Central Asians and the Ottoman Empire

with Lale Can

hosted by Chris Gratien

Within nationalist understandings of Turkish identity, connections between Central Asia and the people of modern Turkey are often conceived of in terms of ancient genealogy of Turkic peoples. But as our guest in this episode of Ottoman History Podcast Lale Can illustrates, much more recent bonds forged not by ethnic but rather spiritual affinity during the Ottoman period point to enduring connections between Central Asia and the Ottoman Empire maintained through migration and pilgrimage. In this episode, we discuss Dr. Can's work on Central Asians moving in the Ottoman Empire and the transformation of travel and pilgrimage during the late nineteenth century century.

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Contributor Bios

Lale Can is Assistant Professor of History at The City College of New York, CUNY. She received her Ph.D. in 2012 from the Joint Program in History and Middle East & Islamic Studies at NYU and is currently working on her manuscript, tentatively titled Spiritual Citizens: Central Asians and the Politics of Protection and Pilgrimage in the Ottoman Empire, 1869-1914. (see academia.edu)
Chris Gratien is a doctoral candidate at Georgetown University studying the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. His doctoral research examines the ecological transformation of the Adana region of Southern Turkey from the mid-19th century onward. (see academia.edu)


Music from freemusicarchive.org:
Zainab Palvanova - Ofarin
Release Date: 18 April 2015
Editing and Production: Chris Gratien
Images and bibliography courtesy of Lale Can

Further Listening
Cemil Aydın 313
The Idea of the Muslim World
Michael Christopher Low 101
Hydropolitics and the Hajj
Dženita Karić 406
Bosnian Comrades on Hajj
Will Hanley 345
Nationality and Cosmopolitanism in Alexandria
Gregory Maxwell Bruce 468
Shibli Nomani's Urdu Travelogue of the Ottoman Empire
Faiz Ahmed 443
Afghanistan's Constitution and the Ottoman Empire
Kelly O'Neill 304
Crimea and the Russian Empire
Eileen Kane 219
Russian Hajj
James Meyer 185
Turks Across Empires

Select Bibliography

Primary sources
Muhammad Oxund Toshkandiy, Hajjnoma-i Turkiy, Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent, Uzbekistan. MS Turki IVANUz no. 12057.

Üsküdar Sultantepesi’nde kâin Özbekler Dergahının Nüfus ve Kayıt Defteri fî 1 Zilkade 1316 fî 1 Mart 1315 [entries for 13 March 1899 through 9 December 1906] Sultantepe Özbekler Tekkesi Private Archive.

Secondary sources
Brower, Daniel. “Russian Roads to Mecca: Religious Tolerance and Muslim Pilgrimage,” Slavic Review, vol. 55, no. 3 (Autumn, 1996), 567-584.

Can, Lale. “Connecting People: The Sultantepe Özbekler Tekke and Nineteenth-Century Ottoman-Central Asian Interactions.” Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 46, part 2, March 2012. Republished in Sites of Asian Interaction: Ideas, Networks and Mobility, eds Sunil Amrith and Tim Harper (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Green, Nile. "Spacetime and the Muslim Journey West: Industrial Communications in the Making of the 'Muslim World'", American Historical Review 118, 2 (2013).

Green, Nile. "The Rail Hajjis: The Trans-Siberian Railway and the Long Way to Mecca", in Venetia Porter (ed.), Hajj: Collected Essays (British Museum, 2013).

Kane, Eileen. “Odessa as Hajj Hub, 1880s-1910s” in Russia in Motion: Cultures of Human Mobility since 1850, edited by John Randolph and  Eugene M. Avrutin (University of Illinois Press, 2012). 

Khalid, Adeeb. “Pan-Islamism in practice: The rhetoric of Muslim unity and its uses” in Elisabeth Özdalga (ed.) Late Ottoman Society: The Intellectual Legacy (RoutledgeCurzon, 2005).

Le Gall, Dina. A Culture of Sufism:  Naqshbandis in the Ottoman World, 1450-1700  (SUNY Press, 2005).

McChesney, Robert D. “The Central Asian Hajj-Pilgrimage in the Time of the Early Modern Empires,” in Safavid Iran and Her Neighbors, ed. Michel Mazzaoui (University of Utah Press, 2003), 129-156.

Meyer, James. “Immigration, Return and the Politics of Citizenship: Russian Muslims in the Ottoman Empire, 1860-1914,” IJMES 39 (2007), 15-32.

Norihiro Naganawa, “The Hajj Making Geopolitics, Empire, and Local Politics: A View from the Volga-Ural Region at the Turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries, in A.Papas, T. Welford, and T. Zarcone (eds), Central Asian Pilgrims: Hajj Routes and Pious Visits between Central Asia and the Hijaz (Klaus Schwarz Verlag, 2011).

Thum, Rian. The Sacred Routes of Uyghur History (Harvard University Press, 2014).


Map of Central Asia with constructed and projected railways, circa 1891  (Source: Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi, HRT 1213)


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