Post-World War I Navigation of Imperialism, Identity, and Nationalism in the 1919-1920 Memoir Entries of Ottoman Army Officer Taha Al-Hāshimī
AuthorTomlinson, Jay Sean
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractTaha al-Hāshimī’s memoirs, more akin to a diary or journal, written at the time of observation, contain fascinating entries from the dynamic years 1919-20, including observations of his present and imaginings of the future, during his travels through occupied Ottoman lands in the aftermath of World War I. As a Baghdad-born, Istanbul-educated, Ottoman army officer who remained in Ottoman service through the war, al-Hāshimī offers unique perspectives which bridge many traditionally-understood divisions in historical scholarship. This work consists of a discourse and historical analysis of many of al-Hāshimī’s entries during this consequential time and place, focused on three general arguments. First, these entries reveal much about the historical trauma of the foreign conquest of Ottoman lands, as understood and experienced by a committed defender of the Empire. This sentiment is evident in al-Hāshimī’s pervasive fears of European colonial policies and in his comparisons of Syria to Algeria and Tunisia, and Iraq to unnamed British colonies in Africa. Second, these entries illustrate seemingly-conflicting and coinciding expressions of both Ottoman and Arab identification. Through both his actions and his entries, al-Hāshimī demonstrates continuity of his Ottoman identity as well as expressions of Arab identity, without predicating it on erasure or de-legitimization of his Ottoman identity. Third, al-Hāshimī’s observations of the political environment in Damascus demonstrates a multitude of nationalist activist organizations, both elite and popular, undermining Faysal’s government’s universalizing claims and dominant position in scholarship. This work supports many recent works arguing for a re-examination of this traditionally marginalized, liminal time. Rather than only a period of disruption, transition, and change, this work argues there are strong episodes of continuity amid uncertain imagined futures.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Middle Eastern & North African Studies