Wednesday 24 March 2021
11.00 - 12.15
Mobilizing the Nation, 19th - 20th Centuries
Onur Ada :
Rethinking the Kemalist Nation-builders Vis-à-vis an Agrarian Society: Peasant-Friendly Generous Reformers or Desperate Tax-Collectors?
The policies adopted by the ruling elite in the one-party period (1923-1950) of the Turkish history are highly contested vis-à-vis the peasantry, which constituted more than the 80 % of the population and accounted for the 40-50 % of the national income. In this regard, many researchers tend to portray ... (Show more)
The policies adopted by the ruling elite in the one-party period (1923-1950) of the Turkish history are highly contested vis-à-vis the peasantry, which constituted more than the 80 % of the population and accounted for the 40-50 % of the national income. In this regard, many researchers tend to portray the nature of the Kemalist regime as the embodiment of rationalism and populism, which aimed to endorse the agricultural sector and enlighten the illiterate and superstitious peasants. In doing so, they suggest that the ruling elite, which was composed of a coalition between the military and bureaucracy, distinguished between the peasants and their masters, namely the landowners and opted for the former at the expense of the latter. In view of the abolition of the tithe, which formed the 10 % of the produce, and various attempts at the land reform, this approach may initially seem to be credible. However, it takes the discourse at the face value and gives the agency entirely to the state rather than the society. In this research, I aim to demonstrate the role of the villagers in the policy-making along with an analysis of the socio-economic background of the ruling elite. In the light of the “state-in-society” approach developed by Joel S. Migdal, I show that the agricultural sector was highly influential among the rank and file of the Kemalist one-party state. In addition, I rely on a fiscal sociological analysis of the parliamentary minutes, party congresses and tax reports to argue that the primary reason of the abolition of the tithe, taxation policies ostensibly on behalf of the peasants, and the land reform was not based on an ideological tendency to empower the peasantry. Instead, the ruling elite was in dire need of extracting a higher state revenue from the agricultural sector, which necessitated the rise of the agricultural production alongside a strict control and supervision of the tax collection process. Altogether, this research places the taxation at the core of the nation-building and state-building in the early Turkish Republic, representing a radical departure from the prevailing historiographical tendencies. (Show less)
Sami Suodenjoki :
Naming Traitors to Mobilise the Nation: the Hunt for Collaborators in Finland after the Russian February Revolution of 1917
The label ’Russian collaborator’ has been a powerful tool of stigmatisation in Finnish politics from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. The use of terms like ”Russian minion” and ”Russian spy” dates back to the years 1898–1917, known in Finnish historiography as the period of oppression, during ... (Show more)
The label ’Russian collaborator’ has been a powerful tool of stigmatisation in Finnish politics from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. The use of terms like ”Russian minion” and ”Russian spy” dates back to the years 1898–1917, known in Finnish historiography as the period of oppression, during which the Russian imperial government sought to integrate the Grand Duchy of Finland more closely into the empire. These measures affected the development of Finnish nationalism by fuelling militant separatism, which had anti-Russian overtones. After Finland had become independent as a result of the Russian revolutions of 1917, this separatism evolved into a form of right-wing Finnish nationalism that drew on Russophobia. The Russophobic nationalism has lived as a strong undercurrent in Finnish politics up to the 21st century. Even though there have been some signs of a part of the Finnish far right adopting a favourable stance towards Russia in recent years, labelling someone as an agent or minion of Russia is still common as a bludgeon in Finnish political language.
This paper examines the mobilisation of the figure of the Russian collaborator into a target of popular political action in Finland after the Russian February Revolution of 1917. While the Revolution boosted visions of liberation and democracy among Finns, it also gave rise to a mood of retribution against people, who had aided the imperial regime and its machinery of political surveillance in the previous years. This mood of retribution was mobilised by Finnish nationalists and turned into a hunt for informers, spies and other ”henchmen” that lasted for several months. During the campaign, the nationalist press exposed the names of hundreds of suspected collaborators and openly urged people to ostracise them. Similar campaigns took place across Russia after the February Revolution, but the Finnish campaign was distinctive in its deployment of anti-Russian language for stigmatising the suspected collaborators. In some regions of Finland, the hunt for collaborators was also linked with religious disputes between Lutherans and Orthodox Catholics.
In the paper, I explore the concepts and emotion words that were used in the campaign against collaborators during 1917. Drawing on Sara Ahmed’s ideas on how the slide of metonymy works to generate likeness, I examine how words like ’henchman’, ’informer’, ’spy’, ’traitor’, ’Judas’ and ’Russophile’ were knit together by Finnish newspapers to mobilise rage against the targets of the campaign. Besides language, however, I also investigate the various countermeasures confronted by suspected collaborators in their communities. These measures ranged from social ostracism to violence and imprisonment. I also suggest that while the campaign against collaborators faded as the antagonism between the socialists and the bourgeois parties intensified in the summer of 1917, the alarm over citizens’ collaboration with Russia revived already during the Finnish Civil War of 1918. The source materials include digitized newspapers and periodicals, citizens’ letters to the office of the Governor-General’s for Finland, and secret documents that were seized from the archives of the Russian gendarmerie in 1917. (Show less)
Deniz Ali Uyan :
Searching for a new World-Historical Context: Divergent Trajectories of “Albanian” and “Kurdish” Nationalisms
The Ottoman Empire claimed legitimate rule over a vast territory linking the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, including multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multilinguistic populations, for many centuries. The territories, once called as “well-protected domains of Ottoman dynasty,” were reorganized along alleged national lines including Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, and ... (Show more)
The Ottoman Empire claimed legitimate rule over a vast territory linking the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa, including multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multilinguistic populations, for many centuries. The territories, once called as “well-protected domains of Ottoman dynasty,” were reorganized along alleged national lines including Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, and Republican Turkey in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Although a considerable number of monographies for the emergence of each nation-state exist, the literature of Ottoman studies lacks comparative and relational works to account for divergent trajectories of those nationalist practices. This paper argues that the underlying reason for this absence stems from a nationalist teleology dominating many of the existing theoretical attempts and historical works. Although manifesting itself in different forms, the nationalist teleology essentially implies a tendency to attribute ontological foundation to ‘nation’ and inevitability to the emergence of the nation-state while overlooking or delegitimizing unfollowed paths, thereby leads the historicity of modern nationalism to fall between the cracks within the monolithic and unidirectional narratives resembling a self-fulfilling prophecy. Yet, such narratives clash with the historical evidences provided by the revisionist sociological and historiographical works. In this respect, the historicity of nationalism should be revisited by focusing on the socio-historical conditions of the possibilities of nationalisms.
This paper aims to go beyond the teleological paradigms by offering an alternative, comparative and relational, framework to analyze the nationalist practices in the Ottoman empire. Building on the concepts of international historical sociology (including “political Marxism” and “uneven and combined developments”) and post-structuralist theories of nationalism (which reconceptualize nationalism not as an entity but as a process), this paper will try to revisit the practices of nationalism in their proper historical context. Relying on the petitions, court registers, periodicals and other related materials collected from the two representative provinces of Kosovo and Diyarbakir, this paper argues that the key to understand the divergent trajectories of “Albanian” and “Kurdish” nationalisms lies within the wider socio-historical context of the interplay between internal social-property relations and international geo-politics. (Show less)