Course Descriptions

01:013:324 Ottoman Africa (3) (spring)

From the early sixteenth century until its end, the Ottoman Empire was present in Africa, from Egypt to Algeria, Tunisia to Libya, with later contacts with South, East and West Africa. But in the second half of the nineteenth century the Ottoman presence in Africa assumed a form that it had never had before. Government buildings were erected, roads were paved. Accompanied by the Ottoman flag Ottoman missionaries began to travel from one African country to another to preach the true religion of Islam, reporting back to the Sublime Port about the need to colonize these lands. The Port commissioned books on colonialism to understand better what was to be done with the African lands to the south of Libya.  These transformations raise a number of questions that we will address in this seminar. What is the difference between the forms of Ottoman presence in Africa before, during and after the nineteenth century colonial struggle for the natural resources of Africa? What is the relationship between religion and this colonial setting? What is the relationship between the image (visibility, publicity, imperial iconography) and colonialism? While enabling us to unearth an Africa that has long been lost, i.e., Ottoman Africa, addressing these questions will also make room for a fresh, critical engagement with some of the major issues of contemporary political thought.