Image and Imperialism in the Ottoman Revolutionary Press, 1908-1911

By Palmira Brummett

Subjects: Middle East Studies
Series: SUNY series in the Social and Economic History of the Middle East
Paperback : 9780791444641, 490 pages, March 2000
Hardcover : 9780791444634, 490 pages, March 2000

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations



On Translating Cartoons

A Note on Transliteration


a. Historical Background

b. Method

Publishing, Format, Images, and Readers

The Voice and Image of the Public, and Its Targets

Revolutionary Exemplars: France and Iran

The Comic Sovereign: The Satirical Critique of Authority

The Comic Aggressor: The Critique of European Political and Economic Hegemony

The Comic Culture: The Critique of Society, Culture, and European Influence

Fashion Satire and the Honor of the Nation

Dogs, Crime, Women, Cholera, and Other Menaces in the Streets

Technology, Transport, and the "Modern" Street

Conclusion: Revolutionary Options, Satiric Imagery, and the Historiographic Frame


Appendix 1. List of Gazettes

Appendix 2. Price and Post

Appendix 3. Location of Publishers




An illustrated work focusing on the ways in which satirical publications revealed evolution in Ottoman society.


Palmira Brummett provides a new vision, through the prism of 100 cartoons, of the confrontation between tradition and modernity, "Orient" and "Occident," and rhetoric and reality. Taking a unique period in modern Middle Eastern history, the Ottoman Constitutional Revolution of 1908, Brummett examines the Istanbul satirical press and artfully weaves the narrative and images of political, economic, and cultural transformation to create a new vision of the Middle East at the end of the empire.

This pioneering work of cultural history is drawn against the backgrounds of Ottoman-European relations and press history. It shows how Ottoman cartoonists merged the literary and artistic cultures of East and West through comparisons to the press production and art of Europe, India, Latin America, and the Middle East. In doing so, it intersects with the broader set of studies in European history, the implications of modernity, and the rhetorical uses of images.

Palmira Brummett is Associate Professor of History, University of Tennessee. She is the author of Ottoman Seapower and Levantine Diplomacy in the Age of Discovery, also published by SUNY Press.


"…a very interesting, stimulating, and thought-provoking study. " — Digest of Middle East Studies

"This is a truly innovative book. Its importance lies in several dimensions. It does not merely interpret political cartoons—it has much to say about the material condition in which the presses functioned in that period. It provides a history of the Istanbul press and demonstrates that late Ottoman intellectuals had a wide range of thoughts and emotions concerning the Ottoman state and its place in the context of other European powers. It breaks new ground. In connecting the Ottoman situation to that of other formally colonized places, Brummett provides an expanded context for treating the specific circumstances of the place and time. The author's command of the subtleties for the Turkish language and the cultural symbolisms of women is also most impressive. " — Gregory C. Kozlowski, author of The Concise History of Islam and the Origin of Empires