Empire and nation in the city : Christians, Muslims and Jews in Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Ruse, 1864-1885
MetadataShow full item record
My dissertation explores how people of various ethnic and religious backgrounds experienced the transition from Ottoman rule to Bulgarian nation state in the city of Ruse, in present-day northern Bulgaria. It examines the transformative effects of the Ottoman Tanzimat reforms (1864-1876), the Russo-Ottoman War of 1877-8, the Russian provisional government and the early years of a Bulgarian national government. It argues Bulgarian nationalism was not a uniform and deterministic ideology but was rather a complex and contested phenomenon that left room for multiple loyalties and self-definitions. Through various reform programs, the Ottoman Empire also put together its own alternative to Bulgarian nationalism—secular Ottomanism—, which was progressive and open to different perspectives and integrated Bulgarian Christians into the Ottoman political system. After Ottoman withdrawal, the transfer of power to Bulgarian Christians and the marginalization and disenfranchisement of Muslims was not drastic or immediate, but rather a gradual process. Residents of Ruse’s diverse urban environment responded to these political changes through a complex interplay of urban dynamics, political and religious loyalties, and self-interest, rather than inflexible nationalist or imperial ideology.