Great War Series explores Ottoman Empire

For Immediate Release:  March 5, 2015

BLOOMSBURG — M. Safa Saraçoğlu, associate professor of history at Bloomsburg University, will discuss the role of the Ottoman Empire during World War I as part of BU’s Institute for Culture and Society, Great War Series. He will present the lecture, “The Ottoman Empire in the Great War,” following a screening of the BBC documentary, “Middle East — The Birth of Nations: Albert Kahn's Archive of the Planet” on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall, room 239.

The Ottoman Empire, often noted for its rapid expansion and lasting control over the Mediterranean World, was a dynamic and cosmopolitan empire. Beginning around 1300, the empire spread from Asia and eventually covered most of the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe, including modern Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia.

When World War I began hundreds of years later, this power became involved when the Allied Powers declared war on the Ottoman Empire. The empire joined the Central Powers to form the Triple Alliance with the signing of the Turco-German Alliance in August 1914, Saraçoğlu explained.

The documentary, “Middle East — The Birth of Nations: Albert Kahn's Archive of the Planet,” highlights the conflicts faced by the Ottoman Empire as a result of joining the Great War. The film is part of the series, “The Wonderful Life of Albert Kahn,” and follows the archivist and photographer and his team as they explore historic changes throughout the colonial Middle East.

Saraçoğlu is a historian of 19th century Ottoman Empire, including the Middle East and the Balkans. His publications focus on provincial administrative and judiciary practices in Ottoman Balkans, in particular Bulgaria. Saraçoğlu was a fellow at Nantes Institute for Advanced Studies during the 2012-2013 academic year. His work centered on legal transformation and economic liberalism in the Ottoman Empire. At BU, he teaches courses on the history of Islam, the Middle East and the Ottoman Empire.

This lecture is free and open to the public.

ICS Great War Centennial Series

  • Nancy Gentile Ford, professor of history, “Americans All! Immigrant Soldiers in the U.S. Army in the Great War,” Thursday, March 26, 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall 239
  • Yahya Laayouni, assistant professor of languages and cultures, film and discussion, “France in the Great War,” Thursday, April 9, 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall 239
  • Tina Entzminger, professor of English, and students, poster presentations and discussion, “Hemingway and the Great War,” Thursday, April 16, 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall 239
  • Nogin Chung, associate professor of art and art history, and students, student colloquium “The Great War and Modernism in the Visual Arts,” Friday, April 24, 11 a.m. in Centennial Hall 239

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 10,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.