The lecture aims to reconstruct the history of Armenian communities (millets) in the age of Tanzimat reforms (Turkish: “Reorganization,” a series of reforms in the Ottoman Empire between 1839 and 1876) by focusing on the various forms of interactions between community leaders and imperial officials, and their economic and social networks. Who were the leaders of the Armenian communities in the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire in the mid-nineteenth century? What were the main features of the interactions between the leaders of local communities, the imperial authorities and the ordinary members of the communities? Discussion around these simple, yet understudied questions will reveal moments of possibilities in which Ottomanism was a viable option for the empire. Exploring new ways to reconstruct the history of Armenian communities in the eastern provinces, the lecture will focus on their agency and achievements, rather than their victimhood.
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