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A History of the 'AlawisFrom Medieval Aleppo to the Turkish Republic$
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Stefan Winter

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691167787

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691167787.001.0001

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Imperial Reform and Internal Colonization

Imperial Reform and Internal Colonization

‘Alawi Society in the Face of Modernity (1808–1888)

(p.161) 5 Imperial Reform and Internal Colonization
A History of the 'Alawis

Stefan Winter

Princeton University Press

This chapter highlights major trends in Ottoman and Syrian history affecting the ʻAlawi community in the nineteenth century. It begins by showing that the ʻAlawi notability increasingly came into conflict with semiautonomous local officials during the breakdown of Ottoman imperial authority at the start of the century, causing the community as a whole to be cast as heretics and outcasts from Ottoman society for the first time. Faced with increasing discrimination and abuse by provincial officials, ʻAlawi feudal leaders nonetheless continued to support the diffuse authority of the Ottoman Empire over the intrusive statism of the Egyptian regime between 1832 and 1840. The ʻAlawi community was then increasingly subjected to repressive social engineering measures under the Tanzimat and the reign of Abdülhamid II, including military conscription and conversion. At the same time, however, while resisting efforts at assimilation, the ʻAlawis also began to avail themselves of the benefits of modern public schooling and proportional representation on newly instituted municipal councils, thereby finding their voice as a political community for perhaps the first time.

Keywords:   ʻAlawis, nineteenth century, ʻAlawi nobility, Ottoman Empire, social engineering, Tanzimat, Abdülhamid II

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