Turkish Reference Works for Ottoman History

Reference works are crucial in terms of the establishment of a research area as an academic discipline. They also reveal the current academic research level. Speaking about social sciences, this genre in addition tells us about the prevalent ideological climate in a given place and time. Until recently, Turkish reference works for Ottoman history have been shaped academically to an important extent by the Rankean tradition of state-centrism and by studies on Central Asian history. On the other hand, the trauma of imperial disintegration as well as humiliation by European powers led to a factually and ideologically imbalanced view of the Ottoman past. This situation was even more reinforced by internal political cleavages, which stemmed from the radical Kemalist reforms. As a consequence, a clear distinction emerged between reference works of conservative nationalist, leftist, and Islamist tendencies. It was only after 1980 that a gradual thematic settlement and an increasing academic consensus could be observed among recent Turkish reference works for Ottoman history. Though there are still political tendencies among individual works, ideological cleavages similar to the past do not exist anymore. This situation is to be explained both by internal political factors and by global developments


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