Travel, civilization and the east : Ottoman Travellers’ perception of “the east” in the late Ottoman Empire

Palabıyık, Mustafa Serdar
This thesis analyzes the Ottoman travellers’ perception of “the East” in the late Ottoman Empire. In doing that, it links the Ottoman intellectual debates on the concept of civilization to their perceptions on the non-European lands and peoples. It mainly argues that the Ottoman intellectuals’ attempt to create a synthesis between the material elements of Western civilization and their own morality resulted in a perception of the East different from the Western perceptions. While the Western perceptions envisage a monolithic, unchanging and static East, the Ottoman perceptions vary in accordance with the temporal and spatial setting as well as with the intellectual inclinations of the travellers. Hence, this thesis contributes to the literature by fulfilling the gap about the Ottoman perceptions of the concepts of civilization and the East, by questioning the limits of existing literature on the Ottoman perception of the East which defines it as Orientalist/colonialist, by attracting attention to the use of Ottoman travel literature in understanding the Ottoman identity and their perception of the world, and, finally, by underlining the importance of the Ottoman perceptions of civilization and the East in understanding the historical roots of the “identity question” in Turkey.


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Citation Formats
M. S. Palabıyık, “Travel, civilization and the east : Ottoman Travellers’ perception of “the east” in the late Ottoman Empire,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2010.