Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Global Studies, University of California / Santa Barbara

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2014
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Stanford University
Integration and Resistance: North Caucasus Refugees in the Ottoman Empire, 1860-1914

In the fifty years before the First World War, between one and two million Muslim refugees poured into the Ottoman Empire from Russia's North Caucasus region. Dispersed throughout the empire, these refugees profoundly transformed Ottoman demographics, labor markets, and socio-cultural environments. My project explores the resettlement of North Caucasus refugees, with a focus on the mechanisms of integration and modes of resistance that the migrants employed. This study shifts the discussion of immigration from the state and its top-down resettlement project to the immigrants and their reactions to Ottoman policies. My approach emphasizes the perspective of the refugees themselves and highlights their historical agency in the making of the modern Middle East and Southeast Europe. I draw on three case studies in the Balkans, Anatolia, and Greater Syria to investigate communal relations within the refugee community, and between them and other immigrants, local residents, and state officials, and study the economy of resettlement, including the logistics of state humanitarian aid, the refugees' participation in local markets, and land-related disputes. This project conceptualizes North Caucasus refugees as trans-imperial migrants who preserved ties with their homeland, clandestinely traveled between the two states, and had fluid interpretations of what it meant to be a Russian or Ottoman subject. My research draws on sources in Turkish, Bulgarian, Georgian, Russian, and Jordanian archives to situate one of the largest refugee crises in Ottoman history within the context of transnational population movements and colonization projects in the greater Mediterranean region in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.