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What is a legacy?

What is a legacy?


School: George Washington University
Department: Political Science
Course: Basic Topics in International Affairs
Professor: Nathan brown
Term: Spring 2016
Tags: gwu, George Washington University, Ottoman, middle east, Turks, Turkey, notes, Readings, Brown, 2040, and international affairs
Cost: 25
Name: IAFF 2040 In-Class Notes, & Notes on Assigned Readings
Description: IAFF 2040 In-Class Notes, & Notes on Assigned Readings International Affairs Dr. Nathan J. Brown Funger 207 The Middle East: an International Affairs Survey The George Washington University Reading Notes ~ The Imperial Legacy: The Ottoman Imprint on the Balkans and the Middle East Class 3 ~ The Ottoman Heritage and Legacy
Uploaded: 01/13/2016
7 Pages 36 Views 1 Unlocks


What is a legacy?

The Middle East: An International Affairs Survey

Dr. Nathan J. Brown    

Caroline E. Jok Don't forget about the age old question of Fermat's last theorem refers to what?

The George Washington University

Class 3 Notes ~ The Ottoman Heritage and Legacy

Concepts and Ideas that are helpful when considering Imperial legacies in general and the Ottoman  legacy specifically  

• What is a Legacy?

Has roots/presence/general sense dating form the past

What does the millet system mean?

o General Sense Legacy:  

• Cuisine  

• Languages

• Tulip

Prior institutions the previous civilization used

o Institutional Legacy of the Ottomans

• Bureaucracy  

• Millet System: System of legal pluralism (communities defined as your religion) ▪ Dimmi status: Muslims, Christians, Jews *Hierarchical towards Muslims (milleti  hakim)  

▪ Ultimate allegiance to the Sultan

o After effect (positive or negative)

• How can this be measured?/methodology - differentiate between important/cute legacies • Counter Factual

What does the counterfactual mean?

▪ Asks (thought experiment) What if? Don't forget about the age old question of What does multicellularity mean?

• What if Hitler hadn't existed?

• What if there was no Ottoman Empire? If you want to learn more check out Gutenberg press refers to what?

• Perhaps there would be more states?

• Differences in religions/who is in control

• Different population demographics

o Empire

• Political entity that combines one or more authorities under one institution If you want to learn more check out Where are the receptors of the general senses located?

• Do empire's automatically leave major legacies? (Not particularly - ex: *Polish Lithuanian Common Wealth)  

• If there's no Portuguese/Spanish empires in the Middle east, it is thanks to the Ottomans • Legacy of Muslim Majority rule.  

• History vs. Historiography

o History

• Facts

o Historiography

• Schools of knowledge about the facts: Ways of interpreting the Facts

• Ex: asking a Greek National Historian about the Ottoman Legacy (probably a negative  view - first of the Christian Millet to break away from the Ottomans)  

• Ex: How the story is told

• Trope: cliché (recurring)  

▪ Trope of the "Turkish" ottoman Yoke (They took away our autonomy etc. See  Reading)  

• Why is it hard to answer the question of the Ottoman Legacy?  Don't forget about the age old question of What are the foundations of scientific evaluation?

o Because of Historiography - The differing points of views and voices of the story. Don't forget about the age old question of What are the functions of blood?

• The in-group of suffering tends to blame the out-group  

• Positive view: Sunni Muslim/Islamist political movements  

• Negative View: Christians, Secular Muslim (Turks, Arabs…) political movements • This empire clearly affects things today, some say positively others say negatively • What are other tools to assess the Legacy of the Ottoman Empire?

o Can point to factors that matter

o Ask Where? And in what field?  

o Make the question more specific

o Categorical

o Have to consider Time and Place and communities (Subjectivities)  

• Legacies:  

o Homan Islam

• What Role did Islam play in the Empire?

▪ Ideological legitimation

▪ Governance & Legal function

• Yasa  

▪ Also very important in the late ottoman period: acted as a counterweight  

• Institution as the caliphate as people started to break away.  

