Dr. Kadir Yildirim

Curriculum Vitae
  • Since 2020
    Research Fellow at the Centre for Mediterranean Studies Faculty of History, Ruhr-University Bochum
  • Since November 2019
    Lecturer at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute for Turkish Studies
  • 2019 to 2020
    Research Fellow at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute for Turkish Studies
  • 2012 to 2017
    Assistant Professor at the Istanbul University, Department of Economic History, Turkey
  • 2009 to 2012
    Research Assistant at the Istanbul University, Department of Economic History, Turkey
Research Project
International Cooperation Against Anarchism: A Historical Network Analysis (1898-1913)

By 1890s, anarchism and the anarchist movement began to be treated as equivalent to terrorism by the public authorities and the press in many countries. The increasing number of attacks allegedly made by anarchists in various countries led to an international cooperation such as Rome (1898) and St. Petersburg (1904) in order to jointly fight against anarchists. In the meetings participant countries decided to share information about anarchists and to make deportation easy for anarchists. The shared forms included detailed data and photos of the people who were accused of being an anarchist.
Historical development of the anarchist movement in terms of theory and practice has been investigated in several studies. What is not yet clear is the role of Ottoman Empire (the only Muslim participant of the international cooperation against anarchism) on ‘tackling’ with the European anarchist movement. Ottoman archival forms that were shared by Germany, Spain, Russia or other countries and were related to the workers who were blacklisted as being anarchists, show that only 20% of the forms have a hard evidence that the person was an anarchist. On the contrary, no hard evidence for the deport justification have been submitted in approximately 80% of the forms. In many cases, the use of anarchism went a step further in order to victimise ordinary workers and to purge political opposition in many countries. By reason of the fact that the international cooperation against anarchism was based on mutual information sharing, there are similar forms and photographs also in European archives. These forms and documents will also be used in the study.
This research will follow the historical network analysis method that will help to visualise the connection between countries in terms of sharing of anarchists’ information. The historical network visualization may give an opportunity to have a conceptualizing relationship and the transmission of this information and overall give us understanding the cooperation in more concrete and clear way. Network transitivity and centrality, two main elements of network analysis, is going to be used to understand the historical cooperation against anarchism with a broad and dynamic structure. In the light of historical network analysis, Ottoman documents and similar forms from various European archives may enable us to assess the functioning of the international cooperation and visualize the information sharing against anarchists.

Working and Living Conditions of the Public Servants in the Late Ottoman Empire (1838-1922)

Work on Ottoman labor history within the wider historiography of the Ottoman Empire has evolved since it first appeared nearly a century ago. After initially focusing on the living and working conditions of unionized industrial workers and their organizational strategies and struggles, it has developed rapidly from the 1980s in parallel with international developments in labor historiography, such as studying ‘history from below’ and more recently, focusing on ‘global labor history’. The Ottoman labor historiography has now expanded its boundaries to include novel research areas such as: agricultural workers, peasants, female workers and gender issues, domestic producers, rural workers, organized labor in guilds, informal labor relations, different forms of compensation, and immigration. By addressing the working and living conditions and resistance strategies of Ottoman public servants (lower-level state employees such as teachers, clerks, soldiers, civil servants, police officers, embassy employees et al.) in the late empire, this paper aims to make new contributions to this growing literature.
The study firstly discusses the reasons for why public servants have attracted less attention than blue-collar workers, despite the expanding scope of labor historiography. One finding is that previous research did not see the state itself as a field of struggle. The tendency in labor historiography has been to ignore the agency of public servants and officers, perceiving them to be not workers as such, but as employees belonging to the world of the petite bourgeoisie, representatives of the state as a unitary entity within a regimented hierarchical structure. This view has been compounded by historical factors that constrained the ability of public servants to act and organize collectively compared to workers in the private sector. Historically, Ottoman statesmen also often advocated the view that public servants were responsible to the people and owed unlimited loyalty to the state as its representatives. Therefore, their resistance strategies met with severe and uncompromising reactions. Nevertheless, the Ottoman context reveals that public servants did not remain silent or unstintingly loyal but developed alternative organizational methods and resistance strategies when their working and living conditions deteriorated.
This study discusses three main developments that worsened the living and working conditions of Ottoman public servants in the 19th century and caused them to resist: centralization and the transformation of the bureaucratic organization; low salaries or late payment of salaries due to financial crises; and the decline in the purchasing power of public servants due to the increasing cost of living. The resistance strategies of public servants in response to these political and economic negativities are discussed at both the individual and collective levels. Individually, strategies by public servants to defend their rights included writing petitions, high levels of absenteeism, demanding bribes and gifts from the public, taking on second jobs, disobedience to superiors, and resignation. Collectively, public servants frequently expressed their grievances through strikes, writing collective petitions, and organizing under the auspices of mutual aid societies. By focusing on resistance strategies from almost every region of the Empire, this paper aims to reveal the agency of Ottoman public servants.

Carceral Labour and Resistance Strategies of the Ottoman Prisoners in the Late Ottoman Empire

The power relations in the Ottoman Empire were gradually governmentalised and centralised through modernist reforms in the long nineteenth century. As part of this process, the practice of intramural and extramural carceral labour became an important part of the Ottoman penal system in the late empire. Although the state emphasised the rehabilitative effect of prison labour in legal regulations, many specific cases and the extramural expansion of the practice reveal that providing cheap labour was the main driving force in the Ottoman case. However, the adverse reaction of prisoners to carceral labour was just as important as the regulations, disciplinary practices, and the administrative and financial limits of the state in determining the success of the practice.
By focusing on the resistance strategies of the prisoners, including desertion, writing petitions, collective walkouts, slowdowns, strikes, and pilferage, this paper aims to amplify their voices. This prisoner-centred view enables us to take a Foucauldian perspective in the context of power relations and resistance to such practices and to illustrate how prisoners weakened the governmentality and domination of the state through many forms of resistance.


Dr. Kadir Yildirim

Ruhr-University Bochum
Am Bergbaumuseum 31
D-44791 Bochum