In the Ottoman Empire, as in many countries around the world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, education was critical to the state's efforts to redefine its relationship with its subjects. This book presents a many-sided view of education under the Ottoman Empire in this period. Drawing on a wide array of primary material, ranging from archival reports to textbooks and classroom maps, Benjamin C. Fortna provides a detailed scholarly analysis of
the Ottoman educational endeavour, revealing its fascinating mix of Western and indigenous influences. Focusing on such key areas as curricular change, daily life, geography, and Islamic morality, Fortna presents new evidence about schooling in the late Ottoman Empire and offers a new interpretation
of its place in the history of the modern Middle East.
... its comparative and theoretical focus will certainly help to make the region more accessible to students and scholars interested in the history of education and modernity, while widening the horizons of area specialists. Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies This is an important book which reconciles the various tensions between 'traditional' and 'modern', and 'Islamic' and 'secular' from within ... Fortna's eloquent style is enriched by the multiple narratives of pupils, teachers, officials and statesmen whose individual voices intersected the educational landscape of the Empire. Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies Imperial Classroom shows theoretical and conceptual sophistication, a clear methodological framework and relies on extensive research in the Ottoman archives. Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies ... a multi-layered, perceptive and carefully crafted study. Bulletin of the School of Oriental & African Studies ... meticulous and well-documented ... the author exhibits a talent for combining clear argumentation with an elegant writing style. This book, with its multiplicity of methodological agendas, should be of interest to a large cross-section of scholarship, including historians of the late Ottoman empire and those interested in the relationship between the state and education in an historical setting. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Imperial Classroom deserves our attention on several counts, the most important being its innovatory approach, systematic presentation and the large variety of sources consulted to good effect ... well-documented and very readable ... this scholarly book should be read not only by those studying late Ottoman education, but by all those interested in the period of Abdulhamid II. Middle Eastern Studies
1: Education and Agency
2: Hope against Fear
3: Fighting Back
4: Buildings and Discipline