Patrick Adamiak

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Patrick Adamiak, 2013–2014 CAORC Pre-Doctoral Fellow

Patrick Adamiak in Jerusalem 2014, photo from his personal collection
Patrick Adamiak in Jerusalem 2014, photo from his personal collection

Patrick Adamiak was an ACOR pre-doctorate fellow conducting research in Jordan until December 2014. He is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, San Diego in the Department of History. Patrick’s interest in the history of the Modern Middle East brought him to the region. Throughout his fellowship at ACOR, Patrick  collected archival research in order to complete his dissertation.

Patrick’s primary focus is on the settlement of Circassian refugees in the Ottoman Empire, specifically in the late 19th and 20th centuries.  Prior to his time in Amman, Patrick traveled to Istanbul on another fellowship to research in the Ottoman Central Archives.  The resources in the Turkish archives focus primarily on administrative apparatus (telegrams, letters, etc.) as well as the exchange of money and supplies.  In order to form a more cohesive idea in regards to the relationship between Circassian refugees and the Ottomans, Patrick chose to divert his research to the civil and estate records available in the Jordanian archives of Amman and Salt. By acquiring more information on the accumulation of wealth amongst Circassians, Patrick will be able to better deduce the role of Circassian settlers in Ottoman society.

From his multiple excursions to the archives, Patrick has been able to form some particular conclusions. “Many Circassians enlisted in the Ottoman Empire army for tax exemption so they were bound to the Ottoman Empire in ways Arabs were not.”  After sifting through countless court books that require translation from Arabic and English, Patrick has discovered concrete connections between the Circassian settlers and Ottomans. “The Ottomans were using Circassian settlers as a tool to push the established administration out.”

Patrick hopes that his research will accompany him onto his future endeavors.  He noted wryly “You can do a lot worse than have a Ph.D. and speak Arabic.”

Interview conducted by Tatiana Bowe, American University undergraduate and Fall 2014 ACOR intern