Middle East Studies

Book Talk | Nilay Özok Gündogan | The Kurdish Nobility in the Ottoman Empire: Loyalty, Autonomy, and Privilege

Kurdish Nobility in the Ottoman Empire Gundogan Doumani

Friday, February 9, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Webinar. Registration link.

About the Event
In this webinar, Nilay Özok Gündogan will examine the rise and fall of Kurdish nobility in the Ottoman Empire from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Focusing on one noble Kurdish family based in the emirate of Palu, a fortressed town in the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire, Gündogan provides the first systematic analysis of the hereditary nobility in Kurdistan between 1720 and 1895. The abolishment of the Kurdish nobles’ hereditary privileges and the confiscation of their landholdings in the 1840s triggered a five-decade-long conflict between Armenian financiers, Armenian and Muslim sharecroppers, the Kurdish beys, and an increasingly present Ottoman state over the fertile lands of Palu. Through exhaustive archival research in an untapped body of sources and examining the strategies and actions of these diverse groups, Gundogan reveals the complexity of this context which has been generally dismissed as purely ethnic conflict. This book gets to the heart of the historical transformations over a period of two hundred years that changed Palu, the stronghold of this noble family, from a diverse and economically affluent town into an ethnoreligiously homogenized, culturally conservative, and economically deprived place. 


Virtual Event

About the Speaker
Nilay Özok-Gündoğan is an Assistant Professor of Ottoman and Middle East history at Florida State University. Her research centers on the questions of modern state-making, property regimes, and inter-communal conflict and coexistence in the borderlands of modern empires. She also writes about the question of methodology in Kurdish Studies. Her publications appeared in Jadaliyya, Journal of Social History, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, New Perspectives on Turkey, and in edited volumes.