Turkey: A Past Against History (Paperback)

Turkey: A Past Against History By Christine M. Philliou Cover Image

Turkey: A Past Against History (Paperback)


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From its earliest days, the dominant history of the Turkish Republic has been one of national self-determination and secular democratic modernization. The story insisted on total rupture between the Ottoman Empire and the modern Turkish state and on the absolute unity of the Turkish nation. In recent years, this hermetic division has begun to erode, but as the old consensus collapses, new histories and accounts of political authority have been slow to take its place.

In this richly detailed alternative history, Christine M. Philliou focuses on the notion of political opposition and dissent—muhalefet—to connect the Ottoman and Turkish periods. Taking the perennial dissident Refik Halid Karay as a subject, guide, and interlocutor, she traces the fissures within the Ottoman and the modern Turkish elite that bridged the transition. Exploring Karay’s political and literary writings across four regimes and two stints in exile, Philliou upends the official history of Turkey and offers new dimensions to our understanding of its political authority and culture.
Christine M. Philliou is Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of California, Berkeley and author of Biography of an Empire: Governing Ottomans in an Age of Revolution
Product Details ISBN: 9780520276390
ISBN-10: 0520276396
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: March 16th, 2021
Pages: 294
Language: English
"In this biography, Philliou offers a subtle and revealing history of the meaning of opposition."
— Foreign Affairs

"Through her graceful prose, Philliou provides an insight into Karay’s humanity. . . . We should be grateful to Christine Phillou for allowing us to engage with the ideas of one of the most interesting personalities of Ottoman/Turkish letters."
— Turkish Studies

“[Philliou’s] work successfully brings to life one of the most colorful muhalifler and shows his evolution from a broader perspective.”

— Middle East Journal

"Past against History will be a much needed addition to all syllabi on Turkish and Middle Eastern studies, as well as on courses on nationalism and democracy in a global context. It should be an essential reading especially for graduate level classes because Philliou's masterful account encapsulates the best example of microhistory that can help the readers to rethink about all the major scholarly themes and topics in the historiography on Ottoman and Turkish studies."
— Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association

"Historiographically challenging and imaginative…a welcome addition to the field of late Ottoman and early Turkish Republican history."
— New Perspectives on Turkey

"As a careful observer of modern Turkish history and domestic politics, Christine Philliou skillfully addresses the emergence and transformation of the muhalefet concept in the late Ottoman and early republican decades. Enriched with Refik Halid Karay’s relevant writings, Phillou’s research takes readers on a well-designed journey from the 1880s to the 1960s through an objective, socio-cultural prism. A Past Against History is recommended for readers and researchers on late Ottoman and early republican era politics and cultural studies."
— Insight Turkey