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Nader Sohrabi



Koserstraße 20
Raum B256
14195 Berlin

I am a graduate of University of Chicago. As a historical sociologist, I study the transformations in the middle east in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by focusing mainly on the Ottoman Empire, but I also have a good deal of interest in Iranian history. I compared their contemporaneous revolutions (Revolution and Constitutionalism in the Ottoman Empire and Iran. CUP, 2011) by exploring the revolutionaries’ global frames, the adaptations of global trends regionally, and the similarities and differences that emerged between the two locally. During that expansive research, I became interested in a ten-day outbreak of ethno-religious hostilities known as the 1909 Adana massacres, and I am completing a short monograph on the role of non-state actors in that episode. My larger project Reluctant Nationalists, Imperial Nation State and Neo-Ottomanism: Antinomies of the End of Empire examines the rise of ethnic nationalism among the Muslim populations of the empire in response to state policies and war. An overview will appear shortly in Social Science History Journal. I have taught in history, area studies, and sociology departments in the United States. My longest appointment was at the Middle East, South Asia, and African Studies Department of Columbia University, and I have also taught at the University of Iowa, University of Chicago, and Northwestern University. Fellowships have been held at Harvard University, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton) and Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (Göttingen).

Reluctant Nationalists, Imperial Nation State and Neo-Ottomanism: Antinomies of the End of Empire.

What were the causes of Ottoman Empire’s disintegration? Were they owed to external causes and contingencies of imposed wars or were they internal and due to homegrown nationalism? War and nationalism were not isolated but worked in tandem and it is their interaction that deserves our attention. During the years 1908-1918, the revolutionary Young Turks turned to state-building and nationalism (Turkified Ottomanism) to deal with fears of impending wars and prospects of disintegration. These led to unprecedented conflicts in Albania that propelled a multi-religious community closer toward ethnic identification. Albanian disorders and growing nationalism influenced the outbreak of the Balkan Wars that resulted in its independence. The war’s disastrous outcome magnified Turkish nationalism and informed the Ottoman’s decision to join the Great War in search of a protector. During the war, the Ottoman Arab lands faced nearly the same pressures as Albania and reacted similarly.

Reaching the People