2023/ 2024

Toygun Altıntaş

Integration and Minoritization: Governing Hierarchies in the Late Ottoman Empire

Previous Fellowships: 2022/ 2023, 2021/ 2022, 2020/ 2021

Toygun Altıntaş works on the social and political history of minoritization, supremacism and inequality in the late Ottoman Empire. He received his MA (2010) in Middle Eastern Studies and PhD (2018) in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. Entitled “Crisis and (Dis)Order: Armenian Revolutionaries and the Hamidian Regime in the Ottoman Empire (1887-1896),” his dissertation explores the spread of Armenian revolutionary committees and the contemporaneous minoritization of Armenians by the Ottoman state. It also investigates the processes by which boundaries of subjecthood and nationality for Armenians were constructed and constricted during the reign of sultan Abdülhamid II (r. 1876-1909). Altıntaş worked as an MA Preceptor at the University of Chicago (2017-2018). He taught courses on Middle Eastern history and Ottoman language and paleography at Bilgi and Boğaziçi Universities (2018-2020). He was a EUME Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation between 2020 and 2023, affiliated with the Center for Global History at Freie Universität Berlin. In the academic year 2023/24, Toygun remains an affiliated EUME Fellow. 

Integration and Minoritization: Governing Hierarchies in the Late Ottoman Empire

The project examines the making of ethno-confessional hierarchies in late Ottoman state and society with a particular focus on Armenians in the empire. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire extended equality before the law to its non-Muslim subjects under a new imperial and international regime. The last quarter of the nineteenth century marked important changes in Ottoman policymaking. Sultan Abdülhamid introduced a set of new policies in order to assert the primacy of his Sunni Muslim subjects and to curb Armenian efforts towards self-governance and administrative integration. The project focuses on this period (1856-1908) in order to trace the shifts and contradictions in the Ottoman regime of ethnicity. The reformation and abolition of ethnic, confessional and racial hierarchies were at the center of imperial and international politics during this period. The global connections in the Ottoman case are doubly important, because Ottoman modernization was intrinsically tied with international diplomacy from the middle of the nineteenth century. Therefore, it also seeks to situate the Ottoman example within a global context with attention to the contemporaneous expansions and contractions of citizenship and subjecthood in the Russian Empire and the United States.