RAS Chinese History Club

A Sympathetic Ear: China in the Eyes of the Late Ottomans

Speaker: Furkan Erdogan

The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries represent a significant turning point for the Qing Dynasty and the Ottoman Empire. The failure of warfare against Western countries and the land reparations clearly showed that the modernisation movements of the two empires were insufficient to save them. After a series of failures, the upper class and intellectuals of the Ottoman Empire shifted their attention to Western modernisation theories, hoping to find a way out. Moreover, historical incidents in various parts of the non-Euro-American world undoubtedly played an important role in shaping the Ottoman Empire’s intellectual climate, which took a nationalist turn. At this point, China, which had experienced a similar historical process, greatly influenced the response of the Ottoman Empire.

During this session we will hear and discuss the Ottoman Empire’s view on China, especially the sympathy between the two great empires. With the help of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Ottoman archival records and publications, we will examine the late Ottoman Empire from the perspective of Chinese modernisation, and the different responsive ideologies during this upheaval period, especially the impact of Pan-Asianist and Eastern ideological trends on the Ottoman reformers.

The Chinese History Study Group meets monthly – generally the second Wednesday of each month, October through July. Our members select and research topics of personal interest within the themes, make brief oral presentations, and then engage in discussion with those attending the talk. Each month one or two members discuss their topics.

Themes of this season: Women in Chinese History & China’s Impact Outside

RSVP: studygroup@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn