BTS 88

The Empire in the City Arab Provincial Capitals in the Late Ottoman Empire

Jens Hanssen, Thomas Philipp, Stefan Weber (eds.)

2002. 382 pp. English Brochur
ISBN 978-3-935556-89-7

This volume includes various contributions presented at an international conference held in Beirut in April 1999. The paper’s main aim is a reconstruction of aspects of urban life in the late Ottoman Empire, with a local focus on cities such as Beirut, Cairo, Aleppo, Damascus and Baghdad. Without disregarding European influence on urban life in the 18th and 19th centuries, the papers exceed many accepted notions to the extent that they also emphasize the local, namely the Ottoman influences as an entity separate to the European impacts. In order to pursue these approaches manifold sources are used and examined, such as printed and archival materials, city maps, architectural designs, photographs, wall paintings, and others. By making use of material sources that represent the embodiment of social values embedded in architecture this piece of work uses an innovative approach to the combined study of architectural and social urban history.  


Jens Hanssen received his D.Phil. in Modern History from Oxford University in 2001 and is now an Associate Professor of Arab Civilization at the University of Toronto-Mississauga and modern Middle Eastern and Mediterranean History at the St. George Campus. His fields of interest include the late Ottoman rule in the Arab provinces as well as imperialism, liberalism and cosmopolitanism in the modern Mediterranean.

Thomas Philipp studied Arabic, Sociology and Modern Arab History at the Free University of Berlin and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem before obtaining his Ph.D. in Islamic Studies in 1971. He had worked at the University of Shiraz, the Harvard University, the University of Haifa and was professor politics and history of the Middle East at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg before passing away in 2008.

Stefan Weber is a German Orientalist and Director of the Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.  Previously, he was Assistant Professor of Material History at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations of Aga Khan University in London.