Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity

A History

Carter Vaughn Findley

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A comprehensive panorama of the religious and secular forces that shaped Ottoman and Turkish history over two centuries

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.

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.

"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

“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

"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

"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."—Publishers Weekly Online

“…a monumental work.”—Michael Wheeler, Church Times

“A couple of centuries covered, and a couple of decades in the making: the Humanities distinguished Professor of History at Ohio State University has produced a monumental work. Several of the photographs reproduced were taken by Carter Vaughn Findley himself, whose energy and commitment are infectious, encouraging the reader to reflect on one of the most complex stories in modern history.”—Michael Wheeler, Church Times

"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

"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

“…This is an absolutely splendid piece of historiography.”—Murad Wilfried Hofmann, The Muslim World Book Review 32:3

“This book is a tremendous resource for students since it chronicles change in many spheres of Turkish life….the book is original and highly stimulating.”—Review of Politics

Winner of the 2010 Ohio Academy of History Publications Award sponsored by the Ohio Academy of History

Winner of the 2010 Joseph Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies, given by the Association for the Study of Nationalities 

Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Middle East and North Africa category.

ISBN: 9780300152616
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
544 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
40 b/w + 16 color illus.