A Radical Rethinking of Empire: Ottoman State and Society during the Greek War of Independence 1821–1826

Thesis Type:

PhD dissertation


This dissertation investigates the Greek War of Independence as an Ottoman experience, exploring in particular how Sultan Mahmūd II (1808-1839) and the central state elite tried to make sense of and reacted to the rapidly changing world around them. It explores how the perceptions, actions and reactions of the Ottoman state to the Greek insurgency had a deep and long-lasting impact on both Ottoman state and society, and how it necessitated a radical rethinking of the empire. Specifically, it looks into the war's ensuing need to create a self-mobilizing proto-citizen, a project that was articulated by the Ottoman state as a response to the threat posed by the Greek insurgents. This study thus suggests that nineteenth century Ottoman history, especially the history of Tanzimat, cannot be properly understood without connecting it to the Greek War of Independence —something that has been sorely lacking in most “classical” histories of the Tanzimat period.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 04/21/2020