Managing Population in Cyprus and Mandate Palestine

with Yael Berda

hosted by Chris Gratien and Shireen Hamza

Download the podcast
Feed | iTunes | GooglePlaySoundCloud

How does the structure of bureaucracies and state administrations influence the capacity for political and social change, and what are the legacies of empire for contemporary societies? In this episode, we take a comparative look at these questions by focusing on former regions of the British Empire that have been subject to different forms of political partition. Our guest Yael Berda is a sociologist who has examined the histories of British colonialism in Cyprus, Palestine, India, and beyond, and in our conversation, we focus in on the subject of population management and censuses in the Protectorate of Cyprus and Mandate Palestine. We discuss how the British administration inherited, adopted, and modified systems of governance and categorization of people from their Ottoman forebears, and we consider how ethnic, religious, and racial categories employed by the British Empire influenced eventual questions of citizenship and political partition. 

Stream via SoundCloud


Yael Berda is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies (and a recovering constitutional lawyer ) She teaches and writes about bureaucracy, security and emergency practices and what these do to possibilities for democracy.  
Chris Gratien holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University's Department of History. His research focuses on the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region from the 1850s until the 1950s.
Shireen Hamza is a doctoral student in the History of Science department at Harvard University. Her research focuses broadly on the history of science and medicine in the Islamicate Middle Ages, and more specifically on the history of women's health.  


Episode No. 274
Release Date: 22 October 2016
Recording Location: Harvard University
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Sound excerpts: from - Istanbul'dan Ayva Gelir Nar Gelir - Azize Tozem and Sari RecepHarmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal Efendi; from - Bumble Bee Bossa by Podington Bear
Special thanks to Kara Güneş for allowing us to use the composition "Istanbul" in the outro music
Images and bibliography courtesy of Yael Berda


Land Ownership in Cyprus Mapped According to Race in 1960 Census (Source: Cyprus State Archives; courtesy of Yael Berda) 

Bryant, Rebecca, and Yiannis Papadakis. Cyprus and the politics of memory: history, community and conflict. Vol. 51. Ib tauris, 2012.

Bryant, Rebecca. Post-Ottoman Coexistence. Berghahn Books, 2016.

Bryant, Rebecca. "On Critical Times: Return, Repetition, and the Uncanny Present." History and Anthropology 27.1 (2016): 19-31.

Constantinou, Costas M., and Mete Hatay. "Cyprus, ethnic conflict and conflicted heritage." Ethnic and Racial Studies 33.9 (2010): 1600-1619.

Constantinou, Costas M. "Aporias of identity: Bicommunalism, Hybridity and theCyprus Problem'." Cooperation and Conflict 42.3 (2007): 247-270.

Deringil, Selim. "“They live in a state of nomadism and savagery”: the late Ottoman Empire and the post-colonial debate." Comparative Studies in Society and History 45.02 (2003): 311-342.

Leibler, Anat. "Disciplining ethnicity: Social sorting intersects with political demography in Israel’s pre-state period." Social studies of science 44.2 (2014): 271-292.

Papadakis, Yiannis, Nicos Peristianis, and Gisela Welz, eds. Divided Cyprus: Modernity, history, and an island in conflict. Indiana University Press, 2006.

Varnava, Andrekos, British Imperialism in Cyprus, 1878-1915: the Inconsequential Possession
Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2009

Varnava, Andrekos, Nicholas Coureas, and Marina Elia, eds. The Minorities of Cyprus: Development patterns and the identity of the internal-exclusion. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.

Rappas, Alexis. Cyprus in the 1930s: British Colonial Rule and the Roots of the Cyprus Conflict. Vol. 66. IB Tauris, 2014.

Zürcher, Erik Jan. "The Ottoman Conscription System, 1844–1914."International review of social history 43.03 (1998): 437-449.


Ottoman History Podcast is a noncommerical website intended for educational use. Anyone is welcome to use and reproduce our content with proper attribution under the terms of noncommercial fair use within the classroom setting or on other educational websites. All third-party content is used either with express permission or under the terms of fair use. Our page and podcasts contain no advertising and our website receives no revenue. All donations received are used solely for the purposes of covering our expenses. Unauthorized commercial use of our material is strictly prohibited, as it violates not only our noncommercial commitment but also the rights of third-party content owners.

We make efforts to completely cite all secondary sources employed in the making of our episodes and properly attribute third-party content such as images from the web. If you feel that your material has been improperly used or incorrectly attributed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us.