Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Eli Rubin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Marion Gray, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Alisa Perkins, Ph.D.


German, Ottoman


Edward Said’s influential treatise on culture and imperialism, Orientalism, specifically called out German scholars of the Islamic “Orient” as being different. The lack of a formal German empire in Muslim lands seemed to preclude a culture of Orientalism. This dissertation examines the lived experience of Germans who traveled and worked in the Ottoman Empire from 1850-1918. As German interests sought their “place in the sun” during the decades before 1914, the Ottoman Empire became a major field of business investment, military-to-military contact, and missionary endeavor for Germans acting at the behest of both state and private interests. Their experiences formed an “applied Orientalism” that much more closely adheres to Said’s model than the more detached German academic discourse on Islamic lands. Using both published and archival primary sources, this project attempts to utilize these “applied Orientalists” to reframe both the scholarly idea of German Orientalist discourse, as well as the history of German imperialism in the Ottoman Empire before the First World War. The activities of Germans in the Ottoman Empire recreated many of the social situations of dominance and superiority that would be present in a formal colonial empire without the necessity of political control over the Ottoman state.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access