Subject to approval: Sanction and censure in Ottoman Istanbul (1889-1923) /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Polat, Ayse, author.
Ann Arbor : ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, 2015
Description:1 electronic resource (397 pages)
Format: E-Resource Dissertations
Local Note:School code: 0330
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Other authors / contributors:University of Chicago. degree granting institution.
Notes:Advisors: Michael Sells; Holly A. Shissler Committee members: Hussein A. Agrama; Malika Zeghal.
This item is not available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses.
Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 77-02(E), Section: A.
Summary:This dissertation focuses on late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century state regulation of the intellectual and physical public spaces of Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire. A sociohistorical investigation of the Ottoman imperial polity and society, it examines the institutional, regulatory, and legal mechanisms through which the imperial state oversaw Islamic publications and public conduct during the empire's final decades, especially following World War I. These efforts at control, some more successful than others, are examined here through the decisions and actions of Tetkik-i Mesahif ve Muellefat-i Ser'iyye Meclisi (Council on the Inspection of Printed Qur'ans and Islamic Religious Publications) and Daru'l-Hikmeti'l Islamiye (Abode of Islamic Wisdom), two administrative bodies established under the Mesihat (office of the Sheikh al-Islam) to inspect Islamic publications and to govern matters perceived as pertaining to public morality.
Regulations in both realms took the form of authorization, permission, or approval, on one hand, or rejection, prohibition, and censorship, on the other. This study demonstrates that the Ottoman councils and ministries were crucial agents in determining what was published and in establishing the limits of permissible public behavior in Istanbul's urban space. It also illustrates the challenges faced by state authorities, paying close attention to the conflict between different governmental bodies and administrative units, as well as to that between state agents and imperial subjects.
Close historical and textual analysis of archival material pertaining to the Mesihat councils and of the literary, satirical, and intellectual products of the time facilitates a unique approach to both publications (novels, cartoons, periodical essays, printed Qur'an texts, other Islamic books) and public conduct (alcohol consumption, mixed-gender interactions, women's clothing and behavior). In addition, the perspectives of both the censors and the censored are considered: from state administrators, ulama, intellectuals, and journalists to imperial subjects, general readers, and residents of Istanbul.
A complex range of factors (economic, political, religious, social) affected the regime's governance of and the public's response to publications and public behavior. But the concern to protect public morality from offense and to avert potential threats to religious (here, Islamic) sentiments, general moral standards, and decency prevailed as a dominant legal category. This concern, common in many countries after World War I, was cited by Ottoman state actors and imperial subjects alike in setting boundaries for either sanction or censure in the intertwined realms of publications and public conduct.