Beyond conflict and coexistence: cosmopolitanism and inter-communal relations in late Ottoman cities


SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN AND BLACK SEA STUDIES, vol.22, no.4, pp.587-608, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683857.2022.2051123
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Historical Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.587-608
  • Keywords: Cosmopolitanism, Ottoman city, Belgrade, Ankara, coexistence, cultural cosmopolitanism
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This article attempts to apply a cultural definition of cosmopolitanism (a practiced disposition of openness to the communal Other) to the late Ottoman urban context. It starts with a discussion of the problems of Ottoman urban history literature, especially in relation to the concept of cosmopolitanism and an alternative perspective to cosmopolitanism during the transitionary period of the 1820s to 1920s follows. The study then focuses on two Ottoman cities, Ankara and Belgrade, which were not port-cities often deemed cosmopolitan, and where there was no social or spatial segregation until the demise of cosmopolitanism in the very last years of imperial polity (the 1860s in Belgrade and 1910s in Ankara). The goal is to point out that, although the homogenizing pressures of the modern state, nationalism(s), and capital accumulation eventually prevailed, many residents of these Ottoman cities countered them for a considerable period through their everyday interactions, daily routines, habits of space use and socialization patterns, bringing about late Ottoman cosmopolitanism.