The effect of Ottoman rule on fin de siècle Beirut : the province of Beirut, 1888-1914
The proposed thesis deals with Beirut's urban development from a maritime town to a provincial capital in the 19. and early 20. centuries. It does so in the context of physical, politico-administrative and socio-cultural inscriptions on the city by a centralizing Ottoman state. The center-periphery relations in the Ottoman Empire are examined in terms of the forces of political integration and social cohesion as well as challenges to them. The empire-city nexus that is maintained throughout this thesis posits Beirut both as the site of Ottoman imperial discourses and practices and as the site of local appropriation of- and resistance to - them. Local power was articulated in arenas of negotiation between Istanbul and Beirut (e.g. municipal councils, bureaucratic and personal networks, production of space, practices of urban management). At the same time, the quality of the city's growth and wealth created discontent and resistance among these sectors of society that were excluded from, or threatened by, Beirut's development as a port city and provincial capital (e.g. strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, riots). The condition of Beirut at the turn of the century was commented and reflected upon in contemporary Arabic journal editorials, newspaper articles, poems and speeches whose transformative power, it will be argued, affected the very physical form of Beirut's urban fabric.