Dept. of History - Master's degree

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  • ItemOpen Access
    A life above reproach: stylites in Byzantium (5th to 12th centuries)
    (Bilkent University, 2023-11) Nergiz, Ayşe
    This thesis delves into Byzantine stylites and their ascetic practices within the 'Spatial Turn,' unveiling the interplay of asceticism, religious symbolism, and spatial dynamics in the Byzantine Empire. First, by applying Henri Lefebvre's spatial triad model, this research examines literary spaces through a concentrated analysis of the travel and movement narratives within the hagiographic accounts of three stylites from the fifth to twelfth centuries: Symeon the Elder, Daniel the Stylite, and Lazaros of Mount Galesion. The aim is to illustrate the contribution of literary spatial elements to the formation of the sacred identities of stylites. Subsequently, attention turns to the examination of material remnants, focusing on the spatial arrangements of Qal’at Sim’an and souvenir tokens from the religious site. The goal is to unveil the interconnected relationship between space and stylite. By integrating both literary and material perspectives, this thesis aims to highlight the multifaceted spatial features of Byzantine stylites.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Between pragmatism and ideology: spolia and spoliation practices in Byzantine and Seljuk Ankara
    (Bilkent University, 2023-12) Ünal, Selman Oğuzcan
    This thesis delves into the multifaceted phenomenon of spolia - the reuse of architectural elements from earlier structures into new premises - within the context of Ankara, Turkey. This work examines the possible practical and symbolic connotations embedded in the object and how people of the past perceived space, specifically between the ninth and thirteenth centuries. Through an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on art history, archaeology, digital tools and a comparative methodology, this piece examines spolia integrated into the walls and gates of the Ankara Castle and two thirteenth-century Rum Seljuk mosques of Ankara, namely Aslanhane and Alaeddin. The careful selection of these cases stems from a research gap in existing research regarding the centralized focus of spolia use in Western civilizations. Therefore, this work also adopts a diachronic perspective, trying to understand the use of spolia for the civilizations of the so-called East. Considering all these, this work argues that reuse practices were complex and harmonized with both practical and symbolic attributes. This statement is called under scrutiny by utilizing literary and material sources.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Religious justification of Puritan slavery; how religion shaped the creation of slavery institution and lives of Blacks and Natives in seventeenth- early eighteenth century New England
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Beyret, Ece
    This study examines the role of religion in the participation of Puritan societies in Trans-Atlantic slavery, specifically focusing on the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The study will investigate the theological justifications used by religious leaders like John Winthrop to support slavery, and the role of religion in shaping the treatment of enslaved people in Puritan communities and then the treatment of the freed Natives and Blacks. The research will be based on the examination of colonial archives, court cases, and letters, as well as key historical texts such as John Winthrop's "A Modell of Christian Charity" and recent works on the period’ slavery like Wendy Warren's New England Bound. The study will also explore the relationship between religion, wealth, and slavery in Puritan societies, and how religious beliefs about wealth and salvation influenced the participation in the slave trade. Then continue on with how the lucrative business of slavery gave power and a sense of freedom to colonies and lead to a charter where the Crown took the authority back. The research will investigate the role of religion in enabling and shaping the practice of slavery in Puritan societies and provide a more in-depth understanding of the relationship between religion and slavery in colonial America by linking religious history with Trans-Atlantic slavery.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Lower Danube on the eve of the great crisis in the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the eighteenth century (analysis of a contemporary source)
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Gencer, Merve
    This thesis examines life on the border within the context of the Ottoman Empire, focusing on the specific case of Wallachia. The central focus is the report of a commission established to investigate complaints arising from the position of Wallachia against central administration and the corruption and abuses of power by military-origin groups seeking to benefit from it. Primarily relying on archival sources such as commission reports, mühimme defters, and court records, and secondary sources, this study aims to provide alternative perspectives to existing interpretations. The investigations conducted demonstrate that such incidents were not unique to the 18th century, a period when the empire was relatively weaker, but extended back to the era of Suleyman, a time characterized by a strong central authority. This finding challenges the notion that the emergence of estates in the 18th century laid the foundation for decentralization.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Ottoman political and social organizations and non-muslims in the pre-modern era
