- Censorship in Late Ottoman Istanbul: The Ordinary, The Extraordinary, The Visual
- Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 5, Number 2, Fall 2018
- pp. 75-98
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- Additional Information
The Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II (r. 1876–1909), was well known for the imposition of various stringent forms of censorship. In that regard he joins a long procession of autocrats dating from ancient times to the present. But censorship ranges from the ordinary to the extraordinary as it is deployed and as it is represented in narrative and visual formats. When I began research for my study of cartoon satire during Abdülhamid II's reign (Image and Imperialism in the Ottoman Revolutionary Press), I was motivated by the disjuncture between a historiographic vision of an era of "freedom," apparently ushered in by the Ottoman Constitutional Revolution of 1908, and the more cynical picture of "reality" presented in Ottoman cartoons. This article continues that meditation on historiography, censorship, and the cartoon space. It asks how a paradigm focused on censorship might affect the historiographic linkage between empire and republic, suggests a typology of censorship, and employs a select group of late Ottoman cartoons to present the visualization of autocracy and the press law.