April 21, 2016, 5:30pm
Emerald Pins and Sovereign Power: Republican Uses for Imperial Property
Presenter: Ceyda Karamursel
Location: Fisher - Bennett Hall Room 244, 3340 Walnut Street

The constitutional revolution of 1908 and the subsequent deposal of Sultan Abdulhamid II marked, among other things, the beginning of the expropriation of imperial property in the Ottoman Empire. The emergent notion of imperial buildings and "things" belonging to "the people" became sharper in the following decades and culminated in 1922 when the nascent Republican government confiscated imperial property in its entirety. Some of the buildings gradually turned into museum spectacles following the foundation of Turkish Republic in 1923. Others were converted into schools, orphanages or hospitals, as their contents continued to flow to decorate the newly established ministries. Using memoirs, newspapers and archival sources both in Ottoman and Republican archives, this presentation traces how “the people” negotiated its own limits, as the Ottoman Empire moved from one mode of sovereignty to another.

Ceyda Karamursel recently completed her Ph.D. in History at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Middle East Center. Her research focuses on the practice of slavery in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic in the second half of the nineteenth and early decades of the twentieth centuries and has been supported by the Social Science Research Council and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, among others. She is currently working on her book manuscript, which explores the Ottoman slaves’ and slaveholders’ claims to freedom, justice, equality and property with the aim of understanding the ways in which slavery shaped what citizenship came to mean in the Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic. In addition to her book manuscript, Ceyda works on two smaller projects, first of which looks at the Turkish Republic's uses of the expropriated imperial "things." The second one, which also launches her second book project on how Ottoman concepts of slavery circulated in the global nineteenth century, traces the news of an American opera singer murdered in the imperial harem in Istanbul.