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Title: Coalescence of the Empire: Administration of the Provincial Economy in Ottoman Damascus, 1820-1860
Authors: Bozluolcay, Murat
Advisors: Weiss, Max
Contributors: Near Eastern Studies Department
Keywords: administration
nineteenth century
Ottoman Empire
political economy
Subjects: History
Near Eastern studies
Middle Eastern history
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation investigates the transformation of Ottoman sovereignty during the nineteenth century through the study of the administration of the provincial economy in Damascus between 1820 and 1860. Focusing on the administration of the economy provides the opportunity to bridge political and economic modes of analyses whose separation lies at the heart of the paradoxical view on the nineteenth-century Ottoman sovereignty: an integrated, more invasive, and “stronger” state apparatus whose power is increasingly checked by new socioeconomic classes, institutionalization of regional autonomy and communities, and European capital and extraterritoriality. I focus on prevalent political economic themes in Ottoman Syrian history—provincial financing, taxation, the “opening up” of Syria to European economic interests, and tax farms—to investigate the changing relationship between the Ottoman imperial center and its provincial government and the nineteenth-century imperial reforms in provincial administration.I argue that the Ottoman government’s new sovereign claims on the provincial economy at the beginning of this period resulted in the integration of provincial practices into a new administrative whole on which imperial sovereignty was exercised. On the other hand, repeated challenges to such claims throughout this period—first by the Damascenes, then the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Mehmed Ali Pasha, and finally, the European powers—gave rise to new administrative and geographical distinctions in the exercise of imperial sovereignty. Namely, sovereignty came to be increasingly defined by distinctions between private and public debt, between littoral and inland spheres of imperial authority, and between central and provincial responsibilities and prerogatives of administrative structures such as treasuries and provincial councils. I call the formation of this new whole which nevertheless operated through new administrative and geographical distinctions the coalescence of the Empire. Relying on the central Ottoman archives, I tell the story of the coalescence of the Empire through studies in provincial public financing and the Hajj before 1826, surplus extraction and the newly founded Ministry of Market Inspection (ihtisab nezareti) in the late 1820s, economic diplomacy between Istanbul, Cairo, and London in the 1830s, and the Damascene provincial council (meclis-i eyalet) and tax farms between 1840 and 1860.
Type of Material: Thesis
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Near Eastern Studies

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