Did the Ottomans Consider Themselves an Empire?

77. Whose Empire?

The entity known today as the Ottoman Empire is often taken by historians as an exemplary model of an imperial state. Yet, until the nineteenth century, Ottomans had never referred to their state as an empire in their writings or bureaucratic records and diplomatic correspondences. In this podcast, Einar Wigen explores the curious absence of the term "empire" within the Ottoman vocabulary, explains how the concept entered Ottoman Turkish, and deals with some possibly equivalent Ottoman titles and designations that may be considered imperial.

Einar Wigen is a PhD candidate in Modern Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oslo, Norway
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see academia.edu)
Timur Hammond is a PhD candidate in the Geography department at UCLA studying the social and cultural geography of modern Turkey

Citation: "Empire in Question: Did the Ottomans Consider Themselves an Empire?," Einar Wigen, Chris Gratien, and Timur Hammond, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 77 (November 5, 2012) http://www.ottomanhistorypodcast.com/2012/11/ottoman-empire-was-history-name.html.

Select Bibliography:

Margrit Pernau "Whither Conceptual History? From National to Entangled Histories" Contributions to the History of Concepts 7(1):1-11.
Einar Wigen (forthcoming 2013) "Ottoman Concepts of Empire" Contributions to the History of Concepts.
Karen Barkey. Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
Selim Deringil “,‘They Live in a State of Nomadism and Savagery,’ The Late Ottoman Empire and the Post-Colonial Debate,” Comparative Studies in History and Society 45(2), 2003, 311-342
Jörn Leonhard & Ulrike von Hirschhausen (eds.) Comparing empires: encounters and transfers in the long nineteenth century. Göttingen/Oakville, CT: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011  
Daniel H. Nexon and Thomas Wright “What’s at Stake in the American Empire Debate,” The American Political Science Review 101(2), 2007, 253-271.
Reinhart Koselleck. Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004).
Reinhart Koselleck (2011) "Introduction and Prefaces to the Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe" Contributions to the History of Concepts, 6(1):1-37.
Anthony Pagden. Lords of All the World: Ideologies of Empire in Spain, Britain and France c.1500-c.1800 (New Haven CN: Yale University Press, 1995).
Selim Deringil. The Well-protected Domains: Ideology and The Legitimation of Power in The Ottoman Empire, 1876-1909 (London/New York: I.B. Tauris, 1998).
Christoph K. Neumann, “Devletin Adı Yok — Bir Amblemin Okunması,” [The State Has No Name — the Reading of an Emblem] Cogito 19 (1999): 274.


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