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Akıl, Zeynep
    The non-Muslim subjects of the Ottoman Empire, governed by Muslims, have been a subject of interest for researchers since the 19th century. In this study, the status of non-Muslims among the Ottoman subjects has been examined. The study examines the status of non-Muslims among the subjects, focusing on their status during the classical period and the changes in that status. The study aims to evaluate the claims made by European states in the 19th century regarding the Ottoman Empire's inability to govern its non-Muslim subjects and the alleged second-class status of non-Muslims. Islam, unlike Christianity and Judaism, which maintained an assertion of universal dominion, allowed non-Muslims to become subjects of the Islamic State through the concept of the zimma. The Ottoman Empire was able to integrate the non-Muslim populations in the regions it conquered into its subjects through the mechanism of the zimma contract, thereby granting non-Muslims the same fundamental rights that were accorded to Muslims. Through the zimma contract, non-Muslims who became subjects of the Ottoman Empire were brought together in the status of re’âya alongside Muslims as part of Sultan's subjects. The re’âya status served as a higher identity for both Muslims and non-Muslims. Ottoman Sultans regarded their non-Muslim re’âya subjects as entrusted to them by God, known as vedâyi-i hâlik-i kibriya. In the study, mühimme registers and qadi court registers have been utilized as primary sources. Additionally, due to the extensive nature of the existing literature on the subject, secondary sources have been meticulously examined. Based on the documents and insights from secondary sources, it is concluded that within the Ottoman administrative perspective, non-Muslims were not differed from Muslims, under the possibilities provided by Islamic law, and were regarded as vedâyi-i hâlik-i kibriyâ, similar to Muslims.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nordmenn inir vidförlu: motivations for long distance travel by Scandinavians c. 1000 – 1200
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Doğar, Dilan
    Embedded within Scandinavian history, the theme of extensive long-distance journey stands as a defining motif. Predominantly embodied by the Viking Age, spanning approximately two and a half centuries, this proclivity saw Scandinavians emerge as conquerors, raiders and traders across Europe and the British Isles – effecting considerable spatial traversals. As the Viking Age started to wane, the motif of long-distance journey persisted, yet transformed in character. Evolving from roles as marauders and settlers, a shift occured toward mercenary engagements under Russian princes, Varangian Guards service, and pilgrimages signifying a nuanced metamorphosis. This research focalises on three prominent elevent-century figures: Yngvarr víðförli, Haraldr Sigurðarson, and Eiríkr inn góði. Each emblematic of distinct categories of extensive peripatetic undertakings, their selection ensures a comprehensive portrayal of medieval Scandinavia, culled from the Icelandic sagas about Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Scrutinizing these sags, this thesis aims to excavate main motivations propelling these individuals on their remarkable journeys across substantial geographic expanses.
  • ItemOpen Access
    1960s Turkey from the perspective of the Peace Corps volunteers
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Ünal, Muhammed
    This thesis aims to examine the memoirs and interviews of the Peace Corps volunteers who served in Turkey to display their image of Turkey in the 1960s. Peace Corps was active in Turkey from 1962 to 1971. Peace Corps Turkey volunteers served in every region of the country in villages, towns, and cities. They lived and worked with Turkish people for two years. Thus, they had an intimate first-hand experience and interesting observations about various topics. This thesis will argue that the volunteers viewed Turkey with the outlook of modernization theory. They observed a country that needed development and modernization. They noticed the traditional gender roles and gender separation in Turkish society. Turkish women needed to overcome these difficulties to modernize. They also noted the underdevelopment of infrastructure and healthcare system as major hindrances. They commented that the Turkish government worked hard to modernize the country, but there was some resistance to its efforts by the Turkish people.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Missiles and bureaucrats: The Reagan administration and the making of two-pronged security diplomacy
    (Bilkent University, 2023-08) Cebeci, Berk
