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

9th Levantine Heritage Foundation online lecture with guest speaker Dr Malte Fuhrmann

May 20, 2021
Thursday, 20:00 – 22:00 GMT+3
Tickets from Eventbrite: £5

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 practices 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.

Dr Malte Fuhrmann is a historian and specialist on German-Ottoman and German-Turkish relations. He studied History and Balkan Studies at Freie Universität Berlin, where he received his MA in 1999. He has worked as a research fellow at Berlin’s Zentrum Moderner Orient (2006-2008) and Orient-Institut Istanbul (2005, 2010-2013). He has also lectured at a number of Istanbul universities and continues to lecture as an adjunct and serve as MA advisor at the Turkish-German University (since 2013). Dr Fuhrmann’s research focuses on diplomatic, military, and cultural interactions between different European regions and especially Ottoman and former Ottoman territories.

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