Turks Across Empires: Marketing Muslim Identity in the Russian-Ottoman Borderlands, 1856-1914

ISBN : 9780198725145

James H. Meyer
224 Pages
163 x 241 mm
Pub date
Nov 2014
Oxford Studies in Modern European History
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Turks Across Empires tells the story of the pan-Turkists, Muslim activists from Russia who gained international notoriety during the Young Turk era of Ottoman history. Yusuf Akcura, Ismail Gasprinskii and Ahmet Agaoglu are today remembered as the forefathers of Turkish nationalism, but in the decade preceding the First World War they were known among bureaucrats, journalists and government officials in Russia and Europe as dangerous Muslim radicals. This volume traces the lives and undertakings of the pan-Turkists in the Russian and Ottoman empires, examining the ways in which these individuals formed a part of some of the most important developments to take place in the late imperial era. James H. Meyer draws upon a vast array of sources, including personal letters, Russian and Ottoman state archival documents, and published materials to recapture the trans-imperial worlds of the pan-Turkists. Through his exploration of the lives of Akcura, Gasprinskii and Agaoglu, Meyer analyzes the bigger changes taking place in the imperial capitals of Istanbul and St. Petersburg, as well as on the ground in central Russia, Crimea and the Caucasus. Turks Across Empires focuses especially upon three developments occurring in the final decades of empire: an explosion in human mobility across borders, the outbreak of a wave of revolutions in Russia and the Middle East, and the emergence of deeply politicized forms of religious and national identity. As these are also important characteristics of the post-Cold War era, argues Meyer, the events surrounding the pan-Turkists provide valuable lessons regarding the nature of present-day international and cross-cultural geopolitics.


Introduction: Identity Freelancers
1. Trans-Imperial People
2. Insider Muslims
3. Activists and the Ulema after 1905
4. The Great Muslim Teacher Wars
5. The Politics of Naming
6. Istanbul and the Pan-Turkic Scene
Conclusions: Turkic Worlds

About the author: 

James Meyer is an historian of the Turkic World, working especially on the Middle East and Russia. Employing sources written in Turkish, Russian, Ottoman Turkish, and the Arabic-script versions of Turkic languages spoken in Russia and the former USSR, he addresses issues such as human mobility, communications, and cross-cultural interactions in late imperial Russia, the Ottoman Empire, and Turkey.

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