Bilkent University’s CCI Program is hosting an academic talk via ZOOM by:
Speaker: Henry Clements, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, Yale University
“The Problem of History in an Age of Reform: Secularism, Civilization, and the Syriac Christians of the Late Ottoman Empire”
The administrative reforms of the late Ottoman Empire presented the Syriac Christians and other religious communities in Ottoman domains with certain opportunities as well as hazards. Overturning centuries of institutionalized Islamic supremacy and formalizing the secular ideals of religious equality and political representation, the Ottoman state’s modernizing reforms afforded the Syriac Christians the possibility of independent recognition as a religious community that was equal to and distinct from others. Yet the recognition of the Syriac Christians’ distinctiveness was predicated upon their minoritization within Ottoman governance on the one hand, and their classification within an Orientalizing scheme of “civilizational” development on the other. In this talk, I specify the role of modern historical thought in facilitating these processes, considering the promise and perils of history for the Syriac Christians in secular modernity. I illustrate how the Syriac Christians came to conceive of themselves—and to be interpellated by others—as historical, arguing that this new historical consciousness contained within it a tension between identity and difference, universality and particularity, and judgment and equality, which registered the central challenge of historicism for modern subjects more broadly.
Topic: CCI Meeting’s Zoom Meeting
Time: March 15, 2022 07:00 PM Istanbul
***This is an online event. To obtain Zoom link and password, please contact to the department.