Gabor Agoston: Wars and the Fate of Empires
February 20th, 12:00 Noon, Lane History Corner, Room 307 (450 Serra Mall)
Eurasian Empires Lecture
Gabor Agoston (Georgetown University), “Wars and the Fate of Empires: The Ottomans in Comparative Perspective, 1500-1800”
My interest in comparative military-fiscal developments stems from my dissatisfaction with revisionist Ottoman historiography, which has successfully debunked the notion of “Ottoman decline,” yet has been unable to explain the eclipse of Ottoman military capabilities by Istanbul’s two major rivals, Hapsburg Austria and Romanov Russia. The first section of this talk examines how Ottoman military superiority in the sixteenth served as stimuli in a vast and culturally diverse region from the Hapsburg Monarchy to Muscovy. The second part of the talk provides an overview of the divergent military-fiscal paths that the Ottomans and their rivals took in response to foreign and domestic challenges. The focus will be on Ottoman military devolution and fiscal decentralization as juxtaposed with the emergence of Hapsburg and Romanov “military-fiscal” states.
Gábor Ágoston is Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University. He received his M.A. from the University of Budapest and his Ph.D. from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. His research focuses on Ottoman military, economic and social history from the fifteenth through the late eighteenth centuries, early modern Hungarian history, and the comparative study of the Ottoman and Habsburg empires. His latest book, Guns of the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2005) challenges the sweeping generalizations of Eurocentric and Orientalist scholarship regarding Ottoman and Islamic societies.
[Co-sponsored by SHC Workshop on Eurasian Empires, Department of History, Mediterranean Studies Forum]