(University of California, Davis)
Wednesday, 1st February 2012
Baki Tezcan is one of the leading historians of the Ottoman Empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in its supposed long period of decline. His The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World (Cambridge University Press, 2010) shows how seismic changes in the political, economic, military, and social spheres created a 'Second Empire', in which proto-democratization led to the transformation of the patrimonial, medieval, dynastic institution into a fledgling limited monarchy.
One reviewer has called it a rough draft of what a Whig interpretation of the Middle Eastern past would look like. In his Queen Mary talk, Tezcan will discuss whether the Middle East could make use of some whiggish historiography, given the troubled trajectory of its encounter with the West in the modern period.