriptions of the Anatolian landscape in an earlier epoch. By investigating who the Ottomans were, where they came from, and where they settled and why, as well as what sort of relationships they had with their neighbors in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, Lindner makes an engaging and lucid contribution to an otherwise very small store of knowledge of Ottoman history in the early stages of the empire.
Rudi Paul Lindner is Professor of History at the University of Michigan and author of Nomads and Ottomans in Medieval Anatolia,part of Indiana University’s Uralic and Altaic Series.
According to tradition, the First Crusade began at the instigation of Pope Urban II and culminated in July 1099, when thousands of western European knights liberated Jerusalem from the rising menace of Islam. But what if the First Crusade’s real catalyst lay far to the east of Rome? In this groundbreaking book, countering nearly a millennium of scholarship, Peter Frankopan reveals the untold history of the First Crusade.
Nearly all historians of the First Crusade focus on the papacy and its willing warriors in the West, along with innumerable popular tales of bravery, tragedy, and resilience. In sharp contrast, Frankopan examines events from the East, in particular from Constantinople, seat of the Christian Byzantine Empire. The result is revelatory. The true instigator of the First Crusade, we see, was the Emperor Alexios I Komnenos, who in 1095, with his realm under siege from the Turks and on the point of collapse, begged the pope for military support.
Basing his account on long-ignored eastern sources, Frankopan also gives a provocative and highly original explanation of the world-changing events that followed the First Crusade. The Vatican’s victory cemented papal power, while Constantinople, the heart of the still-vital Byzantine Empire, never recovered. As a result, both Alexios and Byzantium were consigned to the margins of history. From Frankopan’s revolutionary work, we gain a more faithful understanding of the way the taking of Jerusalem set the stage for western Europe’s dominance up to the present day and shaped the modern world.
Byzantine rule over Anatolia ended in the eleventh century, leaving the population and its Turkish rulers to build social and economic institutions throughout the region. The emerging Anatolian society comprised a highly heterogeneous population of Christians and Muslims whose literati produced legal documents in Arabic, literary texts in Persian, and some of the earliest written works in the Turkish language. Yet the cultural landscape that emerged as a result has received very little attention—until now.
Investigating daily life in Anatolia during the fourteenth century, Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia draws on a creative array of sources, including hagiographies, archaeological evidence, Sufi poetry, and endowment deeds, to present an accessible portrait of a severely under-documented period. Grounded in the many ways food enters the human experience, Nicolas Trépanier’s comprehensive study delves into the Anatolian preparation of meals and the social interactions that mealtime entails—from a villager’s family supper to an elaborately arranged banquet—as well as the production activities of peasants and gardeners; the marketplace exchanges of food between commoners, merchants, and political rulers; and the religious landscape that unfolded around food-related beliefs and practices. Brimming with enlightening details on such diverse topics as agriculture, nomadism, pastoralism, medicine, hospitality, and festival rituals, Foodways and Daily Life in Medieval Anatolia presents a new understanding of communities that lived at a key juncture of world history.
World War I sounded the death knell of empires. The forces of disintegration affected several empires simultaneously. To that extent they were impersonal. But prudent statesmen could delay the death of empires, rulers such as Emperor Franz Josef II of Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Sultan Abdü'lhamid II. Adventurous rulers - Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Enver Pasha in the Ottoman Empire - hastened it. Enver's decision to enter the war on the side of Germany destroyed the Ottoman state. It may have been doomed in any case, but he was the agent of its doom. The last Sultan Mehmet VI Vahdettin thought he could salvage the Ottoman state in something like its old form. But Vahdettin and his ministers could not succeed because the victorious Allies had decided on the final partition of the Ottoman state. The chief proponent of partition was Lloyd George, heir to the Turcophobe tradition of British liberals, who fell under the spell of the Greek irredentist politician Venizelos. With these two in the lead, the Allies sought to impose partition on the Sultan's state. When the Sultan sent his emissaries to the Paris peace conference they could not win a reprieve. The Treaty of Sèvres which the Sultan's government signed put an end to Ottoman independence. The Treaty of Sèvres was not ratified. Turkish nationalists, with military officers in the lead, defied the Allies, who promptly broke ranks, each one trying to win concessions for himself at the expense of the others. Mustafa Kemal emerged as the leader of the military resistance. Diplomacy allowed Mustafa Kemal to isolate his people's enemies: Greek and Armenian irredentists. Having done so, he defeated them by force of arms. In effect, the defeat of the Ottoman empire in the First World War was followed by the Turks' victory in two separate wars: a brief military campaign against the Armenians and a long one against the Greeks. Lausanne—where General Ismet succeeded in securing peace on Turkey's terms—was the founding charter of the modern Turkish nation state. But more than that it showed that empires could no longer rule peoples against their wishes. This need not be disastrous: Mustafa Kemal demonstrated that the interests of developed countries were compatible with those of developing ones. He fought the West in order to become like it. Where his domestic critics wanted to go on defying the West, Mustafa Kemal saw that his country could fare best in cooperation with the West.
Explores the Safavid and Ottoman empires through the lens of gifts.
