ICM New Conversations Series
Assistant Professor, History; Director, Ottoman and Turkish Studies Initiative, Cornell University
Focusing on the Ottoman Empire’s engagement in multilateral agreements in the late 19th century, and Istanbul’s efforts to assert its legal authority to rule over its self-declared colonies, my talk discusses the process of inter-imperial competition between the Great Powers and the Ottoman Empire for colonial possession in the Sahara and the African Red Sea coast. Highlighting the increasing reliance on legalistic justifications of European colonial expansion in Africa—what I call “juridical colonialism”—I examine the liminal legal space that the Ottoman state inhabited at the end of the 19th century. The Ottoman Empire, considered both, part of Europe but “non-European,” was in a unique position which allowed Istanbul a range of choices from full participation in, to a complete rejection of Euro-centric legalistic definitions of sovereignty and colonial authority, which sought to exclude those that did not fit into Euro-centric notions of “civility.
Mostafa Minawi is an assistant professor in the Department of History and the director of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Initiative (OTSI) at Cornell University. He has a Bachelor of Engineering and Management from McMaster University, an MA in History from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. in a joint program of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from NYU. His book, The Ottoman Scramble for Africa: Empire and Diplomacy in the Sahara and the Hijaz, came out with Stanford University Press in 2016. He splits his time between Ithaca, NY, and Istanbul.
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