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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55315
Doc. No:TL25269
Call number:‭3333451‬
Main Entry:Devrim Umit
Title & Author:The American Protestant missionary network in Ottoman Turkey, 1876–1914: Political and cultural reflections of the encounterDevrim Umit
College:Columbia University
Date:2008
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2008
Page No:325
Abstract:American missionaries have long been the missing link in the study of the late Ottoman era in spite of the fact that they left their enduring mark in American and Western conceptions of the period, such as “Terrible Turk” and “Red Sultan” just to name a few. From the landing of the first American Protestant missionaries, Levi Parsons and Pliny Fisk, in the Ottoman Empire, as a matter of fact in the Middle East, in early 1820, until the outbreak of the First World War, American missionaries occupied the increasing attention of the Ottoman bureaucracy in domestic and foreign affairs while the mission work in the Ottoman Empire established the largest investment of the American Board in the world, even before China and India, on the eve of the war. The bulk of the correspondence of the Ottoman Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the time period in question was with the United States of America and was chiefly concerned about the American mission schools. Therefore, this dissertation seeks to examine the encounter between the Ottoman officialdom and the American Protestant missionaries under the American Board of Commissionaires for Foreign Missions (A.B.C.F.M.) in Ottoman Turkey during the regimes of Abdulhamid II and the Committee of Union and Progress in 1876-1914; it pursues a two-fold aim. First, it sheds light on the activities of the American Board, mainly the schools, and addresses the concerns and reactions of the Ottoman central and provincial authorities to American missionaries and their establishments. The study shows that Ottomans endeavored to counter the missionaries via a set of prohibitive and punitive legal acts and regulations and to compete with their enterprise via a new line of programs and institutions such as those in the venue of education. Second, the dissertation demonstrates how the missionaries were instrumental in the orientation and articulation of the American foreign policy towards the Ottoman Empire and attests that concern and support of the American government for the mission work in Ottoman lands were explicit and forceful even to the extent of sending war vessels to the Ottoman ports six times under three different Presidents in a ten-year period. The study draws on archival materials largely from the Prime Ministry Archives in Istanbul, Turkey, and from the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary and the Houghton Library in Harvard University. Being a microcosm to the encounter between the Ottoman Empire, as the “last Muslim empire” struggling to maintain its fast fading place in the international arena, and the missionaries of “Christian America,” whose internationalist pattern was largely articulated by the terms of Manifest Destiny and Social Darwinism, the dissertation discusses that the very agenda of the missionaries, namely, to evangelize the Muslims of the Ottoman Empire, which remained dormant throughout the nineteenth century, resurfaced on the eve of the First World War. The study further sheds light on the complex relationship among the Ottoman officialdom, American missionaries and government, and the local communities.
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Missionary network; Ottoman Empire; Protestant; Turkey; Religious history; Middle Eastern history; 0320:Religious history; 0333:Middle Eastern history
Added Entry:R. W. Bulliet
Added Entry:Columbia University