When the Safavid dynasty, founded in 1501, built a state that championed Iranian identity and Twelver Shi'ism, it prompted the more established Ottoman Empire to align itself definitively with Sunni legalism. The political, religious, and military conflicts that arose have since been widely studied, but little attention has been paid to their diplomatic relationship. Sinem Arcak Casale here sets out to explore these two major Muslim empires through a surprising lens: gifts. Countless treasures—such as intricate carpets, gilded silver cups, and ivory-tusk knives—flowed from the Safavid to the Ottoman Empire throughout the sixteenth century. While only a handful now survive, records of these gifts exist in court chronicles, treasury records, poems, epistolary documents, ambassadorial reports, and travel narratives. Tracing this elaborate archive, Casale treats gifts as representative of the complicated Ottoman-Safavid coexistence, demonstrating how their rivalry was shaped as much by culture and aesthetics as it was by religious or military conflict. Gifts in the Age of Empire explores how gifts were no mere accessories to diplomacy but functioned as a mechanism of competitive interaction between these early modern Muslim courts.
In the spring of 1565, a massive fleet of Ottoman ships descended on Malta, a small island centrally located between North Africa and Sicily, home and headquarters of the crusading Knights of St. John and their charismatic Grand Master, Jean de Valette. The Knights had been expelled from Rhodes by the Ottoman sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, and now stood as the last bastion against a Muslim invasion of Sicily, southern Italy, and beyond. The siege force of Turks, Arabs, and Barbary corsairs from across the Muslim world outnumbered the defenders of Malta many times over, and its arrival began a long hot summer of bloody combat, often hand to hand, embroiling knights and mercenaries, civilians and slaves, in a desperate struggle for this pivotal point in the Mediterranean. Bruce Ware Allen's The Great Siege of Malta describes the siege’s geopolitical context, explains its strategies and tactics, and reveals how the all-too-human personalities of both Muslim and Christian leaders shaped the course of events. The siege of Malta was the Ottoman empire’s high-water mark in the war between the Christian West and the Muslim East for control of the Mediterranean. Drawing on copious research and new source material, Allen stirringly recreates the two factions’ heroism and chivalry, while simultaneously tracing the barbarism, severity, and indifference to suffering of sixteenth-century warfare. The Great Siege of Malta is a fresh, vivid retelling of one of the most famous battles of the early modern world—a battle whose echoes are still felt today.
On the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, an essential guide to the momentous war for independence of the Greeks from the Ottoman Empire.
The Greek war for independence (1821–1830) often goes missing from discussion of the Age of Revolutions. Yet the rebellion against Ottoman rule was enormously influential in its time, and its resonances are felt across modern history. The Greeks inspired others to throw off the oppression that developed in the backlash to the French Revolution. And Europeans in general were hardly blind to the sight of Christian subjects toppling Muslim rulers. In this collection of essays, Paschalis Kitromilides and Constantinos Tsoukalas bring together scholars writing on the many facets of the Greek Revolution and placing it squarely within the revolutionary age.
An impressive roster of contributors traces the revolution as it unfolded and analyzes its regional and transnational repercussions, including the Romanian and Serbian revolts that spread the spirit of the Greek uprising through the Balkans. The essays also elucidate religious and cultural dimensions of Greek nationalism, including the power of the Orthodox church. One essay looks at the triumph of the idea of a Greek “homeland,” which bound the Greek diaspora—and its financial contributions—to the revolutionary cause. Another essay examines the Ottoman response, involving a series of reforms to the imperial military and allegiance system. Noted scholars cover major figures of the revolution; events as they were interpreted in the press, art, literature, and music; and the impact of intellectual movements such as philhellenism and the Enlightenment.
Authoritative and accessible, The Greek Revolution confirms the profound political significance and long-lasting cultural legacies of a pivotal event in world history.
Homer's stories of Troy are part of the foundations of Western culture. What's less well known is that they also inspired Ottoman-Turkish cultural traditions. Yet even with all the historical and archaeological research into Homer and Troy, most scholars today rely heavily on Western sources, giving Ottoman work in the field short shrift. This book helps right that balance, exploring Ottoman-Turkish involvement and interest in the subject between 1870, when Heinrich Schliemann began his excavations in search of Troy on Ottoman soil, and the battle of Gallipoli in 1915, which gave the Turks their own version of the heroic epic of Troy.
The modern nation-state of Turkey was established in 1923, but when and how did its citizens begin to identify themselves as Turks? Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's founding president, is almost universally credited with creating a Turkish national identity through his revolutionary program to "secularize" the former heartland of the Ottoman Empire. Yet, despite Turkey's status as the lone secular state in the Muslim Middle East, religion remains a powerful force in Turkish society, and the country today is governed by a democratically elected political party with a distinctly religious (Islamist) orientation.
In this history, Gavin D. Brockett takes a fresh look at the formation of Turkish national identity, focusing on the relationship between Islam and nationalism and the process through which a "religious national identity" emerged. Challenging the orthodoxy that Atatürk and the political elite imposed a sense of national identity from the top down, Brockett examines the social and political debates in provincial newspapers from around the country. He shows that the unprecedented expansion of print media in Turkey between 1945 and 1954, which followed the end of strict, single-party authoritarian government, created a forum in which ordinary people could inject popular religious identities into the new Turkish nationalism. Brockett makes a convincing case that it was this fruitful negotiation between secular nationalism and Islam—rather than the imposition of secularism alone—that created the modern Turkish national identity.
