International Journal of Middle East Studies
After the 1877–78 Russo-Ottoman War, the Ottoman Empire saw the rise of ethnic and sectarian clashes in Anatolia, the Balkans, and elsewhere, and the task of explaining that rise remains unfinished. Many have examined the intellectual formations of ethnic and sectarian solidarities after 1878, but the availability of new ideas cannot alone account for their widespread uptake. Why after 1878 did ordinary people respond more to calls upon ethnic and sectarian solidarity? Drawing on sources surrounding the 1879 famine in the Ottoman East, this article steps away from imperial metropoles to examine overlapping environmental, financial, and technological disjunctures. Adopting the methods of political ecology, the article underscores the simultaneous effects of drought, sovereign default, and an influx of modern weapons, each of which imposed uneven hardships along ethno-religious lines. Together, they created a climate of lived confessionalization that highlighted the communal categories upon which emergent movements called.
Ottoman Empire, famine, environmental history, political ecology, ethnic conflict, sectarian conflict, Armenians, Kurds, Turks
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Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press
Ghazarian, Matthew, "A Climate of Confessionalization: Famine and Difference in the Late Ottoman Empire" (2022). Environmental Science and Policy: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.