Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Russia’s Worlds: Russian Empire and the Ottoman World

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live.

Please join us for an event in the Russia’s Worlds Lecture Series, a discussion with Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky (UC Santa Barbara) and Eileen Kane (Connecticut College).

Eileen Kane teaches modern European history and directs the program in Global Islamic Studies at Connecticut College. Her research focuses on the relationship between Russia and the Middle East. Her first book was about Russia’s sponsorship of the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, between the 1840s and 1920s. She has a new book of primary sources coming out soon from Oxford University Press called Russia and the Arab World: A Documentary History, which she created and co-edited with Margaret Litvin and Masha Kirasirova. She is on leave this year with the support of a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, working on a book that looks at mass Jewish and Muslim emigration from Russia to the Middle East between the 1840s and 1940s.

Her talk will focus on migrations as a way to understand connections between Russian and Ottoman history.

Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky is an Assistant Professor of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He specializes in global migration and forced displacement and the history of the Ottoman and Russian empires and their successor states. His research, based on sources in Arabic, Turkish, and Russian, interrogates the relationship between refugee mobility, political economy, and ethnic cleansing, which were critical to the making of the modern Middle East and Eastern Europe. Dr. Hamed-Troyansky has conducted archival research in Turkey, Jordan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the United Kingdom, and Russia, including the autonomous republics of Dagestan, North Ossetia-Alania, and Kabardino-Balkaria. His work was published or is forthcoming in Comparative Studies in Society and History, Past and Present, and International Journal of Middle East Studies.

He will discuss his forthcoming book project Empire of Refugees: North Caucasian Muslims and the Late Ottoman State, which investigates the origins of organized refugee resettlement in the Middle East. The book focuses on Muslims from Russia’s mountainous North Caucasus region, over a million of whom fled to the Ottoman Empire between the 1850s and World War I. Circassian, Chechen, Daghestani, and other refugees founded hundreds of new villages throughout the Ottoman domains, from Kosovo and Bulgaria in the west to Jordan and Iraq in the east. The resettlement of Muslims from Russia shaped how the Ottomans thought about refugees, immigration, and humanitarianism, as well as spurred an entire infrastructure to manage population flows in the Middle East. As the Ottoman state came under strain from foreign interventions, refugee resettlement became increasingly important for the self-image of the Ottoman sultanate/caliphate on the global stage. Meanwhile, how well refugees fared in their new agricultural villages proved critical to the preservation of Ottoman rule throughout the empire.

Russia’s Worlds Lecture Series:

In the last two decades historians have consistently challenged the center-periphery approach to the history of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, at the same time establishing the inadequacy of state boundaries to encompass imperial and Soviet experience. “Russia’s Worlds” brings together innovative work on connections between the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and the outside world, looking at how these states, their cultures, and their subjects interacted with the wider world, other states, and the international scene based on religion, ethnicity, ideology and professional affiliations. In this series of six talks, twelve speakers working at the intersection of several fields will share new perspectives on how international law, migration, environment, traveling ideas, individuals and commodities tied Russia to a larger world and the other way around.

All events at 12:00pm Eastern unless noted otherwise.

October 28, 2020: The Russian Empire and International Law

Peter Holquist (University of Pennsylvania)
Will Smiley (University of New Hampshire)

November 19, 2020: Soviet Union and East Asia

Tatiana Linkhoeva (NYU)
Elizabeth McGuire (California State University, East Bay)

January 21, 2021: Russian Empire and the Ottoman World

Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky (UC Santa Barbara)
Eileen Kane (Connecticut College)

February 18, 2021: Soviet Union and the Middle East

Sam Hirst (Bilkent University, Ankara)
Masha Kirasirova (NYU Abu Dhabi)

March 18, 2021: The Russian and Soviet North Pacific

Bathsheba Demuth (Brown University)
Ilya Vinkovetsky (Simon Fraser University)

May 13, 2021: The Second World War and the Postwar Settlement

2:00pm ET
Michael David-Fox (Georgetown University
Francine Hirsch (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Event Video