When the Ottoman Empire met its demise in the early twentieth century, the new Republic of Turkey closed down the Sufi orders, rationalizing that they were antimodern. Yet the nascent nation, faced with defining its cultural heritage, soon began to promote the legacies of three Sufi saints: Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, Hacı Bektaş Veli, and Yunus Emre. Their Turkish ethnicity, along with universalist themes found in their poetry and legends—of love, peace, fellowship, and tolerance—became the focus of their commemoration. With this reinterpretation of their characters—part of a broader secularist project—these saints came to be considered the great Turkish humanists. Their veneration came to play an important role in the nationalist formulation of Turkish culture, but the universalism of their humanism has exposed fissures in society over the place of religion in the nation.
Humanist Mystics is the first book to examine Islam and secularism within Turkish nationalist ideology through the lens of commemorated saints. Soileau surveys Anatolian and Turkish religious and political history as the context for his closer attention to the lives and influence of these three Sufi saints. By comparing premodern hagiographic and scholarly representations with twentieth-century monographs, literary works, artistic media, and commemorative ceremonies, he shows how the saints have been transformed into humanist mystics and how this change has led to debates about their character and relevance.
In this book, Umut Uzer examines the ideological evolution and transformation of Turkish nationalism from its early precursors to its contemporary protagonists. Turkish nationalism erupted onto the world stage in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as Greeks, Armenians, and other minority groups within the Ottoman Empire began to seek independence. Partly in response to the rising nationalist voices of these groups, Turkish intellectuals began propagating Turkish nationalism through academic as well as popular books, and later associations published semipropagandist journals with the support of the Unionist and Kemalist governments.
While predominantly a textual analysis of the primary sources written by the nationalists, this volume takes into account how political developments influenced Turkish nationalism and also tackles the question of how an ideology that began as a revolutionary, progressive, forward-looking ideal eventually transformed into one that is conservative, patriarchal, and nostalgic to the Ottoman and Islamic past. Between Islamic and Turkish Identity is the first book in any language to comprehensively analyze Turkish nationalism with such scope and engagement with primary sources; it aims to dissect the phenomenon in all its manifestations.
This book gives a unique perspective on the interwar history of the Middle East. By telling the life story of one man, it illuminates the political and cultural struggles of an era. Shakib Arslan(1869–1946) was a leading member of the generation of Ottoman Arabs who came to professional maturity just before the final defeat of the Ottoman Empire. Born to a powerful Lebanese Druze family, Arslan grew up perfectly suited to his time and place in history. He was one of the leading writers of his day and a dexterous, ambitious politician. But, by the end of World War I, Arslan and others of his generation found themselves adrift in a world no longer of their choosing, as the once great Ottoman state lay broken before the West. Rather than retreating from public life in those dark days, however, Arslan emerged militant in his opposition to Western encroachment on Islamic lands and tireless in his crusade to bring the organizing principles of a universalist Islam to the age of emerging nation-states. Organizer, pamphleteer, diplomat, spokesman, and symbol, Arslan became one of the dominant, and most controversial, Muslim political figures in the two decades between the wars. His involvements were so varied and intense that to study his life is to bring into focus all the major political issues and intellectual currents of the era. By the end of his career he was both praised and vilified, but he was arguably the most widely read Arab author of his day. Curiously, Arslan has received relatively little attention in English-language research. This may well be due less to his contemporary importance than to the perspective from which Western scholarship has viewed Middle Eastern intellectual history. Arslan was not one of the winners. For many his evocation of the old imperial ideal and his insistence on the strategic importance of Islamic ideals seemed to be simply archaic protest in a secular age. But this impeccably researched and beautifully written biography demonstrates the power and importance of Arslan’s activist heritage, reinterpreting it for its own time and showing its importance for ours.
Istanbul explores how to live with difference through the prism of an age-old, cutting-edge city whose people have long confronted the challenge of sharing space with the Other. Located at the intersection of trade networks connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa, Istanbul is western and eastern, northern and southern, religious and secular. Heir of ancient empires, Istanbul is the premier city of a proud nation-state even as it has become a global city of multinational corporations, NGOs, and capital flows.
Rather than exploring Istanbul as one place at one time, the contributors to this volume focus on the city’s experience of migration and globalization over the last two centuries. Asking what Istanbul teaches us about living with people whose hopes jostle with one’s own, contributors explore the rise, collapse, and fragile rebirth of cosmopolitan conviviality in a once and future world city. The result is a cogent, interdisciplinary exchange about an urban space that is microcosmic of dilemmas of diversity across time and space.
The Armenian Genocide and the Nazi Holocaust are often thought to be separated by a large distance in time and space. But Stefan Ihrig shows that they were much more connected than previously thought. Bismarck and then Wilhelm II staked their foreign policy on close relations with a stable Ottoman Empire. To the extent that the Armenians were restless under Ottoman rule, they were a problem for Germany too. From the 1890s onward Germany became accustomed to excusing violence against Armenians, even accepting it as a foreign policy necessity. For many Germans, the Armenians represented an explicitly racial problem and despite the Armenians’ Christianity, Germans portrayed them as the “Jews of the Orient.”
