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Miners and the State in the Ottoman Empire: The Zonguldak Coalfield, 1822-1920
Volume 7

International Studies in Social History

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Miners and the State in the Ottoman Empire

The Zonguldak Coalfield, 1822-1920

Donald Quataert

288 pages, 28 photos, 8 illus., 2 maps, 38 tables

ISBN  978-1-84545-133-2 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (February 2006)

ISBN  978-1-84545-134-9 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (February 2006)

eISBN 978-1-78238-722-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


This is an extraordinarily rich and valuable book that provides a comprehensive history of coal-mining in the Ottoman Empire, examines the involvement of foreign capital in this vital industry, analyzes the role of the state as the main owner and operator of the mines, and, most importantly and centrally, describes the status of workers and working conditions in the mines in the nineteenth century. Each one of these topics could easily be the subject of full-fledged treatise, but it is to Quataert’s credit that he has successfully woven them together to produce a thorough account…This book is a valuable addition to the relatively new and growing body of writings that can be grouped under social history of the Ottoman Empire. Starting over thirty years ago, Donald Quataert has played a pioneering role in the development of this field in Ottoman history.”  ·  Review of Middle East Studies

“Overall, to read Quataert’s rich and important book both with and against the grain is to question important assumptions about fee and unfree wage labor under capitalism and to throw down the challenge of reconstructing a materially grounded history from below.”  ·  International Journal of Middle East Studies

“This is an intelligent, original and coherent work that constitutes a genuine contribution to an historiography still in its early stages.”  ·  Annales

“Quataert offers a valuable in-depth study based on a detailed and critical utilization of rich and unprecedented archival source material. …The study provides immense information embedded in a lucid narrative.”  ·  International Review of Social History

"... fascinating ... The book is a very important contribution to the social history of the late Ottoman Empire and Turkey, a field of study where Quataert has been the pioneer par excellence. ... The description is rich in material for further study."  ·  Erik-Jan Zurcher, Chair of Turkish Studies, Leiden University

"... [the author's] comparisons with the experiences of other countries are truly valuable. His mastery of later Ottoman times is impeccable and enviable."  ·  Mete Tunçay, Head of History, Istanbul Bilgi University


The story of the miners of Zonguldak presents a particularly graphic local lens through which to examine questions that have been of major concern to historians—most prominently, the development of the state, the emergence of capitalism, and the role of the working classes in these large processes. This book examines such major issues through the actual experiences of coal miners in the Ottoman Empire. The encounters of mine workers with state mining officials and private mine operators do not follow the expected patterns of labor-state-capital relations as predicted by the major explanatory paradigms of modernization or dependency. Indeed, as the author clearly shows, few of the outcomes are as predicted. The fate of these miners has much to offer both Ottoman and Middle East specialists as well as scholars of the developing world and, more generally, those interested in the connections between economic development and social and political change.

Donald Quataert is Professor of History at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He specializes in Middle Eastern history and also teaches comparative labor history and global history. His many publications include Ottoman Manufacturing in the Age of the Industrial Revolution (Cambridge 1993); (with Halil Inalcik) An Economic and Social History of the Ottoman Empire, 1300–1914 (Cambridge, 1994); The Ottoman Empire, 1700–1922, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 2005).

Author's online supplement

Subject: History (General)History: 18th/19th CenturyHistory: 20th Century to PresentSociology
Area: Southern EuropeMiddle East & Israel


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