Mar 26, 2012

Ottoman Politics in the Arab Provinces and the CUP, 1908-1918 | Zachary J. Foster

The 1908 Young Turk revolution, which restored the Ottoman constitution and brought to power the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) ushered in a new and paradoxical era of politics on the eve of World War I in the Ottoman Empire. On one hand, the CUP was the steward of liberalism, Ottomanism, and secular politics in the empire that sought to put an end to the political abuses of the Hamidian era. On the other, it promoted a brand of ethnic Turkish nationalism and is often remembered for its role in various acts of oppression during World War I that included the wholesale deportation and massacre of Ottoman Armenians and ruthless crackdowns on dissent in the Arab provinces. In this episode, Zach Foster considers the complex political dynamic between the CUP and the region of Greater Syria following 1908, focusing in particular on the degree to which the CUP succeeded in garnering the support of Arab politicians.

Zachary J. Foster is a Ph.D student in the Near East Studies Department at Princeton University, focusing on the modern Middle East
Alexander E. Balistreri is a Ph.D student in Near East Studies Department at Princeton University

Note for the listener: Although this podcast is based in part on primary source research, it is also a synthesis of publicly available information and draws extensively from the following works below, which are also mentioned during the course of the episode. For the purposes of academic citation, we encourage you to consult these works.

Select Bibliography

Yuval Ben-Bassat and Eyal Ginio (ed.), Late Ottoman Palestine: The Period of Young Turk rule (London: I.B. Tauris, 2011)
Philip Khoury, Urban Notables and Arab Nationalism: The Politics of Damascus, 1860-1920 (New York : Cambridge University Press, 1983).
Michelle U. Campos, Ottoman Brothers: Muslims, Christians and Jews in early Twentieth-Centuy Palestine (Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, 2011).
Hasan Kayalı, Arabs and Young Turks: Ottomanism, Arabism and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1918 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997).
Şükrü M. Hanioğlu, Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).

Mar 3, 2012

An Armenian Merchant from Poland Visits Safavid Persia | Michael Polczynski

48. Sefer Muratowicz

The early modern era was a period of tremendous fluidity in terms of borders of identities. In this podcast, we discuss the life and times of Sefer Muratowicz, an Armenian merchant born in Ottoman Anatolia during the late sixteenth century who settled in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and became an envoy to the Safavid Shah in Persia through his role as a merchant. Sefer left an account of his visit, which our guest Michael Polczynski has translated and analyzed. The account provides information about Sefer's journey as well as his diplomatic and mercantile activities, painting a picture in the process of some aspects of travel, diplomacy, and perhaps even espionage in borderlands regions during the early modern period.

Michael Połczyński is a PhD student studying Ottoman and Polish history at Georgetown University (see

Chris Gratien is a PhD student at Georgetown University studying the history of the modern Middle East (see
Fatih Çalışır is a PhD student at Georgetown University studying early modern Ottoman history (see

Select Bibliography

Juan, and G. Le Strange. Don Juan of Persia : A Shi'ah Catholic 1560-1604. London; New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2005.

Matthee, Rudolph P. The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran : Silk for Silver, 1600-1730. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Muratowicz, Sefer, Józef Epifani Minasowicz, and Wawrzyniec Mitzler de Kolof. Relacya Sefera Muratowicza Obywatela Warszawskiego Od Zygmunta III Krola Polskiego Dla Sprawowania Rzeczy Wysłanego do Persyi w Roku 1602. W Warszawie: w Drukarni J. K. Mci y Rzpltey Mitzlerowskiey, 1777.

Nadel-Golobič, Eleonora. "Armenians and Jews in Medieval Lvov : Their Role in Oriental Trade, 1400-1600." Cahiers du monde russe et soviétique.

Szuppe, Maria. 1986. “Un marchand du roi de Pologne en Perse, 1601–1602.” Moyen Orient & Ocean Indien, XVI-XIX siecles 3: 81–110.

Sherley, Anthony. Sir Antony Sherley: His Relation of His Travels into Persia. London: Printed for N. Butter, and I. Bagset, 1900.