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Competing Conceptions of Humanitarianism: Enemy Civilians and Ottoman-American Diplomacy in the Great War, 1914-1918

Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Yücel Yanikdag


This thesis examines the issue of enemy and neutral civilians in the Ottoman Empire during the Great War. It examines the correspondence between Ottoman Young Turk leaders and American diplomats regarding the rights of these civilians, contextualizing and analyzing these officials’ discourses and perspectives regarding international law and conceptions of humanitarianism. It argues that though American diplomats attempted to influence Ottoman policy through orientalist discourse and assertions of extraterritorial jurisdiction, Ottoman leaders rejected these attempts in order to assert their own definitions of humanitarianism and interpretations of international law, defending the legitimacy of Ottoman state jurisdiction against imperial encroachment.

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