"Maksudyan’s book successfully rescues the most marginalized of children from the past and triumphantly reminds historians to pay attention to the human terms of modernization."—Journal of the History of Children and Youth
"With a solid structure, a clear methodology, and a well-described narration and imagination of the story from the angle and perspective of children, Maksudyan renders visible their existence and experiences in an affecting and impressive manner."—New Perspectives on Turkey
"As we move from the most intimate, infant foundling, to the larger international context of missionary orphanages, Maksudyan is able to write a rich and engaging history not only through disciplined passion, but also through meticulous research reproduced from one chapter to the next."—Jamila Bargach, author of Orphans of Islam: Family, Abandonment, and Secret Adoption in Morocco
"In a new path-breaking book, Maksudyan locates the most illegible of all subaltern groups in the Ottoman Empire, children, and inscribes them into the historical record."—Elyse Semerdjian, author of Off the Straight Path: Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Ottoman Aleppo
"Citical reading for anyone who seeks to better understand children as actors in the Ottoman Empire and how their lives were shaped by new forms of regulation and institutional control."—International Journal of Middle East Studies
History books often weave tales of rising and falling empires, royal dynasties, and wars among powerful nations. Here, Maksudyan succeeds in making those who are farthest removed from power the lead actors in this history. Focusing on orphans and destitute youth of the late Ottoman Empire, the author gives voice to those children who have long been neglected. Their experiences and perspectives shed new light on many significant developments of the late Ottoman period, providing an alternative narrative that recognizes children as historical agents.
Maksudyan takes the reader from the intimate world of infant foundlings to the larger international context of missionary orphanages, all while focusing on Ottoman modernization, urbanization, citizenship, and the maintenance of order and security. Drawing upon archival records, she explores the ways in which the treatment of orphans intersected with welfare, labor, and state building in the Empire. Throughout the book, Maksudyan does not lose sight of her lead actors, and the influence of the children is always present if we simply listen and notice carefully as Maksudyan so convincingly argues.
Nazan Maksudyan is assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Istanbul Kemerburgaz University. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Historical Sociology and the International Journal of Middle East Studies.
6 x 9, 264 pages, 14 black and white illustrations