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Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity: A History, 1789-2007

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Overview

Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity reveals the historical dynamics propelling two centuries of Ottoman and Turkish history. As mounting threats to imperial survival necessitated dynamic responses, ethnolinguistic and religious identities inspired alternative strategies for engaging with modernity. A radical, secularizing current of change competed with a conservative, Islamically committed current. Crises sharpened the differentiation of the two currents, forcing choices between them.

The radical current began with the formation of reformist governmental elites and expanded with the advent of “print capitalism,” symbolized by the privately owned, Ottoman-language newspapers. The radicals engineered the 1908 Young Turk revolution, ruled empire and republic until 1950, made secularism a lasting “belief system,” and still retain powerful positions.

The conservative current gained impetus from three history-making Islamic renewal movements, those of Mevlana Halid, Said Nursi, and Fethullah Gülen. Powerful under the empire, Islamic conservatives did not regain control of government until the 1980s. By then they, too, had their own influential media.

Findley's reassessment of political, economic, social, and cultural history reveals the dialectical interaction between radical and conservative currents of change, which alternately clashed and converged to shape late Ottoman and republican Turkish history.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From a minor piece of the expansive Ottoman Empire to its current state as a fully functioning republic, Turkey's history from 1789 to modern day is one of unwavering progression towards modernism, fueled by the perseverance of its people and marked by admirable firsts, including a written constitution and women's rights. Findley uniquely recounts the past of this diverse country through the synthesizing and splitting of beliefs, ideas, and aspirations, while correcting misinterpretations of former historical texts on Turkey and acknowledging the shortcomings of his own. Even when remaining immersed in the past, references are made to the current conditions in Turkey and the world at large. Sections of each chapter focus on politics, the military, economics, and societal factors like education, religion, and culture, but the most revealing sections delve into the literary, poetic, and ideological movements of each era. Findley's examination of four compelling topics results in a remarkable story of a nation finding its identity-both as a place on the map and in the minds of people the world over.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
American Historical Review

"Carter Vaugh Findley''s comprehensive splendid new book promises to be the main interpretive study of the last centuries of the Ottoman Empire and of Turkey until the first decade of the twenty-first centruy. . . . Findley''s book is packed with many valuable and insightful discussions, not to mention abundant up-to-date statistics. It is written in clear prose energized by the author''s enthusiasm, originality, conviction, and revisionism. It is a splendid addition to extant historiography making it the essential study and text of the period and will probably remain so for the coming decades."—Robert Olson, American Historical Review

— Robert Olson

Choice

"This new classic for students of Turkish studies greatly raises the standard. . . . [Findley''s] handling of the delicate political atmosphere of the Republican period is very evenhanded, an extremely rare quality in books covering modern Turkey. . . . Provides much-needed information on the complexities of Turkish religious identity. Essential."—R. W. Zens, Choice

— R. W. Zens

Sabri Sayari
“The author has managed to cover more than 200 years of Turkey's history in considerable detail. This is indeed a significant work and makes an important contribution to the existing literature on the subject.”—Sabri Sayari, Sabanci University, Istanbul
Kemal H. Karpat
"This is a most welcome, lucid, erudite and up-to-date original book which challenges successfully the old stereotyped accounts of the two century old Ottoman and Turkish endeavors at modernization and presents a true picture of Islam and nationalism in this process of transformation. It should become at once an indispensable reading for everybody eager to understand the unknown dimensions of Turkish modernist saga."—Kemal H. Karpat, University of Wisconsin-Madison
American Historical Review - Robert Olson
"Carter Vaughn Findley's comprehensive splendid new book promises to be the main interpretive study of the last centuries of the Ottoman Empire and of Turkey until the first decade of the twenty-first centruy. . . . Findley's book is packed with many valuable and insightful discussions, not to mention abundant up-to-date statistics. It is written in clear prose energized by the author's enthusiasm, originality, conviction, and revisionism. It is a splendid addition to extant historiography making it the essential study and text of the period and will probably remain so for the coming decades."—Robert Olson, American Historical Review
Choice - R. W. Zens
"This new classic for students of Turkish studies greatly raises the standard. . . . [Findley's] handling of the delicate political atmosphere of the Republican period is very evenhanded, an extremely rare quality in books covering modern Turkey. . . . Provides much-needed information on the complexities of Turkish religious identity. Essential."—R. W. Zens, Choice
Choice - Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Middle East and North Africa category.
Virginia Aksan
"This work is original and convincing in its erudition and is very well and generously documented. The writing is lively, the style accessible.”—Virginia Aksan, author of Ottoman Wars, 1700–1870: An Empire Besieged
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300152609
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/21/2010
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Carter Vaughn Findley is a Humanities Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University and an honorary member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences. His book The Turks in World History won the 2006 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize for Middle Eastern Studies.

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