I work at the intersection of intellectual history, political theory, and the history of international relations. What interests me most are struggles for individual and collective emancipation, and the ways that these struggles can alter both the material world and our broadly shared ideas about what is right and just. As a historian, I work within the vast archive of political writings published by Ottoman, British, and French authors throughout the second half of the 19th century, also drawing on diplomatic correspondence, treaties, and legal codes. I use these sources to trace the new configurations of sovereignty and legitimacy that accompanied the rise of a new global economic and political order, and to study how Ottoman political actors deployed these new configurations in pursuit of political emancipation. As a theorist, I aim to bring my research to bear on contemporary questions of political agency, democratic theory, and international justice.
My current book project, The Assembly Hall of the World: Ottomanism and the Birth of Global Politics, explores the global landscape that gave rise to Ottomanism, the breadth of ideas and agendas it encompassed, and the legacies left in its wake. The book focuses on an array of figures who shaped Ottomanism during its formative decades in the 1860s and 1870s, ranging from well-known leaders of the Young Ottoman movement to lesser-known non-Muslim participants whose contributions have previously been overlooked. By underscoring the Young Ottomans’ ties to international dissident movements, it establishes Ottomanism as a crucial link between the democratic nationalist movements that reshaped Europe in the post-Napoleonic era and the Islamic internationalism that would emerge a century later. In addition to situating Ottomanism within the histories of both European liberalism and modern Islamic thought, the book develops a new set of theses about how transnational networks alter contestations over sovereignty in the modern era.
Academia.edu profile: https://uni-goettingen.academia.edu/MadeleineElfenbein
Lichtenberg-Kolleg profile: http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/574455.html