    The crucial turn in conducting foreign policy with the election of Ronald Reagan has been a determinant factor in the late Cold War period. This thesis centers on the role of the foreign policymaking process and its agencies from SALT II of 1979 to the Reykjavik Summit of 1986 and examines the American diplomatic affairs during the Reagan administration with the Soviets and the allies in the Atlantic world by emphasizing nuclear security and arms race as a nexus within these triangular affairs of US, Western Europe and the Soviet Union. The fundamental argument this thesis illustrates is that policymakers of the Reagan administration germinated and followed a twofold nuclear policy agenda, mainly derived from the incompetence of the predecessor administrations and the realities of foreign affairs with Western Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1980s within the context of potential nuclear catastrophe, and asserts how this security strategy shaped American diplomacy from the missile crisis of 1977, which augmented the perils of nuclear catastrophe, to the negotiations in late 1985 and 1986 that declined tensions and ultimately underpinned the desire for peace at the end of the decade.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Hybrid Osmanlees”: racialism, caucasian slave trade and the race of Ottoman Turks
    (Bilkent University, 2022-09) Önder, Ayşe Sıla
    This thesis analyzes the Western perception of the racial identity of Ottoman Turks in the nineteenth century and how Caucasian slave trade complexified the perception in question. It relies on a vast array of primary sources to demonstrate how the racialist perspective towards Ottoman Turks and Caucasian slave trade became widespread in the nineteenth century. Following the emergence of race science as a respected field, the West sought to find a definite answer to the puzzling issue of the racial identity of Ottoman Turks. Raciologists agreed that Ottoman Turks came to possess a Caucasianized physical appearance as a result of white slavery while at the same time condemning the institution of white slavery in the Ottoman Empire as proof of the cultural and racial backwardness of Ottoman Turks. The racially mixed identity of Ottoman Turks also held interest in the West and discussions around it revealed the anxieties about racial intermingling and miscegenation which arose after the rise of the abolitionist movement.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A white paradise, American wonderland: an occidental journey of Turkish travelers
    (Bilkent University, 2022-08) Kasap, Girhan
    The goal of this thesis is to examine the journeys of Turkish travelers to the United States in 1940s and 1970s within the framework of Turkish occidentalism.1 Earlier works about occidentalism and especially Turkish occidentalism will serve to illuminate the accounts of the travelers. The biographical sketches on these travelers and the interactions and relations between the United States and Turkey will be briefly introduced as well. The periodization is deliberate because it was during the advent of Turkish membership in NATO that contributed to perhaps the closest relations between the United States and Turkey, before the escalation of the Cyprus crisis. These Turkish travelers’ observations, analyses, notions, and arguments about American Society through materialism and consumerism, religion, and African-Americans, and American development through colleges/universities, skyscrapers and highways, and urban workers will be the focal points.
  • ItemOpen Access
    In search of “gentlemen” in the fifteenth century: “The Boke of St. Albans”
    (Bilkent University, 2022-07) Bayram, Turan
    This thesis explains the concept of “gentleman” and its place in the social and cultural world of fifteenth-century England. To this end it examines the Book of St. Albans, compiled by a mysterious individual towards the end of the century, which is concerned with the aristocratic pastimes and pursuits of the time. Familiarity with aristocratic codes and manners helped individuals create beneficial social connections and command respect, resulting in better social standing. Namely, an increasing interest in aristocratic culture was the result of a widespread presumption that manners and adequate knowledge of the gentle world would be enough to pass as a “gentleman”. In this context, the Book of St. Albans is regarded as an example of courtesy writings whose principal aim was to instruct people on the complex cultural world of the aristocracy to better their chances of success in the highly competitive real world. For modern historians, the importance of these works lies in the definitions that they provide regarding “gentility” and its place in the social world of late medieval England.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Fez in the Northeast Africa: an analysis of the Ottoman administration on the Island of Massawa in 1849-1865 period
    (Bilkent University, 2022-06) Çıbıklı, Osman Alp
    This thesis is about the policies pursued by the Ottoman administration in Massawa, a city in Ottoman Abyssinia during the 1849-1865 period. After the end of Massawa’s decentralized administrative structure with the efforts of Mehmed Ali Paşa of Egypt, Sublime Porte found the opportunity to implement policies that were not possible to execute before. Starting from the late 1840s, the district governorship in Massawa pursued a wide range of precautions against any risks of occurrences that could endanger the remains of the Ottoman presence in Northern Abyssinia. When the correspondences of the French and British consulates in Massawa are examined along with the Ottoman archival material related to this port city, it can be deduced that Sublime Porte had concerns about a possible military alliance between Europeans and Abyssinians or a military invasion directly from Occidental nations to colonize the city. Therefore, the Ottomans followed specific strategies, along with the help of the Na’ibs of Arkiko, that limited the actions of foreign elements to maintain the status quo on the East Coast of the Red Sea, which resembled a blockade from the perspective of the Europeans and Abyssinians.
