Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis


Best Senior Thesis in History

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Heather L. Ferguson

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2019 Lauren H Broidy


This thesis examines how Jews of the Ottoman Empire responded to newfound opportunities that emerged across the domains of the late Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century due to the Ottoman bureaucratic reforms (Tanzimat). It challenges the discourses that argue that Jews engaged probing issues such as nationalism in a monolithic fashion. Rather, Sephardi and Arab Jews, based on socioeconomic status and geographic location in the Empire approached questions of affiliation with the Empire or attachment to new forms of nationalism based on divergent structures that informed their lives and personal political choices. This project explores the main avenues that Jews in the Ottoman world used to approach questions that animated the public discourse not just of Jews, but of peoples across the globe who struggled to find new avenues for belonging in shifting geopolitical terrains. For Jewish communities in the Ottoman world, four dominant avenues and attitudes emerged: traditionalists who desired to maintain the status quo; those who sought an Ottoman or Turkish Republican future; Sephardi Zionists who believed they were integral to Ottoman communal history; provincial nationalists who agitated for distinct regional identities. The thesis also briefly examines the Armenian millet’s socio-political situation during the nineteenth and twentieth century in order to show the ways in which the Jewish millet was both in tandem with broader nationalist discourses but were also less cohesively politically organized than other millets in the Empire.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.