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War and Displacement in the Ottoman Empire, 1890s-1923

Donnerstag, 25. Oktober 2018 bis Freitag, 26. Oktober 2018
Dienstag, 31. Oktober 2017

The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne not only epitomizes the formal peace settlement between Turkey and the Entente, but also the actual disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and thus the transition from empire into diverse nation-states.

The Ottoman demise was, however, a complex and sometimes contingency process, in which both states and non-state actors (local armed groups, transnational advocacy networks, refugees) played a fundamental and, not less importantly, intermingled role. Throughout its long existence, the history of the Ottoman Empire has also been, like in Europe, a history of war and mobility, where armed conflict and displacement have gone hand in hand. While in the early modern period military victories enabled the territorial expansion and inner consolidation of the Ottoman Empire, the 19th and 20th century saw decisive military defeats and domestic turmoil leading to decline and dissolution always setting hundreds of thousands, sometimes even millions of people in motion. People were fleeing and were steadily "on the move" both within the Ottoman Empire and beyond its borders as well as during the hostilities, before and after their cessation.

A century after the armistice that put an end to WWI, the International workshop "War and displacement in the Ottoman Empire, 1890s-1923" aims at reconsidering these movements adopting a double methodological caution: on the one hand, avoiding a teleological approach to the study of the Ottoman defeat, and on the other, connecting the late Ottoman history to wider dynamics; namely the collapse of its European counterparts, Russia and Austria-Hungary but also to other migration processes such as the movements induced by the "Greek Revolution". It will thus focus on the population movements induced by the conflicts of the "Eastern Question" in the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Caucasus in the late nineteenth century and on those prompted by the Young Turk Revolution, the Great War and the renegotiation of Turkey's borders as reflected in the Treaty of Lausanne in a larger context.

The Ottoman Empire and the wars it was involved in should be understood as widely as possible in space and time. Hence the organisers do not only welcome contributions about North Africa, the Middle East, Asia Minor and the Caucasus, but are also interested in comparative studies. Contributions may focus on the following questions but are not limited to them:

1)   What kind of (forced) migrations can be identified within the course of the military conflicts including their preliminary developments as well as their aftermaths?

2)   What factors (war, ideology, territorial sovereignty, economy) triggered these forced population movements?

3)   What forms of migration existed along with those due to war? How did they interact with forced migrations?

4)   How did (forced)migrations evolve over the period under scrutiny? Did they change and which parameters were decisive for this change?

5)   Can migrations be considered as a way of simply evading a situation of conflict with the intention of return or aiming at permanent settlement?

6)   In which cases did migration policies turn into an extermination one? Why others did not? In which ways were dynamics of violence related to dynamics of (forced) migration?

Proposal submissions including a short abstract (ca. 400 words) and a brief CV should be emailed to waranddisplacement[at]gmx[dot]de

Conference languages are English and French.

Conference Venue:  TBA (Université de Lausanne)



Bettina Severin-Barboutie

Historisches Institut

Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

0641 99 28 177



Marc Hansen



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