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In the Age of Freedom, in the Name of Justice

Slavery and Emancipation in the Late Ottoman Empire

March 21, 2019
Thursday at 6.30pm
Attendance is free, however places are limited.
To register, please email:

Institute of Archaeology, Lecture Theatre, 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PY

The British Institute at Ankara presents the BIAA London lecture
by Dr Ceyda Karamursel (SOAS)

When was slavery abolished in the Ottoman Empire? The answer to this seemingly straightforward question is not an easy one. The Ottoman institution of slavery not only lacked a definitive ‘Emancipation Proclamation’, but it also moved – in a short period of time – across a number of watershed moments: the advent of Constitutional rule in 1908, the end of World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918, and the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. All these moments were marked by an expectation of the end of the Ottoman practice of slavery.

This lecture traces the political and legal courses that Ottoman slavery took, from the first general prohibition of the slave trade in 1857 until the official ending of the practice in Turkey in 1933.

Dr Ceyda Karamursel received her PhD in History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Middle East Center. Her work explores the practice of slavery and the elusive meanings of freedom in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic in the second half of the nineteenth and early decades of the twentieth centuries and has been supported by the Social Science Research Council and the Charlotte W. Newcombe Foundation, among others. She is currently working on her book manuscript, which continues to explore Ottoman slaves’ and slaveholders’ perceptions of freedom, justice, equality, and in an indirect way, of citizenship.

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