“COSMOPOLITAN” SMYRNA: ILLUMINATING OR OBSCURING CULTURAL HISTORIES?

Authors


  • This article is based on ethnographic and archival research I conducted in Izmir in 2009/2010 with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Turkish Cultural Foundation. I wish to thank Amy Mills and the two anonymous readers for their insightful comments on earlier drafts of the article.

  • The Geographical Review regrets that some Turkish special characters cannot currently be reproduced.

abstract.

Taking the late Ottoman port and boomtown of Smyrna/Izmir as a case study, I interrogate a priori concepts of cosmopolitanism in historical studies, choosing to be “archivally cosmopolitan” by working from the ground up to interpret primary sources for what they can illuminate about social complexities in the imperial port. A view from the hinterland, well studied as the agricultural economic base of Izmir, presents an Ottoman cultural geography that embraces the city and complicates its “Europeanized” image. A mainstay of daily life—music—reflects this cultural intermixing as well as the social stratification of an entertainment world, a dimension often filtered out of maritime, progressive, Eurocentric historiographies. Recovering stories from inland urban space, I aim to contribute to a dialogue about cosmopolitanism and the extent to which its commonplace usage obscures cultural histories.

Ancillary