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Julia Phillips Cohen: "Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era"
December 5, 2013 @ 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm | Stevenson Fireside Lounge
The Ottoman-Jewish story has long been told as a romance between Jews and the empire. The prevailing view is that Ottoman Jews were protected and privileged by imperial policies and in return offered their unflagging devotion to the imperial government over many centuries. In this talk, Julia Phillips Cohen offers a corrective, arguing that Jewish leaders who promoted this vision did so in response to a series of reforms enacted by the nineteenth-century Ottoman state: the new equality they gained came with a new set of expectations. Ottoman subjects were suddenly to become imperial citizens, to consider their neighbors as brothers and their empire as a homeland. Yet the process was not seamless: as they sought to teach each other how to become modern citizens of their state, Ottoman Jews soon learned that their patriotic project could entail uncomfortable choices and disturbing consequences.
Charting Ottoman Jews’ responses to these developments, this talk provides new perspectives for understanding Jewish encounters with modernity and citizenship in a centralizing, modernizing Islamic state and an imperial, multi-faith landscape.
Julia Phillips Cohen is Assistant Professor in the Program in Jewish Studies and the Department of History at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), and, together with Sarah Abrevaya Stein, editor of Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History, 1700-1950 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014).
Presented by the Center for Jewish Studies. Staff support provided by the Institute for Humanities Research. For more information, including disabled access, please contact Evin Guy: (831) 459-5655, firstname.lastname@example.org. Maps: http://maps.ucsc.edu.