  • ItemOpen Access
    American Zion?: The spiritual currents of the agricultural settlement at Jaffa, 1850-1858
    (Bilkent University, 2022-08) Alıcı, Fatih
    Placing the colony founded by Clorinda S.Minor, the American agricultural initiative in the Holy Land, at the center, this thesis meticulously traces answers to three questions: What prompted these Americans to settle in the Holy Land? How did an American millennialist group led by Minor, a former zealous member of the Millerite sect, challenge the realities of 19th-century Ottoman Palestine? Why did they have to leave the region in 1858? The second chapter discusses the 19th-century American religious milieu, in which "Millennialism" swept the United States. It strives to portray the historical baggage that settlers carried to the region with them. The third chapter focuses on the journey of the American group in the Holy Land. Gleaning information from the archival materials, the chapter tries to shed light on how the settlers interacted with the local population. The fourth chapter elucidates the event known as "Outrages at Jaffa", which paved the way for the destruction of the colony and which also created a small-scale international crisis between Ottoman, American, British and Prussian consulates.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heaven and to everything that creeps on the earth”: animals in Byzantium
    (Bilkent University, 2022-05) Mulla, Ayşenur
    This thesis examines the relationship between the Byzantines and animals (in particular small ones like worms and bees) in terms of practical, socio-economic, and religious terms mainly using the written sources (hagiographies, ancient scientific sources, miracle stories, or legal documents), archaeological, zooarchaeological, and architectural remains from different areas of the Byzantine Empire. The main idea of the thesis stems from socio-cultural and religious studies of the Byzantine society, which (with the exception of a few scholars like Sophia Germanidou, Henrietta Kroll, Nancy Sevcenko, and Tristan Schmidt, who have studied the Byzantine animals and their mentality about the world of bestiary), has mostly focused on the economics of animals and their rearing. In fact, and contrary to the mainstream historiography, this study tries to bridge a gap between the role of the animals, especially the smallest ones like worms, bees, insects, and silkworms, as they have tended to be forgotten when examining the socio-cultural and economic dynamics of Byzantine society at large. Bearing in mind the limits and the problems of sources, both primary and secondary, the main goal of this thesis is to scrutinize the Byzantine narrative about these animals, to recreate the Byzantine perception and utilization of the other living beings as well as to understand the multi-faceted benefits of the presence of animals in the daily life of the Byzantines.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sword vs. mountain: folk songs’ depiction of Ottoman settlement policies towards nomadic tribes in Çukurova
    (Bilkent University, 2021-09) Karakal, Hamdi
    The historiography of Ottoman state actions towards migrant tribes depends more on the official documents of the government. The case of Fırka-i Islâhiye (Reform Division) in 1865 was no exception. It has been researched heavily depending on official sources and Ahmed Cevdet Efendi’s accounts, which favors the Ottoman state. However, oral materials like songs created by nomads uncover an alternative approach as, in this case, Dadaloğlu and other folk songs of nomads had their narratives. This thesis will discover this alternative approach and compare this narration with official Ottoman documents in the case of Fırka-i Islâhiye expedition. The topics covered in this thesis are Ottoman centralization and settlement policies in the mid-19th century, the civilizing mission, Fırka-i Islâhiye activities, and nomads’ folk songs as a reaction to the Ottoman settlement policies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The United States’ nuclear non-proliferation failure in the 1970s: the cases of India and Pakistan
    (Bilkent University, 2021-08) Hussain, Umer
    During the 1970s, the US government started becoming increasingly wary of the dangers of nuclear proliferation. The absence of a well-functioning international regime of non-proliferation compounded the United States’ fears of a world in which multiple nations outside their sphere of influence could acquire nuclear weapons. In this thesis, I explore the cases of two South Asian nations, India and Pakistan. The Indian peaceful nuclear explosion of 1974 was the result of a relatively low priority given to non-proliferation by the US. It took the US and the world by surprise and India’s accession to the ranks of the nuclear powers led to a rethinking of US nuclear non-proliferation policy. India’s 1974 explosion also paved the way for the acceleration of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme. Pakistan’s nuclear policy was shaped out of a perceived existential threat and possibility of nuclear blackmail that it faced from India. After several failed attempts to secure security guarantees from the US, Pakistan disregarded the international non-proliferation regime to try to maintain parity with India. The US government’s decision not to commit itself fully to Pakistan’s security was what ended up undercutting its broader non-proliferation goals by making it seem an unreliable ally to Pakistan.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Changing status of the Carolingian rulers: reflections on titulature and legitimacy, from early periods to the death of Charlemagne
