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Islam and the age of Ottoman reform

Anscombe, Frederick (2010) Islam and the age of Ottoman reform. Past & Present 208 (1), pp. 159-189. ISSN 0031-2746.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pastj/gtq007

Abstract

Although Ottoman rule was avowedly Islamic in ideology from its very inception, historians have tended to discount the importance of the religion for both state and population during the nineteenth century. Historical accounts of the era dwell upon plans to modernize the empire, which are often equated with an aspiration to westernize, and thus to secularize. Such narratives treat matters of faith that contradict the secularization theme as tainted subjects unworthy of serious study.1 Ottoman invocations of religion are frequently dismissed as ‘reactionary’ and ‘conservative’ (and therefore petty-minded), or as socially acceptable formulae that disguised other interests. Yet assumptions that Islam denoted ignorance or was little more than a tool for political posturing obscure the nature of reform by misconstruing the conflicting pressures driving change. From top to bottom of Muslim society, religion was not only a matter of belief but also vital to personal identity and sense of social order, and Muslims acted when they perceived threats to Islam’s well-being.

Item Type: Article
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2010 15:55
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2013 11:04
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/2763

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