This Thursday (1st Dec), Alyson Wharton-Durgaryan (Lincoln, History and Heritage) will be speaking to us on municipality and government in the Ottoman Empire. The seminar begins at 5pm (paper to start at 5.15pm) with refreshments. We are in MC3202 as usual.


Wharton pic


Please find details of Alison’s talk below.


The ‘House of Government’ (Hükümet Konağı), the Municipality (Belediye) and the struggle for public space in Erzurum, Bitlis and Van in the Hamidian Era (1876-1909).



The mid-nineteenth-century reforms led to the spread of municipalities (belediye) across Ottoman Empire, purporting to grant inhabitants participation in local governance and to implement the centralizing policies of the reforms. In reality, these new structures were dominated by local notables, as a reinforcement of the old regime. In cities of the east on the frontier with Russia- Bitlis, Van and Erzurum- where there were sizeable Armenian and Kurdish populations, dissatisfaction was voiced. The response was a securitization of urban space under Abdülhamid II (r.1876-1909), reflected in the construction of a network of police stations, telegraph lines, detention and correctional facilities, barracks, and houses of government (hükümet konağı). This seminar will discuss the implementation of the municipality and the house of government in Bitlis, Van and Erzurum to show how architecture intersected with socio-political dynamics on a local level, and the changing direction of governance in the empire.