As Stefan Ihrig reveals in this first comprehensive study of the subject, many Germans before World War I sympathized with the Ottomans’ longstanding repression of the Armenians and would go on to defend vigorously the Turks’ wartime program of extermination. After the war, in what Ihrig terms the “great genocide debate,” German nationalists first denied and then justified genocide in sweeping terms. The Nazis too came to see genocide as justifiable: in their version of history, the Armenian Genocide had made possible the astonishing rise of the New Turkey.
Ihrig is careful to note that this connection does not imply the Armenian Genocide somehow caused the Holocaust, nor does it make Germans any less culpable. But no history of the twentieth century should ignore the deep, direct, and disturbing connections between these two crimes.
2022 On the Brinck Book Award, University of New Mexico School of Architecture + Planning Special Mention, First Book Prize, International Planning History Society
Landed Internationals examines the international culture of postwar urban planning through the case of the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey. Today the center of Turkey's tech, energy, and defense elites, METU was founded in the 1950s through an effort jointly sponsored by the UN, the University of Pennsylvania, and various governmental agencies of the United States and Turkey. Drawing on the language of the UN and its Technical Assistance Board, Erdim uses the phrase "technical assistance machinery" to encompass the sprawling set of relationships activated by this endeavor.
Erdim studies a series of legitimacy battles among bureaucrats, academics, and other professionals in multiple theaters across the political geography of the Cold War. These different factions shared a common goal: the production of nationhood—albeit nationhood understood and defined in multiple, competing ways. He also examines the role of the American architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill; the New York housing policy guru Charles Abrams; the UN and the University of Pennsylvania; and the Turkish architects Altuğ and Behruz Çinici. In the end, METU itself looked like a model postwar nation within the world order, and Erdim concludes by discussing how it became an important force in transnational housing, planning, and preservation in its own right.
During the last half century of its existence, the Ottoman Empire and the lands around its borders were places of constant political turmoil and unceasing military action. The enormous costs of war were paid not only by politicians and soldiers, but by the Ottoman civilian population as well. This book examines the hardships that ordinary people, Muslim and Christian alike, endured during decades of warfare.
Jeremy Salt brings to the surface previously ignored facts that disrupt the conventional narrative of an ethno-religious division between Muslim perpetrators and Christian victims of violence. Salt shows instead that all major ethno-religious groups—including Armenians, Turks, Kurds, and Greeks—were guilty of violent acts. The result is a more balanced picture of European involvement in the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans, one that highlights the destructive role of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and other European leaders grabbing for Ottoman resources up to the end of World War I. The effects of these events are felt to the present day.
This extraordinary story centers not on military campaigns but on ordinary civilians whose lives were disrupted and in many cases destroyed by events over which they had no control. Disease, malnutrition, massacre and inter-communal fighting killed millions of people during the First World War alone. Until now this epic saga of human suffering has remained a story largely untold.
The nineteenth century was, for many societies, a period of coming to grips with the growing, and seemingly unstoppable, domination of the world by the “Great Powers” of Europe. The Ottoman Empire was no exception: Ottomans from all walks of life—elite and non-elite, Muslim and non-Muslim—debated the reasons for what they considered to be the Ottoman decline and European ascendance. One of the most popular explanations was deceptively simple: science. If the Ottomans would adopt the new sciences of the Europeans, it was frequently argued, the glory days of the empire could be revived.
In Learned Patriots, M. Alper Yalçinkaya examines what it meant for nineteenth-century Ottoman elites themselves to have a debate about science. Yalçinkaya finds that for anxious nineteenth-century Ottoman politicians, intellectuals, and litterateurs, the chief question was not about the meaning, merits, or dangers of science. Rather, what mattered were the qualities of the new “men of science.” Would young, ambitious men with scientific education be loyal to the state? Were they “proper” members of the community? Science, Yalçinkaya shows, became a topic that could hardly be discussed without reference to identity and morality.
Approaching science in culture, Learned Patriots contributes to the growing literature on how science travels, representations and public perception of science, science and religion, and science and morality. Additionally, it will appeal to students of the intellectual history of the Middle East and Turkish politics.
In Media in New Turkey, Bilge Yesil unlocks the complexities surrounding and penetrating today's Turkish media. Yesil focuses on a convergence of global and domestic forces that range from the 1980 military coup to globalization's inroads and the recent resurgence of political Islam. Her analysis foregrounds how these and other forces become intertwined, and she uses Turkey's media to unpack the ever-more-complex relationships.
Yesil confronts essential questions regarding: the role of the state and military in building the structures that shaped Turkey's media system; media adaptations to ever-shifting contours of political and economic power; how the far-flung economic interests of media conglomerates leave them vulnerable to state pressure; and the ways Turkey's politicized judiciary criminalizes certain speech.
Drawing on local knowledge and a wealth of Turkish sources, Yesil provides an engrossing look at the fault lines carved by authoritarianism, tradition, neoliberal reform, and globalization within Turkey's increasingly far-reaching media.
In The Middle East and the Making of the Modern World, Cyrus Schayegh takes up a fundamental problem historians face: how to make sense of the spatial layeredness of the past. He argues that the modern world’s ultimate socio-spatial feature was not the oft-studied processes of globalization or state formation or urbanization. Rather, it was fast-paced, mutually transformative intertwinements of cities, regions, states, and global circuits, a bundle of processes he calls transpatialization.
