HomeCommunityMelbourne seminar to focus on early years of British rule in Cyprus

Melbourne seminar to focus on early years of British rule in Cyprus

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Historian and post-doctoral researcher, Elena Bouleti, will deliver an online only lecture on the topic of “Early Years of British Administration in Cyprus” on Thursday, July 20 at 7pm, as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM). 

The lecture will be broadcasted on the social media platforms, YouTube and Facebook. 

Elena Bouleti, a historian and post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Political Science and History at Panteion University, Athens, has dedicated her research to British policy towards the Turkish-Cypriot community of Cyprus from 1878 to 1950. Her doctoral thesis focused on this subject, and her post-doctorate research examines the refugee and migratory patterns of Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the 1960s, 1970s, and after the 1974 invasion of Cyprus.

During her online lecture, Dr Bouleti will shed light on the unique transition of the Ottoman Muslim community of Cyprus from a religious community, particularly the ruling community, to a national community. This transformation unfolded without direct influence from Turkish nationalism. Following the Cyprus Convention in 1878, the British administration of the island was established on a strict colonial basis, sustaining the religious foundation of the Ottoman administrative system while selectively modernising certain aspects to facilitate a British colony.

Dr Bouleti’s lecture will delve into the initial anti-colonial sentiments among the Muslim community, triggered by the British infiltration into their social, economic, and religious core. With a focus on nationalism formed along communal lines, she will trace the contribution of the colonial regime to its development. 

Dr Bouleti.

Additionally, Dr Bouleti will explore communal attempts to redefine traditional religious institutions to counter British colonial control, resulting in a secular and nationalistic scope within these institutions.

According to Dr Bouleti, British efforts to suppress Turkish Cypriot nationalism inadvertently fuelled an anti-British sentiment within the community. The suppressed nationalism manifested as anti-colonialism within a strict communal-religious framework. 

While Turkish Cypriots sought to preserve their religious community and institutions, they also attributed national characteristics to them by claiming self-administration through elections. This duality in the national and communal frame continued to shape the Turkish Cypriot identity even after World War I, despite the growing influence of Young Turk ideology.

This lecture offers a unique opportunity for researchers, students, and history enthusiasts to gain deep insights into the early years of British administration in Cyprus and its impact on the formation of Turkish Cypriot nationalism. 

To participate in the event, please visit the official YouTube channel or Facebook page of the Greek Community of Melbourne on Thursday, July 20 at 7pm (Melbourne time). We encourage active engagement through the live chat, where participants can ask questions and contribute to the discussion of the issues surrounding this interesting historical topic.

Details about the event:

  • When: Thursday 20 July, 7pm
  • How: Live streamed on Facebook and YouTube

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