My contribution explores the ways people recover and renew their Ottoman roots in contexts of temporary or permanent (re)settlement caused by war. As the origins of World War I extend to at least the Balkan Wars of 1912, and likely moves beyond the mid-1920s (again in the Balkans and Anatolia, which experienced related violence still), this study engages with newly forged histories of survival and transformation in disasporic settings that are fluid and rapidly changing.
The claim is that by observing formerly Ottoman communities over the lifespan of World War I, especially as they move constantly to find settlement because of violence, we may discover new questions (and thus have far less answers) about a globalizing, but not homogenizing, world order that once took the form of multi-ethnic empires.
As it was once widely assumed that heterogeneous societies like of Ottomans were destined to disappear due to irresistible economic and political forces—History—clashing identity claims would complete the work of destruction set in motion by cultural contact and colonialism.
But many diasporic groups with some lingering Ottoman references persisted, be it in Europe, the Middle East, or beyond. As refugees, settlers, migrants to all corners of the world, the presence of Ottomans complicates familiar narratives of modernization and progress as it pertains to those who survived World War I.