To make this case, Schayegh’s study pivots around Greater Syria (Bilad al-Sham in Arabic), which is roughly coextensive with present-day Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel/Palestine. From this region, Schayegh looks beyond, to imperial and global connections, diaspora communities, and neighboring Egypt, Iraq, and Turkey. And he peers deeply into Bilad al-Sham: at cities and their ties, and at global economic forces, the Ottoman and European empire-states, and the post-Ottoman nation-states at work within the region. He shows how diverse socio-spatial intertwinements unfolded in tandem during a transformative stretch of time, the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries, and concludes with a postscript covering the 1940s to 2010s.
Muslim Cosmopolitanism in the Age of Empire recovers the stories of five Indian Muslim scholars who, in the aftermath of the uprising of 1857, were hunted by British authorities, fled their homes in India for such destinations as Cairo, Mecca, and Istanbul, and became active participants in a flourishing pan-Islamic intellectual network at the cusp of the British and Ottoman empires. Seema Alavi traces this network, born in the age of empire, which became the basis of a global Muslim sensibility—a form of political and cultural affiliation that competes with ideas of nationhood today as it did in the previous century.
By demonstrating that these Muslim networks depended on European empires and that their sensibility was shaped by the West in many subtle ways, Alavi challenges the idea that all pan-Islamic configurations are anti-Western or pro-Caliphate. Indeed, Western imperial hegemony empowered the very inter-Asian Muslim connections that went on to outlive European empires. Diverging from the medieval idea of the umma, this new cosmopolitan community stressed consensus in matters of belief, ritual, and devotion and found inspiration in the liberal reforms then gaining traction in the Ottoman world. Alavi breaks new ground in the writing of nineteenth-century history by engaging equally with the South Asian and Ottoman worlds, and by telling a non-Eurocentric story of global modernity without overlooking the importance of the British Empire.
What kind of relationship exists between wars and epidemics? It is widely held that epidemics affected the outcomes of many wars and, until World War II, more victims of war died of disease than of battle wounds. Many disease vectors are present in times of conflict, including mass movements of people across borders and increased contact between persons of different geographic regions, yet disease is rarely treated in depth in histories of war.
Hikmet Özdemir’s The Ottoman Army, 1914–1918 provides extensive documentation of disease and death across the Ottoman Empire during World War I, when epidemic diseases annihilated armies and caused civilians to perish en masse. Drawing on hospital records and information on regional disease prevalence, Özdemir examines the effects that disease and epidemic had on the outcome of the war.
The information on disease mortality explains much that has never been properly understood about wartime events and government actions, events that only begin to make sense when the disease factor is considered. Rich in detail, this is an extremely valuable book that illuminates a facet of the war that has not been adequately considered until now.
In 1482, the Florentine humanist and statesman Francesco Berlinghieri produced the Geographia, a book of over one hundred folio leaves describing the world in Italian verse, inspired by the ancient Greek geography of Ptolemy. The poem, divided into seven books (one for each day of the week the author “travels” the known world), is interleaved with lavishly engraved maps to accompany readers on this journey.
Sean Roberts demonstrates that the Geographia represents the moment of transition between printing and manuscript culture, while forming a critical base for the rise of modern cartography. Simultaneously, the use of the Geographia as a diplomatic gift from Florence to the Ottoman Empire tells another story. This exchange expands our understanding of Mediterranean politics, European perceptions of the Ottomans, and Ottoman interest in mapping and print. The envoy to the Sultan represented the aspirations of the Florentine state, which chose not to bestow some other highly valued good, such as the city’s renowned textiles, but instead the best example of what Florentine visual, material, and intellectual culture had to offer.
In Queer in Translation, Evren Savcı analyzes the travel and translation of Western LGBT political terminology to Turkey in order to illuminate how sexual politics have unfolded under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's AKP government. Under the AKP's neoliberal Islamic regime, Savcı shows, there has been a stark shift from a politics of multicultural inclusion to one of securitized authoritarianism. Drawing from ethnographic work with queer activist groups to understand how discourses of sexuality travel and are taken up in political discourse, Savcı traces the intersection of queerness, Islam, and neoliberal governance within new and complex regimes of morality. Savcı turns to translation as a queer methodology to think Islam and neoliberalism together and to evade the limiting binaries of traditional/modern, authentic/colonial, global/local, and East/West—thereby opening up ways of understanding the social movements and political discourse that coalesce around sexual liberation in ways that do justice to the complexities both of what circulates under the signifier Islam and of sexual political movements in Muslim-majority countries.
Up until the end of the eighteenth century, the way Ottomans used their clocks conformed to the inner logic of their own temporal culture. However, this began to change rather dramatically during the nineteenth century, as the Ottoman Empire was increasingly assimilated into the European-dominated global economy and the project of modern state building began to gather momentum. In Reading Clocks, Alla Turca, Avner Wishnitzer unravels the complexity of Ottoman temporal culture and for the first time tells the story of its transformation. He explains that in their attempt to attain better surveillance capabilities and higher levels of regularity and efficiency, various organs of the reforming Ottoman state developed elaborate temporal constructs in which clocks played an increasingly important role. As the reform movement spread beyond the government apparatus, emerging groups of officers, bureaucrats, and urban professionals incorporated novel time-related ideas, values, and behaviors into their self-consciously “modern” outlook and lifestyle. Acculturated in the highly regimented environment of schools and barracks, they came to identify efficiency and temporal regularity with progress and the former temporal patterns with the old political order.
