[P6444] Empire’s Eleventh Hour: Ethnic Violence, Imperial Vision, and National Churches in the Ottoman Empire
Created by Umit Eser
Tuesday, 11/30/21 2:00 pm
SUMMARY:Our panel focuses on the nationalization of the religious and ethnic minorities in the Ottoman and early Republican period. The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th century converted religiously and ethnically diverse societies into self-designed homogenous nations. Although Christians and Muslims had coexisted for centuries closely interacting with each other, the Ottoman Empire became the center of the competing nationalist agendas. With the waves of nationalism during the transition from the Empire to the nation-states, the churches also had to integrate into national units. The new notions of secular statehood and nationality disrupted religiously-defined collective identities. Throughout the 19th century, nationhood was articulated as a normative standard. Nationalist movements targeted to erode “the earlier bonds of shared spiritual values”, and the religious institutions were embedded in political and nationalistic quarrels. The shared past, which prevailed over a chiliad, began to be shattered because of rival nationalisms. At long last, the millet-i Rum would be replaced by national belongings created by new nation-states.
The main themes of this panel are the nationalization of churches; the role of the churches in the mobilization of the masses during wartime; and the Muslim-Christian conflict at the end of the Ottoman Empire, which finally lead to the evacuation of the Anatolian Christians. The questions we address: How the churches and the religious communities adopted the national identity and the nationalist discourse. How national authorities used the religious centers to assimilate or accommodate the minorities? To what extent the nation-states attempted to co-opt religious and administrative authorities in the war zones? Did homogenization of Anatolia and the Balkans go hand in hand with the religious conflicts? What were the parallelisms between the political and religious polarization?