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Lecture | LUCIS What's New?! Series

Mediterranean Port Cities and the Emergence of the Muslim Middle Class (1870-1923) - ONLINE

Thursday 2 December 2021
What's New?! Fall Lecture Series 2021
This is an online event. Please register to receive the link to the lecture.

Due to COVID-measures this lecture has been moved online. Please register below to receive the link to the online lecture.

Recent studies of the Mediterranean region claim that nineteenth-century Mediterranean port cities played an important role in the emergence of today’s global economic system. The Eastern Mediterranean region, in particular, was a hybrid zone and gate between geopolitical East and West, as its port cities and towns witnessed the flow of people for centuries. Nevertheless, from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, port cities such as Constantinople (Istanbul), Smyrna (Izmir), and Salonica (Thessaloniki) witnessed a decisive transition under technological advancements that included steamships, railroads, and modern machinery. Ultimately, the agents of these port cities were influenced by the cultural, social, and economic vitality enabled by these technological means. 

Recent scholarly work focuses on the response and adaptation of non-Muslim ethnoreligious groups in these port cities. However, the response of Muslim communities was not explored or was studied solely as a part of governmental efforts to establish a modern army. My research aims to fill this gap by focusing on the first forms of modern educational institutions and the new sociabilités of Muslim communities that emerged with autonomous efforts in these three port cities. In doing so, this research aims to understand the reflections of bourgeois culture in port cities and the role of the middle class in national identity building.

About Didem Yerli

Didem Yerli is a PhD researcher at Leiden University and Instructor in the History of Architecture and Urban Planning at Delft University of Technology. She holds a degree in Sociology from Galatasaray University and worked as a Teaching Assistant at Sabancı University where she obtained her MA. Before pursuing her PhD, she worked as a Market Research Executive. Didem’s current research interests focus on the transformations of the port cities and urbanization since the nineteenth century. Taking the Mediterranean coastal urban cities as case studies, she engages with identity, space, education, and cultural heritage. 

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