    (Bilkent University, 2021-07) Kanık, Ege Barış
    This thesis is about the changes in the status of the Carolingian rulers from the early times to the end of the reign of Charlemagne. The gradual changes from the office of mayor of palace to king then to emperor are considered with a focus on titular reflections. The data for the titles used are taken from several sources such as diplomatic documents, coins and seals, and the data are classified both chronologically and according to the type of a particular source. The titles extracted are considered in their historical context, supported by narrative sources and secondary literature, to explain the reasons behind the changes. Relations with other political actors such as the Papacy, Byzantium or Lombardy are taken into consideration especially within the context of legitimacy for the changes in the Carolingian rulership along with the titulature.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “Post tenebras lux” the Huguenot diaspora in Early Modern London and its reflections in refugee wills
    (Bilkent University, 2021-08) Saral Barbaros, Hazal
    Starting from the mid 16th century, Huguenots, namely French Protestants took refuge in countries that offered them toleration, due to persecution and suppression they were exposed to in France. Until the late 18th century, the Huguenot diaspora continued to flourish in many places, especially in Swiss Cantons, Holland, Germany, and England with consecutive migration waves. So far, most research has focused on exile, the features of the Huguenot refugee communities, and the contribution of the Huguenots to their host societies. However, the dynamics and process of assimilation have been generally neglected. This thesis aims to provide an insight into the Huguenot condition in London between the 17th century and early 19th century and present inference about the integration process of the refugees throughout the years and generations by analysing the data compiled from sample refugee wills.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Treachery of silence: usage of pro- and anti-slavery rhetoric as a political propaganda in 18th- and 19th-century revolutions
    (Bilkent University, 2021-08) Öztürk, Bengin Eser
    From the 18th century onwards, slavery held a consistent place in the Western intellectual heritage. American, Haitian and Greek Revolutionaries used the term slavery to describe their conditions under the colonial powers they were living in. According to their ideological and intellectual position, we can analyze how slavery was used in different ways. This research aims to explore how pro-slavery advocates used rhetoric linked to slavery to bolster their racial prejudices towards the Haitian revolutionaries and the Ottoman Empire. It underlines that due to their intellectual foundation, some Western intellectuals chose to retain hierarchies regarding Black individuals. On the other hand, some Western intellectuals chose to aid Greek revolutionaries due to their disenfranchised conditions under the Ottoman Empire.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A historical analysis of two American women’s travel to Ankara during the 1950s: mutual understanding, transition and culture in Ankara
    (Bilkent University, 2021-08) Çiftçi, Gizem Mahmuriye
    The purpose of this thesis is to examine the cultural transformations in Ankara, especially in social and educational life resulting from the increase in the mutual interest between Turkey and the United States, by mainly focusing on the two travel accounts left by two American women who visited Ankara in the 1950s. The accounts by Lucile Saunders McDonald and Elizabeth McNeill Leicester are primary instruments to track the historical touches in these areas. Both women introduced specific characteristics of Ankara with their impression of what they saw and how they perceived it. The transition of traditional society to modern one, the mutual understanding between the American and Turkish people in various areas, are paid attention to analyze these observations about Turkish culture. The changing role of women in the 1950s is also addressed as one of the significant subjects that enable the difference and change to be seen prominently in this thesis.