Communal representation, imperial deliberation and the question of democracy within the Late-Ottoman Parliament
When in December 1876 the Ottoman constitution was promulgated, the first elections in Ottoman history had to be organised in early 1877. This was the occasion, when Ottoman reformist elites and intellectuals had to debate and decide, how the Ottoman population was to be represented in the first parliament. Finally the parliament was constituted with deputies from all provinces, but also with members of various population groups living in the empire. In her talk, Elke Hartmann examines the example of the Armenian deputies in the first Ottoman parliament. Who were they? How were the deputies chosen and elected? Whom did they represent? What did representation mean to them and / or their communities? Were these topics debated? Shortly after the first Ottoman parliament took up its work, the empire was confronted with war, leading to a crushing defeat against Russia. Subsequently, the parliament was dissolved and the constitution suspended. What remained from the experience of the first parliament, the first Ottoman experiment in democracy?
Elke Hartmann is professor at the Institut für Osmanistik und Turkologie of the Freie Universität Berlin. She published in 2016 Die Reichweite des Staates. Wehrpflicht und moderne Staatlichkeit im Osmanischen Reich 1869-1910 [The Outreach of the State. Conscription and Modern Statehood in the Ottoman Empire], Paderborn (Ferdinand Schöningh). She is also the author of the chapter “The “Loyal Nation” and Its Deputies. The Armenians in the First Ottoman Parliament” in Herzog (Christoph) and Sharif (Malek) (eds.), The First Ottoman Experiment in Democracy (Beirut, Orient Institut, 2010, p.187-222). Earlier in 2021 she published in Budapest (L’Harmattan) Örmény élet a oszmán birodalomban [Armenian Life in the Ottoman Empire].
The online seminar is free and open to the public upon registration: https://forms.gle/A8AJDvdaQyUiG5qD8