Commenced in January 2007
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An Analysis of Methodological Approaches of Ahmed Cevdet and Fatma Aliye towards the Ottoman Historiography in a Comparative Context

Authors: Aysen Muderrisoglu Esiner

Abstract:

As an intellectual, scholar, bureaucrat, and statesman, Ahmed Cevdet Pasha (1822-1895) was the prominent figure of “Tanzimat” (reorganization) reforms of the Ottoman State while his daughter Fatma Aliye (1862-1936) was a novelist, columnist, essayist, and women’s rights activist. His father had numerous books on law, grammar, linguistics, logic, and astronomy, moreover, Aliye accepted as the first female novelist in the Turkish literature and the Islamic world. Even if she was better known as a novelist, she also published some works on philosophy, Islam, poetry. In addition, Aliye who was one of the pioneers of the Ottoman women’s movement, also wrote historical works. Her historical works which titled as Tarih-i Osmaninin Bir Devre-i Mühimmesi Kosova Zaferi-Ankara Hezimeti (An Important Era of the Ottoman History: Kosova Victory-Ankara Defeat), and Ahmed Cevdet Paşa ve Zamanı (Ahmed Cevdet Pasha and His Time) have been generally ignored in the literature. However, Aliye’s works in history field are worth being studied in terms of her methodological approach to the Ottoman historiography. On the other hand, written by Ahmed Cevdet Pasha, such as Tarih-i Cevdet (History of Cevdet), Tezâkir (Memoir), Mâruzat (Reports, the events that took place between 1839-1876, 1890), Kısas-ı Enbiya ve Tevârîh-i Hulefa (Retaliation of the Prophets and the History of Calips), Kırım ve Kafkas Tarihçesi (Crimean and Caucasian History) are the most important works in terms of historiography in the 19th century. In contrast to the traditional methodology, Cevdet Pasha brought a new understanding to the Ottoman historiography by making a synthesis between the traditional and modern methods. In this research, the historical works of these two prominent figures of the Ottoman State will be analyzed in terms of their approaches to the Ottoman historiography while evaluating the following questions: to what extent that their use of local and foreign historical sources and their handling of the historical events differ, or if it is possible to talk about a methodological similarities in terms of historiography.

Keywords: Ahmed Cevdet Pasha, Fatma Aliye, historiography, methodology

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