[P6390] Mutton, Textile and Salt: Economic History of the Nineteenth-Century Ottoman East

Created by Yasar Tolga Cora
Thursday, 12/02/21 11:30 am


Until very recently, studying the shared histories of different ethnic communities in the Ottoman East has been extremely difficult and elaborated only in the contexts of political history and conflict. Under the shadows of the Armenian Question of the Ottoman Empire and the Kurdish Question of the Republic, the denial of the Kurdish identity and the Armenian genocide led inadvertently to the hesitation in studying the multi-layered Kurdish presence and a vibrant Armenian past in the region. Clouded by these questions, the most important shortcoming of most histories of the Ottoman East has been the utmost interest in one ethno-religious identity (i.e., Armenians) or one type of event (i.e., Kurdish rebellions, massacres). Contrary to such studies, this panel focuses on the social and economic history of the Ottoman East in which communities with different class backgrounds interacted with each other in the economic transformation of the region, highlighting the broader themes of Ottoman studies as well as the regional, imperial, and trans-imperial contexts. In this way, the panel seeks to overcome the historiographic boundaries drawn by the security-driven questions posed for the region. Instead, it offers socioeconomic-oriented narratives which criticize its peripheralization in the national(ist) historiographies and work for the restoration of the history of the Ottoman East back to the Ottoman proper.
The four papers of the panel provide diversity within a conceptual and geographical framework of the Ottoman East. Focusing on topics as sheep breeding, textile production, meat provision, as well as salt monopoly, the four papers focus collectively on the different ways in which actors from different ethnic, class, and social backgrounds--from Kurdish tribes and Armenian textile producing-peasants to Arab meat-merchants--turned into important agents for economic change in the Ottoman Empire. As the papers discuss, these different actors interacted with each other and with other actors across the regions within the empire and beyond its borders. They highlight not only the need for investigating hitherto understudied aspects of the economy of the region but also the necessity for re-calibration of geographical focus and methodological approaches.
Thus, based on Ottoman archival materials, newspaper records, and ethnographic accounts, all four papers investigate these intricate socioeconomic relations through micro studies and reflect on the significance of the economy of the Ottoman East for the broader Ottoman and cross-regional histories.


Hist; Hist; Hist; Hist; Hist; Hist



Yonca Koksal

(Koc University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Can Nacar

(Koç University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Co-Author;

Yasar Tolga Cora

(Bogazici University, Istanbul)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Ugur Bayraktar

(Social Sciences University of Ankara)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Yener Koc

Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;
Nacar, Can (Koc University) - Abstract Second Author