Drawing on a wealth of archival and literary sources, Wishnitzer’s original and highly important work presents the shifting culture of time as an arena in which Ottoman social groups competed for legitimacy and a medium through which the very concept of modernity was defined. Reading Clocks, Alla Turca breaks new ground in the study of the Middle East and presents us with a new understanding of the relationship between time and modernity.
The Resistance Network is the history of an underground network of humanitarians, missionaries, and diplomats in Ottoman Syria who helped save the lives of thousands during the Armenian Genocide. Khatchig Mouradian challenges depictions of Armenians as passive victims of violence and subjects of humanitarianism, demonstrating the key role they played in organizing a humanitarian resistance against the destruction of their people. Piecing together hundreds of accounts, official documents, and missionary records, Mouradian presents a social history of genocide and resistance in wartime Aleppo and a network of transit and concentration camps stretching from Bab to Ras ul-Ain and Der Zor. He ultimately argues that, despite the violent and systematic mechanisms of control and destruction in the cities, concentration camps, and massacre sites in this region, the genocide of the Armenians did not progress unhindered—unarmed resistance proved an important factor in saving countless lives.
Winner of the 2019 Dr. Sona Aronian Book Prize for Excellence in Armenian Studies (NAASR)
From the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, the city of Ani was the jewel of the Armenian kingdom, renowned far and wide for its magnificent buildings. Known as the city of 1001 churches, Ani was a center for artistic innovation, and its architecture is a potential missing link between Byzantine and Gothic styles. By the fifteenth century, Ani was virtually abandoned, its stunning buildings left to crumble. Yet its ruins have remained a symbol of cultural accomplishment that looms large in the Armenian imagination.
The Ruins of Ani is a unique combination of history, art criticism, and travel memoir that takes readers on a thousand-year journey in search of past splendors. Today, Ani is a popular tourist site in Turkey, but the city has been falsified in its presentation by the Turkish government in order to erase Armenian history in the wake of the Armenian Genocide. This timely publication also raises questions about the preservation of major historic monuments in the face of post atrocity campaigns of cultural erasure.
Originally written by young priest Krikor Balakian in 1910, just a few years before the Armenian genocide, this book offers a powerful and poignant counterpart to Balakian’s acclaimed genocide memoir Armenian Golgotha. This new translation by the author’s great-nephew, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Balakian, eloquently renders the book’s vivid descriptions and lyrical prose into English. Including a new introduction that explores Ani’s continued relevance in the twenty-first century, The Ruins of Ani will give readers a new appreciation for this lost city’s status as a pinnacle of both Armenian civilization and human achievement.
During the nineteenth century—as violence, population dislocations, and rebellions unfolded in the borderlands between the Russian and Ottoman Empires—European and Russian diplomats debated the “Eastern Question,” or, “What should be done about the Ottoman Empire?” Russian-Ottoman Borderlands brings together an international group of scholars to show that the Eastern Question was not just one but many questions that varied tremendously from one historical actor and moment to the next. The Eastern Question (or, from the Ottoman perspective, the Western Question) became the predominant subject of international affairs until the end of the First World War. Its legacy continues to resonate in the Balkans, the Black Sea region, and the Caucasus today.
The contributors address ethnicity, religion, popular attitudes, violence, dislocation and mass migration, economic rivalry, and great-power diplomacy. Through a variety of fresh approaches, they examine the consequences of the Eastern Question in the lives of those peoples it most affected, the millions living in the Russian and Ottoman Empires and the borderlands in between.
The Iraqi city of Fallujah has become an epicenter of geopolitical conflict, where foreign powers and non-state actors have repeatedly waged war in residential neighborhoods with staggering humanitarian consequences. The Sacking of Fallujah is the first comprehensive study of the three recent sieges of this city, including those by the United States in 2004 and the Iraqi-led operation to defeat ISIS in 2016.
Unlike dominant military accounts that focus on American soldiers and U.S. leaders and perpetuate the myth that the United States "liberated" the city, this book argues that Fallujah was destroyed by coalition forces, leaving public health crises, political destabilization, and mass civilian casualties in their wake. This meticulously researched account cuts through the propaganda to uncover the lived experiences of Fallujans under siege and occupation, and contextualizes these events within a broader history of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Relying on testimony from Iraqi civilians, the work of independent journalists, and documentation from human rights organizations, Ross Caputi, Richard Hil, and Donna Mulhearn place the experiences of Fallujah's residents at the center of this city's recent history.
Sasun, a region of Anatolia formerly under Ottoman rule and today part of eastern Turkey, is frequently recounted in history books as the site where, in 1894, the Turks murdered anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 Armenian Christians. News reports at the time detailed that gruesome acts, including torture, had occurred at Sasun at the hands of the Ottoman army. The Ottoman Empire denied these allegations. A commission of European delegates sent to investigate the matter concluded that the news reports were highly exaggerated, yet the original stories of atrocities have persisted. This volume provides a close examination of the historical evidence to shed light on what really happened at Sasun. The authors’ research indicates that the stories circulated by the media of torture and murder in Sasun don’t hold up against the findings of the European investigators though they were motivated by sympathy with Armenian Christians. Evidence instead showed that an Armenian revolt had led to fights with local Kurds and much smaller numbers of deaths, on both sides. The conflict had largely subsided before the arrival of the Ottoman army on the scene.
