How War Changed Ottoman Society

Episode 429

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World War I brought unprecedented destruction to the Ottoman Empire and resulted in its fall of as a political entity, but war also produced new politics. In this podcast, Yiğit Akın is back to talk about his book When the War Came Home and how years of war transformed the Ottoman Empire. We discuss how the experience of the 1912-13 Balkan Wars reshaped Ottoman officials' understanding of modern warfare and informed decisions taken during the First World War. We also discuss the social history of the war for ordinary Ottoman citizens and consider how the particularities of the Ottoman case reveal new insights about WWI and its legacy.

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Contributor Bios

Yiğit Akın is Associate Professor of History at Tulane University. He specializes in the social and cultural history of the late Ottoman Empire and Republican Turkey. His recent book, When the War Came Home: The Ottomans' Great War and the Devastation of an Empire (Stanford, 2018), examines the Ottoman society’s catastrophic experience of the First World War and analyzes the impact of the war on the empire’s civilian population. He is currently working on a monograph about the post-war years in the Ottoman Empire. He is the co-editor the Ottoman Empire/Middle East section of 1914-1918-online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War.
Chris Gratien is Assistant Professor of History at University of Virginia, where he teaches classes on global environmental history and the Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region of the former Ottoman Empire from the 1850s until the 1950s.
Susanna Ferguson completed her Ph.D. in 2019 at Columbia University. Her work focuses on the conceptual and social history of education, gender, and democracy in Egypt and Lebanon. In 2019-2020, she will be a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area studies.


Episode No. 429
Release Date: 3 October 2019
Recording Location: Cihangir, Istanbul
Music: Keler Tsoler (Komtias) by Perspectives Ensemble; Sara Afonso - The Asylum; Bogos Kirecciyan - Canak Kale
Audio editing by Chris Gratien
Bibliography courtesy of Yiğit Akın


1914-1918-online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War

Dannies, Kate. “Breadwinner Soldiers: Gender, Welfare, and Sovereignty in the Ottoman First World War.” Ph.D Dissertation, Georgetown University, 2019.

Dölek-Sever, Deniz. Istanbul's Great War: Public Order, Crime and Punishment in The Ottoman Capital (1914-1918). Istanbul: Libra, 2018.

Fahrentold, Stacy. Between the Ottomans and the Entente: The First World War in the Syrian and Lebanese Diaspora. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

Gözel Durmaz, Oya. A City Transformed: Great War, Deportation and Socio-Economic Change in Kayseri (1915-1920). Istanbul: Libra, 2018.

Gratien, Chris. “The Sick Mandate of Europe: Local and Global Humanitarianism in French Cilicia, 1918–1922,” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association 3, no. 1 (2016): 165-190.

Hock, Stefan. “To Bring About a “Moral of Renewal”: The Deportation of Sex Workers in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 28, no. 3 (2019): 457-482.

Kayalı, Hasan. “The Ottoman Experience of World War I: Historiographical Problems and Trends,” The Journal of Modern History 89, no. 4 (2017): 875-907.

Kutluata, Zeynep. “Ottoman Women and the State during World War I.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Sabancı University, 2014.

Maksudyan, Nazan. Ottoman Children and Youth during World War I. New York: Syracuse University Press, 2019.

Metinsoy, Elif Mahir. Ottoman Women during World War I: Everyday Experiences, Politics, and Conflict. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Oğuz, Çiğdem. “The Struggle Within: ‘Moral Crisis’ on the Ottoman Homefront during the First World War.” Ph.D Dissertation, Leiden University and Boğaziçi University, 2018.

Pitts, Graham Auman. “Fallow Fields: Famine and the Making of Modern Lebanon.” Ph.D. Dissertation, Georgetown University, 2016.

Şimşek, Veysel. “‘Backstabbing Arabs’ and ‘Shirking Kurds’: History, Nationalism, and Turkish Memory of World War I.” In The Great War: From Memory to History, eds. Jonathan Vance et al. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2015: 99–126ç

Tamari, Salim. The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017.

Tanielian, Melanie. The Charity of War: Famine, Humanitarian Aid., and World War I in the Middle East. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2018.


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