The Karlowitz Moment: The Ottoman Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century and the Making of the Modern World

The Karlowitz Moment: The Ottoman Empire in the Long Eighteenth Century and the Making of the Modern World
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
3:00 PM
Kaplan Hall, Rm 193

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This talk aims to reconsider the Ottoman experience during the long eighteenth century in a global context. The reevaluation begins by revisiting the Karlowitz Congress in 1699, a pivotal moment for both Europe and the Ottoman Empire, following the lengthy wars between the Ottomans and the Sacra Lega, led by the Habsburgs. Through this congress, the Ottoman Empire withdrew from Central Europe, signaling the end of its conquest policy.Traditionally, it has been assumed, a cornerstone in Ottoman history writing, that the Congress symbolized the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, triggering a prolonged period of decline. In contrast, Ali Yaycıoglu argues that the Karlowitz Moment generated fresh dynamics within the Ottoman Empire, transforming it into a realm of peace, commerce, and reform. The talk explores various themes, including the new era of reform politics aimed at establishing political stability, economic growth, inter-imperial trade, and peace around its borders. These reforms coincided with new intellectual and cultural trends, as well as new popular and religious movements, some challenging the emerging order with variety of radicalisms. All of these developments were somehow connected with the reshuffling of Eurasia following the collapse of the Safavid Empire, the expansion of Russia in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the British Empire in South Asia and the Indian Ocean World. 


Ali Yaycıoğlu, is a faculty member in the Department of History at Stanford University and also serves as the director of Islamic Studies and Middle East Studies at the university. His primary research interests encompass the socio-economic, political, and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. Beyond his main area of focus, Yaycıoglu is actively involved in projects related to digitizing Ottoman economic data.He is the author of the book. Partners of the Empire: The Crisis of the Ottoman Order in the Age of Revolutions (Stanford, 2016), which delves into the transformation of the Ottoman Empire during the late 18th century and early 19th century. His most recent book is entitled Uncertain Past Time: Empire, Republic and Politics (Belirsiz Gecmis Zaman: İmparatorluk, Cumhuriyet ve Siyaset) (Istanbul, 2024), a compilation of his essays on Modern Turkish History that were originally published in Gazete Oksijen, a weekly newspaper where he is a regular contributor. Currently, Yaycıoglu is actively working on a project titled "The Order of Debt: Power, Wealth and Death in the Ottoman Empire," which analyzes transformations in property, finance, and statehood during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Additionally, he is involved in writing a short book on the history of democracy in Turkey. In parallel with his academic pursuits, Yaycıoglu is engaged in visual arts under the name "Critical Imagination," conducting artistic work in San Francisco and Istanbul through the Atölye20 platform.