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Lecture 2

POLI 340 Lecture 2: Historical Context – Islamic, Ottoman, and Colonial Legacies
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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POLI 340
Professor
Rex Brynen

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Lecture Notes - Historical Context – Islamic, Ottoman, and Colonial Legacies Birth of Islam - Muhammad born in 580 ce in Mecca; Muslims believe that he was commanded by the angel Gabriel to recite the word of God; later collected into the Koran o Seen as the final and most accurate prophet of Jewish/Christian monotheistic tradition o First believers his family and clan; move to Medina o Political and military warfare; Muslim control throughout the Arabian Peninsula - Islam = monotheistic theology o Emphasis on social reform -> justice, community, spiritual equality of believers, social reasonability  Ended infanticide and improved status of women during its early growth o Religious practice based on the ‘five pillars of Islam) - Rise of Islam is both a religious and political event o 632: prophet dies with no obvious political successor; father in law is chosen as successor but some supported Ali, cousin and son-in-law o Caliphates expand throughout Middle East, North Africa – changes politics and remakes society of Middle East o Arabization of non-Arabs -> non-Semitic populations acquiring Arab as a language  Success due to being the language of the Koran (translations as a distortion of the word of God); results in minimal evolution of Arab as a written language o Islamicization of non-Muslims  Christians/Jews (monotheistic ‘people of the book’) regarded as second-class citizens but still recognized; conversions to Islam due to tax benefits  Institutionalized religious pluralism; high level of conversion to Islam - Problem of political authority -> no clear rules for succession or form of Islamic government o Struggle over leadership and organization of the umma o Leadership struggle leads to Sunni-Shiite split  Twelver Shia = Iran  However Sunni-Shiite =/= implacable hostility throughout the ages -> identities are not always politically mobilized  Ex: Kurds can be Sunni or Shia - Islamic Age o Consolidation of Islamic Law -> based on Quran, Hadith and Sunna, consensus of community and religious scholars o Golden Age of Islam: commerce successes, bureaucracy/public administration, scientific advances, etc. o Decline of the Caliphate  Internal challenges  Highly centrifugal tensions due to distances  Growing power of minorities and the periphery  External threats from the Crusades and Mongols (most serious damage by sacking Baghdad) Rise of Ottoman Empire - Rose from Turkish tribes in Anatolia o 1453: capture of Constantinople and remnants of Byzantine Empire; center of empire in modern-day Turkey o 1566: zenith under Sulayman of the Empire - Basis of empire: elite slave-soldiers (janissaries); feudal/military tax grants; Sunni Islam; sophisticated system of governance with ministers and provincial governors o Millet system -> way to deal with large multiethnic empire  Limited self-government for recognized religious minorities -> identity in the empire based on religious identity  Communities administer their own affairs, collect/pay taxes, and have their own hierarchy within community; backed by power of Ottoman state - Shifting balance of power towards Europe o Faster European population growth o European in
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