Refugees and Empires: North Caucasus Muslims between the Ottoman and Russian Worlds, 1864-1914


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




In the late nineteenth century, over a million Muslim refugees from the Russian Empire’s North Caucasus region arrived and settled in Ottoman domains. This dissertation, based on archival research in seven countries, shifts the discussion of immigration from the state and its top-down resettlement program to immigrants and their responses to Ottoman policies. Using documents written by refugees themselves, such as petitions and private letters in Arabic and Ottoman Turkish, the project investigates networks that refugees fostered throughout the empire and between the Ottoman and Russian worlds. By focusing on the political economy of refugee resettlement, it posits that refugees’ abilities to tap into local economies, aided by state support, was crucial to regional stability. This study contributes to an understanding of immigrant integration and intercommunal conflict, both processes integral to the collapse of the Ottoman empire and the making of the modern Balkans, Turkey, and the Levant.