Imperialism, Racism, and Development Theories : The Construction of a Dominant Paradigm on Ottoman Armenians

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9781884630026: Imperialism, Racism, and Development Theories : The Construction of a Dominant Paradigm on Ottoman Armenians
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In this slim volume, historian Hilmar Kaiser traces the sources of stereotypical portrayals of Armenians in various schools of Ottoman history-writing. He finds that assertedly progressive scholars, in their treatment of Armenians in the late Ottoman Empire, pander to the interests of the Turkish state.

Kaiser examines the work of Charles Issawi, a prominent representative of modernization theory; Dogu Ergil, Stephen Ted Rosenthal, and Feroz Ahmad, who represent dependency theory; and Resat Kasaba and aglar Keyder, followers of Immanuel Wallerstein's world-system theory.

Kaiser shows that for their portrayal of the role of Armenians in Ottoman trade, these authors have uncritically accepted and relied on early-twentieth-century material produced by the propaganda machine set up by the German Foreign Office.

Giving his readers an overview of the German "Orient" propaganda establishment, Kaiser discusses the works of German anti-Armenian propagandists such as Alfred Krte, Friedrich Naumann, Hugo Grothe, Paul Geister, Albrecht Wirth, Ewald Banse, Ernst Jckh, Ernst Marr, Eugen Mittwoch, and Alphons Sussnitzki.

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From the Back Cover:

From the foreword by Stephan H. Astourian:

Hilmar Kaiser's important essay could not be more timely, for it deconstructs some of the central statements of modern Ottoman historiography. These include the views that the economic success of the Ottoman Armenian bourgeoisie stemmed from their unscrupulous character and European privileges, that it prevented the economic development of the empire, and that it provoked the Turks into getting rid of the Armenian people.

Kaiser's approach reminds one of Nietzsche's "On the Genealogy of Morals" in that he traces these ideas back to their origins to unveil their ideological content and the interests they conceal. These origins he finds in the racist and nationalist propaganda which developed in German imperialist circles as early as the 1890s. In particular, Kaiser emphasizes the central role played in modern historiography by the writings of one such propagandist, Alphons Sussnitzki.

Kaiser shows that Turkish and Western scholars from diverse ideological horizons adopted these ideas to various degrees and adapted them to their theories. Among them, one finds Turkish nationalists of the so-called Kadro school in the 1930s, proponents of the liberal modernization theory in the 1950s and 1960s, and both Turkish and Western followers of Immanuel Wallerstein's assertedly Marxist world-system theory from the 1970s on.

About the Author:

Hilmar Kaiser is a historian specializing in German-Ottoman relations and the Armenian Genocide. He has done extensive archival research in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. In 1996 he was banned from the Ottoman State Archives (Istanbul, Turkey) because of his scholarly interest in Armenian history. Currently he is working at Ruhr University (Bochum, Germany) and is a doctoral candidate at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy).

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Hilmar Kaiser
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