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Port Cities of the Eastern Mediterranean
Urban Culture in the Late Ottoman Empire


  • Date Published: June 2022
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108708623

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About the Authors
  • Eastern Mediterranean port cities, such as Constantinople, Smyrna, and Salonica, have long been sites of fascination. Known for their vibrant and diverse populations, the dynamism of their economic and cultural exchanges, and their form of relatively peaceful co-existence in a turbulent age, many would label them as models of cosmopolitanism. In this study, Malte Fuhrmann examines changes in the histories of space, consumption, and identities in the nineteenth and early twentieth century while the Mediterranean became a zone of influence for European powers. Giving voice to the port cities' forgotten inhabitants, Fuhrmann explores how their urban populations adapted to European practices, how entertainment became a marker of a Europeanized way of life, and consuming beer celebrated innovation, cosmopolitanism and mixed gender sociability. At the same time, these adaptations to a European way of life were modified according to local needs, as was the case for the new quays, streets, and buildings. Revisiting leisure practises as well as the formation of class, gender, and national identities, Fuhrmann offers an alternative view on the relationship between the Islamic World and Europe.

    • A fascinating history of nineteenth century Eastern Mediterranean port cities including Constantinople, Smyrna, and Salonica
    • Provides new perspectives on the region by featuring lower class and subaltern perspectives
    • Examines urban space, leisure practises, and the formation of class, gender, and national identities for an alternate view on the relationship between the Islamic World and Europe
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Malte Fuhrmann's richly nuanced and elegantly theorized study explores the late-Ottoman port-cities' sites of cultural exchange and adaptation, ranging from balls and opera to beer halls, cafés and brothels. The complex and fluid interactions revealed force us to rethink the dominant narrative of Westernization and identity-formation in the Eastern Mediterranean.' Benjamin C. Fortna, University of Arizona

    'An essential read for historians of the Eastern Mediterranean. Α wealth of material captures vividly contemporary voices and shows how people in the most emblematic ports of the Ottoman Empire tried, consumed, became part of and in some ways rejected 'Europe' while constructing Eastern Mediterranean modernity.' Sakis Gekas, York University, Toronto

    'Port Cities of the Eastern Mediterranean is a richly detailed comparative history of cultural exchange and urban modernity in the eastern Mediterranean. … the book-cinemas, opera houses, gymnastics clubs, boulevards, beer gardens, cafés, and brothels together support a remarkable study that poses a stunning (if gently argued) challenge to existing work in Ottoman, urban, and cultural history. A rewarding read.' R. A. Miller, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2022
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108708623
    • length: 489 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.651kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Constructing Europe: spatial relations of power in Eastern Mediterranean cities
    3. The city's new pleasures
    4. Identities on the Mediterranean shore: between experiment and restriction
    5. The end of the European dream
    6. Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean revisited.

  • Author

    Malte Fuhrmann, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO)
    Malte Fuhrmann is a research fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO). Having spent many years doing research and teaching in Istanbul, he is the author of Imagining a German Orient: Two German Colonies in the Ottoman Empire 1851–1918 (2006, in German) and co-editor of The City in the Ottoman Empire: Migration and the Making of Urban Modernity (2011) with Ulrike Freitag, Nora Lafi, and Florian Riedler.

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