Reorientating European Imperialism: How Ottomanism Went Global


This presentation explores the possibility that a distinctive Ottoman response to European imperialism and its colonial ethos vis-à-vis “the Orient,” usefully framed as Ottomanism, contributed regularly to the way peoples interacted in the larger context of a contentious exchange between rival imperialist projects. Crucially, some articulations of Ottomanism were not reactive but pro-active. In turn, some of the Orientalism that has become synonymous with studies about the relationship between Europe and the peoples “East of the Urals” may have been a response to these Ottomanist gestures. Some of the global locales in which this exchange takes place—East Africa and South America—may prove the key transnational context to begin to reorientate entirely what we understand European imperialism to have constituted before World War I.