Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christians

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Kendra Olds HY 348 February 15, 2004 Aware that he would not single-handedly change the field of Ottoman studies with this thesis, Roderic Davison does, however, succeed in influencing the trends of research and scholarship in the field. His article, “Turkish Attitudes Concerning Christian-Muslim Equality in the Nineteenth Century,” attempts to add new research to help resolve several main controversies. Disputing previous beliefs of the field, he gives evidence to try to answer the “three questions” he extends towards his audience. Primarily Davison seeks to discover what made the Ottoman Tanzimat period of reform fail. This study necessitates an examination of the attitudes of the Turkish reformers, the…show more content…
As we can see that the millets had much to do with ruining their chances for equality within the empire, for example, we could help other societies today achieve equality successfully. Davison appeals to his readers’ sense of reason to overcome their previous prejudices. By using statements from the statesmen and representatives of communities, the audience is able to see undeniable evidence that supports his view of the attitudes of the people. Perhaps the major assumption that is missing from the argument is the power of the connection between attitudes and historical events. Confidently, Davison counts on the integrity of scholars to care about a correct interpretation of history. Assuming that he shares values with his audience, he relies on them to want to accurately represent the attitudes of historical figures, even if it reflects negatively on their fellow countrymen, or changes an entire field of current understanding. Shaping his arguments to best serve his purpose, Davison patterns this piece by stating traditional arguments of Ottoman scholars, and then gives evidence to refute them. Although he cedes that many of the reform movements did serve the interests of the statesmen, he then turns it around and states that “because this was a self-interested version of the doctrine of equality, it was no less honestly meant by its proponents.” Shrewdly utilizing both European and Ottoman
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