Famine and Sectarianism in Ottoman Anatolia, 1839-1894


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies


What conditions harden communal boundaries and provoke violence across them? This project addresses these questions in the Ottoman Empire in the period between 1839 and 1894: 1839 brought a radical declaration of religious equality, but 1894 brought years of sectarian violence. Other studies focus on Ottoman state, European colonial, and Protestant missionary activities, but this dissertation argues that new ideas and practices of religious difference arose from local material and ecological conditions. This project examines the effects of famine and responses to it, showing how extreme material conditions upended the social ecology of Ottoman Anatolia, distributing collective trauma along communal lines, crystallizing boundaries between religious communities, and planting the seeds for later sectarian violence.