An International and Collaborative Research Programme

Seminar Session: February 27, 2023: Çanay Șahin

“Decision-Making Processes in Samsun and Trabzon: Land Dispute and Claiming Justice (1847-1857)”

February 27, 2023. 16h00-18h00 (Berlin Time). Registration:

This presentation will look at the local government and justice mechanisms as seen through the case of land dispute in the mid-19th century Samsun. Although it concentrates on a specific historical moment of the inclusion of Trabzon province into Tanzimat (Reordering and centralization policies), it will discuss the articulation of old and new forms of government and justice. The ownership dispute over the land reveals not only the agency wide range of actors such as notables, peasants, local judges and müftis but also several institutions and practices such as petitions, district and regional councils, supreme council of judicial ordinances, centrally appointed inspectors, foreign consuls, and the representatives of Greek Patriarchate. By following the steps for the conflict resolution, this presentation will address the alliances of local and central powerholders, the shortcomings of the domination of old notables in newly established provincial councils and corruption due to the abuse and lack of local information.

Çanay Șahin is a research fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin. She helds a Ph.D. in History, (“The Rise and Fall of an Ayan Family in Eighteenth Century Anatolia: The Caniklizades (1737-1808)” from Bilkent University, Ankara (2004) and was from 2005 to 2017 Assistant Professor at Yıldız Technical University (Department of Economics, Economic History) in Istanbul. Among her publications: “The Economic Power of Anatolian Ayans of the Late Eighteenth Century: The Case of the Caniklizades”, International Journal of Turkish Studies, 11/1-2, 2005, 29-49.

Next Session:

March 6, 2023: Gabriel Doyle, “Collective Decision-Making and Foreign Interference in the Latin Community of Ottoman Istanbul

An International and Collaborative Research Programme

Seminar Session: February 20, 2023: Cilja Harders

“The politics of the poor in Egypt – analytical reflections and empirical findings”

February 20, 2023. 16h00-18h00 (Berlin Time). Registration:

In my talk, I present findings and observations grounded in almost 20 years of qualitative research engagement in Egypt and with marginalized communities in Cairo. I sketch the diverse „politics of the poor“ in the framework of authoritarian social contracts, looking into formal and informal ways of participation. I will speak about the role of the urban poor in the uprisings of 2011 building on S. Ismail and my own work. I argue that poor people use manifold ways of engaging the state and its institutions, carving out new spaces between resistance and accommodation.

Cilja Harders is Professor at Freie Universität Berlin, where she heads the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics. Among her publications: “The Politics of the Poor in the Middle East and North Africa. Between Contestation and Accommodation” (in Roel Meijer, Zahra Babar, James Sater (ed.) 2020: Routledge Handbook on Citizenship in the Middle East and North Africa, Routledge, 2020); Staatsanalyse von unten: urbane Armut und politische Partizipation in Ägypten, Hamburg, 2002.

Next session: February 27, 2023: Çanay Șahin, “Decision-Making Processes in Samsun and Trabzon: Land Dispute and Claiming Justice (1847-1857)

An International and Collaborative Research Programme

2023.02.13: Doctoral Seminar

This seminar gathered online all the doctoral students of the HISDEMAB research programme. Presentations by PhD students (40mn + 20mn discussion) were dedicated to an overview of their advancement in the dissertation writing process. The discussion was conducted by Nora Lafi, in the presence of the supervisors of each doctoral work.

10.00-11.00                Elisabeth Kimmerle

11.00-12.00                Robin Schmahl

12.00-13.00                Marianne Dhenin

13.00-14.00                Lunch break

14.00-15.00                Abdelqader Amer

15.00-16.00                Ahlem Hajaji

Presentation guidelines:

  • Debriefing of the archival field research: what was found (and not), how it corresponds to the expectations, how it relates to the general questionings of the dissertation (5mn)
  • Debriefing of how each PhD student situates him/herself with respect to the bibliographical state of the art. How the work is inspired by existing methods, how it relates to contemporary questionings, what the work will bring to academic debates in the field (10mn)
  • Justification and explanation of the logic of the table of contents with regard to the problematization (5mn)
  • Presentation of how single chapters tackle the mains questionings of the thesis (10mn)
  • Reflection on the writing process and on the formal construction of the thesis as an object (narrative style, general tone, graphical dimension…). Precise presentation of what is already written and time-table of what remains to be written (5mn)
  • Main points of the contribution of each doctoral thesis to the HISDEMAB research project (5mn)
An International and Collaborative Research Programme

Seminar Session: February 6, 2023: Malte Fuhrmann

“From Empire to Dromocracy. Building the Infrastructure State in Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire, 1839-1908”

February 06, 2023. 16h00-18h00 (Berlin Time). Registration:

“Infrastructures are critical locations through which sociality, governance and politics, accumulation and dispossession and institutions and aspirations are formed, reformed, and performed” (Appel, Anand, and Gupta, 2018, 3). In particular, roads have developed such a strong influence on society that Dimitri Dalakoglou speaks of “dromocratic society” (society ruled by roads). However, as especially Jo Guldi has shown, the transformative power of infrastructure is not only a product of our times, but has changed politics since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the case of the Ottoman Empire and its breakaway provinces that after 1878 became Bulgaria, the new role of the state as provider of infrastructure was initially planned as a participatory process. However, due to the systematic failure of the Tanzimat state, its administrators either sought to fulfill their infrastructural promise to the subjects by means of multinational capitalism (Âali P.) or statist, but dictatorial means (Midhat P.). After 1878, Midhat’s statist developmental policy was adapted and perfected (Halil Rifat P.), but to serve the Hamidian system and its mistrust of the subject. While the Bulgarian state initially continued Midhat’s infrastructural policy, Bulgarian society managed to more strongly intervene in decision-making concerning road and railroad policy. The process however led to a harsh rivalry between the regions for connectivity and finally hindered the creation of a coherent rail network. The presentation will revisit key moments of road and railroad development policy in both countries to understand the impact of infrastructure on political culture from the reform era to the age of nation states.

Malte Fuhrmann is a historian of the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Europe, and Turkey in the modern era. He is the author of Port Cities of the Eastern Mediterranean. Urban Culture in the Late Ottoman EmpireCambridge: University Press, 2020, and Konstantinopel – Istanbul. Stadt der Sultane und Rebellen, Frankfurt/M.: Fischer 2019.

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