Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity A History Carter Vaughn Findley

Publication date:
30 Aug 2011
Yale University Press
544 pages: 235 x 156mm
40 b-w + 16 color illus.
Sales territories:

A comprehensive panorama of the religious and secular forces that shaped Ottoman and Turkish history over two centuries

Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity reveals the historical dynamics propelling two centuries of Ottoman and Turkish history. As mounting threats to imperial survival necessitated dynamic responses, ethnolinguistic and religious identities inspired alternative strategies for engaging with modernity. A radical, secularizing current of change competed with a conservative, Islamically committed current. Crises sharpened the differentiation of the two currents, forcing choices between them.

The radical current began with the formation of reformist governmental elites and expanded with the advent of “print capitalism,” symbolized by the privately owned, Ottoman-language newspapers. The radicals engineered the 1908 Young Turk revolution, ruled empire and republic until 1950, made secularism a lasting “belief system,” and still retain powerful positions.

The conservative current gained impetus from three history-making Islamic renewal movements, those of Mevlana Halid, Said Nursi, and Fethullah Gülen. Powerful under the empire, Islamic conservatives did not regain control of government until the 1980s. By then they, too, had their own influential media.

Findley's reassessment of political, economic, social, and cultural history reveals the dialectical interaction between radical and conservative currents of change, which alternately clashed and converged to shape late Ottoman and republican Turkish history.

Carter Vaughn Findley is a Humanities Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University and an honorary member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences. His book The Turks in World History won the 2006 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Prize for Middle Eastern Studies.

"A couple of centuries covered, and a couple of decades in the making: the Humanities distinguished Professor of History at Ohio State University has produced a monumental work. Several of the photographs reproduced were taken by Carter Vaughn Findley himself, whose energy and commitment are infectious, encouraging the reader to reflect on one of the most complex stories in modern history."—Michael Wheeler, Church Times

"This is an absolutely splendid piece of historiography."—Murad Wilfried Hofmann, The Muslim World Book Review