• Abdul Hamid II diary  

• Some of the Sultans/caliph were not particular observant of their beliefs  

o Homan Pluralism (millet System and demographics)  

• Exception in the early modern period

• On going Kurdish demand for autonomy  

o Homan governance

• Strong State tradition

• To what extant is the Ottoman model an autocratic model?

o Homan International Relations

• Way to scare off the British, French, Russians

▪ "Sick man of Europe" - Eastern Question

• Turkey in Europe (currently)  

• What role will Turkey Play today (ie as a bridge)

o Legacies for Turkey


Reading Notes ~ The Imperial Legacy: The Ottoman Imprint on the Balkans and the Middle East Introduction:  

• Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman: all Mediterranean and all based on wide-ranging and long-lived  multinational imperial institutions.  

o Ottoman the successor to Byzantines, just as Byzantine was the successor to Rome.  • Ottoman Empire represented the fullest flowering of Islamic political institutionalization o Earlier: Umayyad, Abbasid

o 4 great empires (maps don’t indicate loose protectorate/central control)  

• Roman

• Byzantine

• Abbasid

• Ottoman

o 2 other Muslim imperial systems at the same time as the Ottomans:  

• Safavid (Iran)

▪ Succeeded by the Qajar dynasty  

• Mogul (India)

▪ Fell in the late 18c.

• Latest and most institutionally elaborate of the many West-Asian imperial systems that reach back  in time  

• The West labels the Ottoman Empire as turkey

• The Arabs view the Ottoman period as one of alien rule

• Generally viewed as a burdensome heritage or as something irrelevant to today's reality • Transcend the tendency to see only the Republic of turkey as successor to the Ottoman legacy Defining terms

• Sir Harry Luke

o Palestinian Arab leaders were shaped by the ottoman political culture but their children  weren't. (Ottoman legacy becomes fainter)

o Centuries-old separation between rulers and the ruled

• Transition from Ottoman to post-Ottoman times represents such a sharp break • Best answer: Never total change, never total continuity

• Problem: defining what we mean by Ottoman

o Distinguish from Ottoman or Islamic

• Was the Empire becoming less Ottoman?

• Ottoman: cover all aspects of the culture from the time of the eponym, Uthman in the latter years • Not always true: closer the past age was to the present the stronger the legacy • Remote past may offer more important legacies than later times

o When society formulates its past in service of present values

o People invent a past to justify their present

• Double golden age

o Early Ottoman Empire

o Period of the Prophet Muhammad and the immediately following generations during which  the Quran was revealed and the Shari'ah established.  

• Changing of the historical record

o Changing importance of the caliphate

o Muhammad did not shy away from borrowing ideas developed by the infidels • Sultan Abdul-Hamid embraced the movement that cam to be called Pan-Islam and presented  himself as the leader of all Muslims everywhere, not just those living within Ottoman political  boundaries.  

• WWI: ottomans joined the central powers and the sultan declared a jihad

o Allied colonial powers w/ Muslim populations felt compelled to react

o Link leading to British negotiations with an Ottoman official ruling in Mecca.  o Arab revolt: turning point in modern M.E. history

• Is there a direct line connecting Ottoman-led Pan-Islam and the many strands of political Islam  today?  

• Arabs currently view the Ottoman era as 4 centuries of alien domination

• End of WWI also end of the Ottoman Empire

o Ataturk's Turkey turning its back on the Arabs

o Alien control: British and French mandates

o Makes sense to rewrite history to construct impeccably Arab nationalist genealogy extending  back into the ottoman period

o Arabs have interpreted the ottoman era in Arab nationalist terms

• What if community leaders throughout the Fertile Crescent choose to remember the Ottoman period  as one that provided religious, linguistic, and ethnic autonomy within a political framework strong  enough to protect life

