Taken from "Turkic Worlds" Community Representation and Collection Identity in the Russian and Ottoman Empires, 1870-1914," p. iv.


This dissertation examines the relationship between leadership politics and the public articulation of collective identity. It explores the ways in which discussions about identity related to power, authority, and politics at the community level. Focusing primarily upon the Muslim borderlands of late imperial Russia, this study engages a number of issues of interest to the historiography of both late imperial Russia and the Ottoman Empire, as well as the regional historiographies of Tatarstan, the Crimea, and Azerbaijan. Based upon archival, manuscript, and periodical sources in Russian, Ottoman Turkish, Tatar, and Azeri, research for this dissertation was conducted at archives and libraries in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan, Ufa, Baku, Simferopol, and Istanbul.   
In the first section of this study, I compare the ways in which institutions and individuals held the authority, official or otherwise, to mediate problems and communicate messages between the tsarist administration and Muslim communities in two different regions of late imperial Russia: the Middle Volga and the southern Caucasus. My study then analyzes how these systems were undermined by the Russian revolution of 1905 and the ascendance of mass politics. The events of 1905, I argue, helped set off revolutions within Muslim communities across the empire as community reformers dominating new locations of public discourse challenged existing leadership structures for official and popular recognition. In the final two chapters of this dissertation, I demonstrate how political struggles within Muslim communities were reflected in the proliferation of discourses pertaining to collective identity among the Turkic communities of the Russian and Ottoman empires. In this section I also analyze popular resistance to these discourses, the reactions to them of the Russian and Ottoman governments, and their impact upon the emergence of the Turkist movement in Istanbul.