The Catastrophic Success of the Armenian Tanzimat

Episode 527
| How did the Ottomans secure widespread buy-in for modernization projects across the empire's many geographies and communities? This episode explores that question through the experiences of Armenians in the Ottoman East. Our guest, Richard Antaramian, shares some of his research, which argues that Ottoman shared governance worked through networks of power that linked center to periphery and sustained relationships among notables of different confessions, classes, and locations. The Ottoman tax-farming system of the 18th century forged ties among central authorities, provincial notables, and Armenian financiers. As the Ottoman government embarked upon the modernizing reform projects of the late 1700s and 1800s, those forms of shared governence frayed. In the Ottoman East, the Armenian Patriarchate's attempts to enact new notions of reform saw major successes, with the establishment limited representative governance, a constitution, and new educational institutions. Yet, those successes came at the cost of weakening the ties between provincial Armenians and important power brokers like provincial notables and Kurdish tribal leaders. Ultimately, the Armenian Patriarchate's successes at reform translated into trouble for its newly-isolated flock in the empire's eastern borderlands.


Click for RSS Feed

How did the Ottomans secure widespread buy-in for modernization projects across the empire's many geographies and communities? This episode explores that question through the experiences of Armenians in the Ottoman East. Our guest, Richard Antaramian, shares some of his research, which argues that Ottoman shared governance worked through networks of power that linked center to periphery and sustained relationships among notables of different confessions, classes, and locations. The Ottoman tax-farming system of the 18th century forged ties among central authorities, provincial notables, and Armenian financiers. As the Ottoman government embarked upon the modernizing reform projects of the late 1700s and 1800s, those forms of shared governence frayed. In the Ottoman East, the Armenian Patriarchate's attempts to enact new notions of reform saw major successes, with the establishment limited representative governance, a constitution, and new educational institutions. Yet, those successes came at the cost of weakening the ties between provincial Armenians and important power brokers like provincial notables and Kurdish tribal leaders. Ultimately, the Armenian Patriarchate's successes at reform translated into trouble for its newly-isolated flock in the empire's eastern borderlands.

Stream via SoundCloud 



Contributor Bios

Richard Antaramian is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Southern California. His research interests include, among others, the history of non-Muslims in the Ottoman Empire.
Matthew Ghazarian is a Manoogian Research Fellow in the Center for Armenian Studies and the Department of History at the University of Michigan. His research examines the intersection of social, economic, and environmental history in the late Ottoman Empire.

Credits


Episode No. 527
Release Date: 4 May 2022
Sound production by Matthew Ghazarian
"Um Pepino" by Blue Dot Sessions
Images and bibliography courtesy of Richard Antaramian


Further Listening
Vahé Tachjian 204
10/21/15
Reconstructing Ottoman Armenian Life
Lerna Ekmekçioğlu 256
8/7/16
Secular Dhimmis of the Republic
Chris Gratien 523
3/11/22
An Environmental History of the Late Ottoman Frontier
Aylin de Tapia 339
12/3/17
The Tanzimat in Ottoman Cappadocia
Cengiz Kırlı 215
12/5/15
The Ottoman Tanzimat in Practice
Nadir Özbek 224
2/10/16
Osmanlı'da Vergi Siyaseti (1839-1908)

Images


A copy of the Ottoman Armenian National Constitution promulgated in 1863, published by the Patriarchate in Armenian and Armeno-Turkish
A copy of the Ottoman Armenian National Constitution promulgated in 1863, published by the Patriarchate in Armenian and Armeno-Turkish

An engraving of Mkrditch Khrimian from an 1881 issue of the Armenian monthly Փարոս Հայաստանի [Paros Hayastani], 1881, vol 1.
An engraving of Mkrditch Khrimian from an 1881 issue of the Armenian monthly Փարոս Հայաստանի[Paros Hayastani], 1881, vol 1.


Select Bibliography


Butrus Abu Manneh, Studies on Islam and the Ottoman Empire (1826-1876) (Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2011) 

Sabri Ateş, The Ottoman-Iranian Borderlands: Making a Boundary (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Yann Bouyrat, Devoir d’intervenir. L’intervention humanitaire de la France au Liban, 1860 (Paris: Vend miaire, 2013)

Karen Barkey, Empire of Difference: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Hagop Barsoumian, “The Armenian Amira Class of Istanbul.” Phd Diss., Columbia University (1980)

Stephan Astourian, “Testing World-System Theory, Cilicia (1830s-1890s): Armenian-Turkish Polarization and the ideology of Modern Ottoman Historiography.” PhD Diss, UCLA (1996)

Hasan Çolak and Elif Bayraktar-Tellan, The Orthodox Church as an Ottoman Institution: A Study of Early Modern Patriarchal Berats (Istanbul: The Isis Press, 2019)

Dzovinar Derderian, “Nation-Making and the Language of Colonization: Voices from Van in Armenian Print Media and Handwritten Petitions.” PhD Diss, University of Michigan (2019)

---, "Mapping the Fatherland: Artzvi Vaspurakan's Reforms Through the Memory of ht epast," Houshamadyan, October 16, 2014

Hampartsum Eramean, Hushardzan Van-Vaspurakani (Agheksandria: Tpagrutiun Aram Gasapean, 1929)

Molly Greene, The Edinburgh History of the Greeks, 1453 to 1768: The Ottoman Empire (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015)

Onnik Jamgocyan, Les Banquiers des Sultans: Juifs, Grecs, Français, Arméniens (Paris: Les Editions du Bosphore, 2013)

Ussama Makdisi, Age of Coexistence: The Ecumenical Frame and the Making of the Modern Arab World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019)

--—, The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth Century Ottoman Lebanon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000)

Bruce Masters, Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World: The Roots of Sectarianism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001)

Tom Papademetriou, Render Unto the Sultan: Power, Authority, and the Greek Orthodox Church in the Early Ottoman Centuries (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015)

Christine Philliou, Biography of an Empire: Governing Ottomans in the Age of Revolution (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011)

Ali Yaycıoğlu. Partners of the Empire: The Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016).

Comments


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.