“The Race to the Bottom”: A HGIS Analysis of Historical Educational Competition and its Legacies in Ottoman Anatolia

Emre Amasyali, McGill University

A significant literature demonstrates that the presence of historic missionary societies — especially Protestant societies — during the colonial period is significantly and positively associated with increased educational attainment and economic outcomes. Despite their contributions to our understanding of the historical origins of education and literacy, these studies have generally examined how institutions and technologies developed by Christian missionaries were transferred to local cultures in colonized regions. To date, relatively little research has considered indigenous efforts to resist or counteract missionary influence. This project addresses this gap by providing evidence for the long term impact of the rivalry between multiple historical educational institutions in modern-day Turkey. For this purpose, I present an original dataset that provides the locations of Protestant mission stations and schools, Ottoman state schools, and Armenian community schools contained within Ottoman Anatolia between 1820 and 1914. The OLS results report a positive effect of competition on development, as measured by light density. Contrary to the common association found in literature, this study does not find missionary presence to be correlated with modern-day economic development. Rather, it seems the effect of missionary orders is contingent on their interaction with local institutions.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 13. Emerging Methods: Spatial Analysis and Modeling