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Learned PatriotsDebating Science, State, and Society in the Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Empire$
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M. Alper Yalçinkaya

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226184203

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226184340.001.0001

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Expansion and Challenge

Expansion and Challenge

Young Ottomans, New Alternatives

Chapter:
(p.98) Four Expansion and Challenge
Source:
Learned Patriots
Author(s):

M. Alper Yalçinkaya

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226184340.003.0004

This chapter analyzes the birth of the reaction to the new elites, and its implications for the debate on science. The political discourse of the Young Ottomans, the ardent critics of the new regime, also entailed an alternative discourse on science. While expressing the frustrations of the Muslim community in general, they also inserted direct references to Islam in their arguments on science. Emphasizing the scientific contributions of early Muslim scholars and the prestige of traditional Islamic disciplines, the Young Ottomans made science an issue that could hardly be discussed without an overt reference to tradition and community. Moreover, they invented the most popular stereotype used in Ottoman literature to criticize “overly” Westernized elites: the fop. Depicted as a person who incessantly praised European countries, and the merits of European science without a sound knowledge of either, the fop would become the figure that any advocate of European science would be evaluated against. Ultimately what the Young Ottoman reaction made clear was that the Ottoman debate was not about science, but the qualities of the “man of science.”

Keywords:   Ottoman Empire, science, Young Ottomans, Islam, morality, Ottomanism

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