Scholars have long thought that, following the Muslim Golden Age of the medieval era, the Ottoman Empire grew culturally and technologically isolated, losing interest in innovation and placing the empire on a path toward stagnation and decline. Science among the Ottomans challenges this widely accepted Western image of the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Ottomans as backward and impoverished.
In the first book on this topic in English in over sixty years, Miri Shefer-Mossensohn contends that Ottoman society and culture created a fertile environment that fostered diverse scientific activity. She demonstrates that the Ottomans excelled in adapting the inventions of others to their own needs and improving them. For example, in 1877, the Ottoman Empire boasted the seventh-longest electric telegraph system in the world; indeed, the Ottomans were among the era’s most advanced nations with regard to modern communication infrastructure. To substantiate her claims about science in the empire, Shefer-Mossensohn studies patterns of learning; state involvement in technological activities; and Turkish- and Arabic-speaking Ottomans who produced, consumed, and altered scientific practices. The results reveal Ottoman participation in science to have been a dynamic force that helped sustain the six-hundred-year empire.
This book explores the relationship between women and property in the Greek lands and their broader social position in the century that culminated with the establishment of the national Greek state (1750–1850). Evdoxios Doxiadis focuses on the status and rights of Greek women in the later Ottoman period, the decade-long Greek War of Independence, and the first decades of the Greek state, seeking to reveal the impact that the pursuit of modernization by the early Greek governments had on women. Through the systematic examination of numerous legal documents in notarial archives from four distinct regions (Naxos, Mykonos, Athens, and Leonidio), the position of women in Greek societies of the period is illuminated in all its complexity and regional diversity. Special emphasis is placed on women’s ability in some areas to defend their property rights and be active economic agents.
Although the Greek revolutionaries and the Greek state did not curtail the rights of women with respect to property, the very institutions that were fundamental in the creation of the Greek state transformed the established relationship between women and property. Doxiadis shows that modernization proved to be an oppressive force for Greek women—though in a much more clandestine fashion than perhaps expected in other European states.
Today, nationalism and nationalist sentiments are becoming more and more pronounced, creating a global emergence of ethno-nationalist and religious fundamentalist identity conflicts. In the post-9/11 era of international terrorism, it is appropriate to suggest that nationalism will retain its central place in politics and local and world affairs for the foreseeable future. It is in this vein that there has been a recent upsurge of interest concerning the power of nationalist tendencies as one of the dominant ideologies of modern times.
Symbiotic Antagonisms looks at the state-centric mode of modernization in Turkey that has constituted the very foundation on which nationalism has acquired its ideological status and transformative power. The book documents a symposium held at Sabanci University, presenting nationalism as a multidimensional, multiactor-based phenomenon that functions as an ideology, a discourse, and a political strategy. Turkish, Kurdish, and Islamic nationalisms are systematically compared in this timely and significant work.
Art is politics and politics is art in this study of post–World War I caricature art in Egypt and Egyptian politics. This book explores the complex meaning and significance of caricature art drawn to support the ascendant Egyptian Wafdpolitical party and its push for independence from British colonial control. The works of previously neglected Egyptian lithographers are also explored, especially those who adopted sophisticated European techniques while experimenting with a variety of new styles during a remarkable period in Egyptian history.
Caricature art by Wafd party artists was almostsui generis. It is distinguished especially by its sincere use of iconic, folkloric imagery, intended to rally nationalistic sentiments among an emerging Egyptian electorate that included many nonliterate citizens. Cannon’s research breathes new life into an influential yet largely forgotten artistic movement in Egypt, one that deserves recognition for its contribution to Egypt’s share of modern Middle East cultural history. Includes full color reproductions.
A Financial Times Book of the Year A Foreign Affairs Book of the Year A Spectator Book of the Year
“A landmark contribution to the study of these epochal events.” —Times Literary Supplement
“Brilliantly researched and written…casts a careful eye upon the ghastly events that took place in the final decades of the Ottoman empire, when its rulers decided to annihilate their Christian subjects…Hitler and the Nazis gleaned lessons from this genocide that they then applied to their own efforts to extirpate Jews.” —Jacob Heilbrun, The Spectator
Between 1894 and 1924, three waves of violence swept across Anatolia, targeting the region’s Christian minorities. By 1924, the Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, once nearly a quarter of the population, had been reduced to 2 percent. Most historians have treated these waves as distinct, isolated events, and successive Turkish governments presented them as an unfortunate sequence of accidents. The Thirty-Year Genocide is the first account to show that all three were actually part of a single, continuing, and intentional effort to wipe out Anatolia’s Christian population. Despite the dramatic swing from the Islamizing autocracy of the sultan to the secularizing republicanism of the post–World War I period, the nation’s annihilationist policies were remarkably constant, with continual recourse to premeditated mass killing, homicidal deportation, forced conversion, and mass rape. And one thing more was a constant: the rallying cry of jihad. While not justified under the teachings of Islam, the killing of two million Christians was effected through the calculated exhortation of the Turks to create a pure Muslim nation.
