The Failure of Constitutional Revolution


Nader Sohrabi, “Global Waves, Local Actors: What the Young Turks Knew about Other Revolutions and Why it Matters,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 44:1 (January 2002): 45-79.

Keith David Watenpaugh, “Being Modern in a Time of Revolution” and “Ottoman Precedents I,” Being Modern in the Middle East: Revolution, Nationalism, Colonialism and the Arab Middle Class (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).

Corresponding Reading:

Murray-Miller, Revolutionary Europe, Chapter 9, “The Revival and Failure of Revolutionary Constitutionalim.”

Seminar Topics

The early twentieth century witnessed the outbreak of protests and revolution in both Russia and the Ottoman Empire. These revolutions began with constitutional demands, but soon found such programs difficult to enact. The lecture and seminar will assess to what degree the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Young Turk Revolution begun in 1908 were part of Europe’s revolutionary tradition and what problems these states encountered in seeing through a radical transformation of their respective societies at the dawn of the twentieth century. 

Furthering Reading:

Umit Kurt and Doğan Gürpinar, “The Balkan Wars and the Rise of the Reactionary Modernist Utopia in Young Turk Thought,” Nations and Nationalism, 21:2 (2015): 348-368.

Murat Yaşar, “Learning the Ropes: The Young Turk Perception of the 1905 Russian Revolution,” Middle Eastern Studies, 50:1 (2014): 114-128.

Hasan Kayali, Arabs and Young Turks: Ottomanism, Arabism and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1918. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Feroz Ahmad, The Young Turks and the Ottoman Nationalities: Armenians, Greeks, Albanians, Jews and Arabs, 1908-1918. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2014.

Feroz Ahmad, The Young Turks: The Committee of Union and Progress in Turkish Politics, 1908-1914. London: Hurst, 2009.

Erick J. Zürcher, The Young Turk Legacy and Nation Building: from the Ottoman Empire to Atatürk’s Turkey. London: I. B. Tarius, 2010.

Bedross Der Matossian, Shattered Dreams of Revolution: From Liberty to Violence in the Late Ottoman Empire. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014.

M. Sukru Hanioglu, Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902-1908. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Nader Sohrabi, “Historicizing Revolutions: Constitutional Revolutions in the Ottoman Empire, Iran and Russia, 1905-1908,” American Journal of Sociology, 100 (1995): 1383-1447.

Taner Akçam, The Young Turks’ Crime Against Humanity: The Armenian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013.

Ann Erickson Healy, The Russian Autocracy in Crisis, 1905-1907. Hamden: Archon, 1976.

Dmitry Shlapentokh, The French Revolution in Russian Intellectual Life, 1865-1905. Westport: Praeger, 1996.

Abraham Ascher, The Revolution of 1905. 2 volumes. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988-1992.