Part One: Perceptions and Parallels

• The concept f legacy is liable to be both ethnocentric and excessively weighted in terms of the  present  

• Both nationalist and Marxists see Ottoman influence as negative

• West V. East (negative)  

• Illogical to blame Ottoman backwardness (due to European dominance of history) • Characteristics of the Ottoman System influenced developments

o Agrarian social structure based on small peasant family farms (unlike Arab lands) o Ottoman relations with Europe went through different phases  

o Ottomans accepted religious minorities/did not press for conversion to Islam o Ottoman kept Arab lands out of European Hands

• Generally accepted Idea; only the Republic of Turkey is successor to the Ottoman Empire o Arabs blame Turks for holding back Arab development

o Turks blame Arabs for treason  

Chapter Two: The meaning of Legacy: The Ottoman Case

• Heritage or legacy is expected to trace the contributions of a particular culture to our modern  civilization

o We look to the past selectively

Questions Asked about the Ottoman Legacy:  

• History can't be adequately written without reference to the Ottomans

• Capital cities of the 20 states that emerged from the disintegration of the empire  o Architecture

o Languages

o Pup culture

o Cuisines

o Lifestyles etc.  

• Some intellectuals: why has turkey remained so backward? (blame Ottomans)  o View as a feudal state

• Society was divided into two principal classes (ruling military elite and masses of  dependents with no political/civil rights)

o Those who claim the Empire is Asiatic

• Strong centralist bureaucracy and command economy

• No possibility for change which could lead to economic growth and social evolution • "stagnant" characteristics

▪ State ownership of arable lands (complete control of peasant production and  labor)  

o Ottoman state's control of agricultural land/peasant labor: factor in failure to change • Is it possible that Ottoman Bureaucrats may have attempted to introduce reforms? o Is the stagnation in the Middle east due to social structure?

o Eastern European/Asian societies cease association with Ottoman heritage being the culprit instate nonwestern traditional societies become the issue.  

o "backwardness": subjective/biased

• Ottoman social system:  

o Represented an effective adaptation to circumstance

Basic Features of the Ottoman Social and Political System:  

• Agrarian social structure it maintained

o Based on small family farms

o Economic and fiscal unit consisting of a peasant household with a farm

o Ottoman bureaucracy eliminated threat of big estates

o Separate societies later formed their own independent national states

• Created almost ideal type of centralist monarchy

o Abolitionist monarchy: eliminated feudal lords, employed only personal retainers • Perfect autocracy  

European States System and the Ottomans

• Professed to be the vanguard of the Islamic world

• Distinguished state and religion

• Interesting role with Christian Crusades, how much is true?

• Ottoman power was a necessary component of the European state system

• Aspect of foreign policies/leverage

o Sometimes an obstacle

• 19 c. depended on western Europeans

• Turkey a part o Europe?  

• Tanzimat reforms: Ottomans introduce Western inspired reforms

• United Nations: multilateral diplomacy and interstate cooperation

Non-Muslim Communities Under the Ottomans

• Was the culture hostile to Western Cultural traditions?

• Tolerant of Christians and Jews

• Employed Greek/Serbian Christians and Jews as scribes/tax farmers/etc.

• Considerable mix/integration of cultures.  

Western Economic Development and the Ottoman

• Cultural borrowing

o Spread of coffee houses in Europe

o Rice cultivation

o Tulip

o Military band

o Trade

o Weaving and dying techniques were borrowed by Italians and other Westerners from the  middle East

o Rise of cotton industries  

• Ottoman Empire had a technological advantage

• France and England: how to lower labor costs  

• East helped the west

The Arab World and the Ottomans

• Reconquista (book)  

• Ottomans tried to limit jihad  

• Facilitated trade

• Egypt: administrative/military/finance affairs

• Baghdad: Control Iraq, monitor the Gulf countries  

• Rise of certain Arab families due to the Ottoman tax farming systems

• Most important legacy: Turkey

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