Ahmet Cevdet Pasha and change: a three-tiered approach
Noyan, İsmail (2018) Ahmet Cevdet Pasha and change: a three-tiered approach. [Thesis]
In this thesis, I attempted to address three interconnected issues. First, I questioned the validity of using imagined dichotomies as analytical tools to understand the Late Ottoman Empire, with specific emphasis on one of the leading figures of the period, Ahmet Cevdet Pasha. Second, I examined Cevdet Pasha’s attitude toward change. Third, I engaged with controversies on the definition of conservatism and conservatives. Accordingly, I have done the empirical study on Cevdet Pasha within the context of the Ottoman Empire and the theoretical discussion on conservative attitude toward change simultaneously. That is, I suggested a more nuanced understanding of the Late Ottoman Empire and its figures rather than simplifying the complexities of the period by examining them with dichotomous frameworks of ‘reactionary/conservative,’ progressive; secular, religious; and Western-oriented, Eastern-oriented. Also, I proposed a three-tiered framework (nature of change, nature of challenge and nature of current constraints) to have a better understanding of the attitude of conservatives toward change, and to elucidate some seemingly contradictory attitudes of conservatives in the person of Ahmet Cevdet Pasha. I argued that ‘conservative’ Ahmet Cevdet’s attitude toward change can be better understood within a three-tiered framework according to which, Ahmet Cevdet does not repudiate change, but attempts to differentiate acceptable and unacceptable change; adjusts his stance and gives concessions by considering the intellectual and ideational environment; and further to that even accepts radical change and revolutions due to requirements of time and his concerns about the current natures of institutions, and how they come into existence.
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