“A subtle diagnosis of why, at particular moments over a span of three decades, Ottoman rulers and their successors unleashed torrents of suffering.” —Bruce Clark, New York Times Book Review
In The Turk in America, historian Justin McCarthy seeks to explain the historical basis for American prejudice towards Turks in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The volume focuses on fraudulent characterizations of Turks, mostly stemming from an antipathy in Europe and America toward non-Christians, and especially Muslims. Spanning one hundred and fifty years, this history explores the misinformation largely responsible for the negative stereotypes of Turks during this period.
Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, had a dream in which a tree sprouted from his navel. As the tree grew, its shade covered the earth; as Osman’s empire grew, it, too, covered the earth. This is the most widely accepted foundation myth of the longest-lasting empire in the history of Islam, and offers a telling clue to its unique legacy. Underlying every aspect of the Ottoman Empire’s epic history—from its founding around 1300 to its end in the twentieth century—is its successful management of natural resources. Under Osman’s Tree analyzes this rich environmental history to understand the most remarkable qualities of the Ottoman Empire—its longevity, politics, economy, and society.
The early modern Middle East was the world’s most crucial zone of connection and interaction. Accordingly, the Ottoman Empire’s many varied environments affected and were affected by global trade, climate, and disease. From down in the mud of Egypt’s canals to up in the treetops of Anatolia, Alan Mikhail tackles major aspects of the Middle East’s environmental history: natural resource management, climate, human and animal labor, energy, water control, disease, and politics. He also points to some of the ways in which the region’s dominant religious tradition, Islam, has understood and related to the natural world. Marrying environmental and Ottoman history, Under Osman’s Tree offers a bold new interpretation of the past five hundred years of Middle Eastern history.
During the middle decades of the nineteenth century, a generation of Ottoman Greeks was caught up in radical social and political changes, including the period of reforms known as Tanzimat. The Ottoman Greek press was both a product and an agent of these changes. The Uses of Oppression follows the development of the Ottoman Greek press from its birth in 1830 until 1862, employing the vivid reflections of its editors, correspondents, advertisers, commentators, and readers as a lens through which to view the everyday lives of this generation of Ottoman Greeks—their social aspirations, their reactions to political events, their reception of Western-style norms, and other contemporary issues.
War and Collapse is the third and final volume in a series that covers the last years of the Ottoman Empire. This book stems from a three-day international conference held in May 2012 at which scholars examined the causes and consequences of World War I, with a distinctive focus on how these events pertained to the Ottoman state and society. Fifty-three scholars—both new and established—contributed to this collection, with the goal of explaining what happened within the Ottoman Empire before and during WWI and how ethnic and national groups constructed these events to enhance their identities, promote their interests, and situate their collective selves in the international system. The chapters provide insight into the mindset and experiences of Ottoman peoples from the end of the Balkan Wars through the end of World War I, showing how earlier events set in motion the Ottoman response to the war and how continued engagement in conflict had devastating, irreversible effects on Ottoman society. The articles in this volume include a wide variety of ideas and points of view, thus presenting a comprehensive picture of the events.
War and Nationalism presents thorough up-to-date scholarship on the often misunderstood and neglected Balkan Wars of 1912 to 1913, which contributed to the outbreak of World War I. The essays contain critical inquiries into the diverse and interconnected processes of social, economic, and political exchange that escalated into conflict. The wars represented a pivotal moment that had a long-lasting impact on the regional state system and fundamentally transformed the beleaguered Ottoman Empire in the process.
This interdisciplinary volume stands as a critique of the standard discourse regarding the Balkan Wars and effectively questions many of the assumptions of prevailing modern nation-state histories, which have long privileged the ethno-religious dimensions present in the Balkans. The authors go to great lengths in demonstrating the fluidity of social, geographical, and cultural boundaries before 1912 and call into question the “nationalist watershed” notion that was artificially imposed by manipulative historiography and political machinations following the end of fighting in 1913.
War and Nationalism will be of interest to scholars looking to enrich their own understanding of an overshadowed historical event and will serve as a valuable contribution to courses on Ottoman and European history.
The years 1908 to 1918 are frequently viewed as the period when the Ottoman Empire fell into decline, but in this volume, Feroz Ahmad argues that the Empire was not in decline but instead had come face to face with a widespread process of decolonization. Its colonies, stimulated by the idea of nationalism, sought to liberate themselves, sometimes with the help of the Great Powers of Europe, who in turn saw these rebellions as an opportunity to expand their own empires. While these ethno-nationalist movements have often been described in terms of Ottoman oppressor versus conspiring nationalists, here they are presented as part of a broad historical process.
Ahmad holds that nationalism was introduced into the Ottoman Empire during the French Revolution, providing kindling for the struggles that later emerged. Setting the stage with this nineteenth-century background, Ahmad then examines each Ottoman nationality in the wake of the restoration of the Ottoman constitution in 1908. Officially known as the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), the Young Turks made up a nationalist political party that ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1908 until the end of World War I. Ahmad illuminates the relationships and conflicts between the Young Turks and the Greek, Armenian, Albanian, Jewish, and Arab ethnic groups during this period. Placing these nationalities in their historical context, he shows their relationships not only to the Young Turks but also to one anotherno other single book has attempted to look closely at all of these connections.
Anyone interested in understanding the roots of current-day relations in the Balkans and Middle East will find this book very informative. Clearly organized and written, the book will enlighten both readers and scholars.