By Jens Hanssen
Postwar Beirut evokes contradictory pictures of exceptional openness and unattainable violence, of significant antiquity and a brilliant destiny. The Lebanese capital stands for Arab cosmopolitanism and cultural effervescence but additionally for its tragedies of destruction. This booklet examines the old formation of Beirut as a multiply contested Mediterranean city.
Fin de Siècle Beirut is a landmark contribution to the transforming into literature in Ottoman experiences, in Arab cultural heritage and on Mediterranean towns. Combining city concept, quite Henri Lefebvre's paintings on towns and capitalism, with postcolonial method, the primary thesis of this booklet is that smooth Beirut is the end result of power social and highbrow struggles over the construction of area. town of Beirut was once right now the product, the thing, and the undertaking of imperial and concrete politics of distinction: overlapping eu, Ottoman, and municipal civilising missions competed within the political fields of management, infrastructure, city making plans, public wellbeing and fitness, schooling, public morality, journalism, and architecture.
Jens Hanssen deals a entire, unique account of the emergence of contemporary Beirut out of an financial shift clear of Acre within the wake of the Napoleonic wars. He argues that the Ottoman government's choice to heed demands the construction of a brand new province round Beirut and supply it provincial capital prestige in 1888 cleared the path for basic city and local reconfigurations lengthy sooner than colonial rules through the French Mandate interval. This new Ottoman province got here to represent the territorial embodiment of neighborhood self-determination for Arab nationalists in Beirut until eventually the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after international struggle I.
Drawing on released and unpublished Ottoman govt files, Arabic resources, and ecu archival fabric, Hanssen's publication lines the city adventure of modernity within the Ottoman Empire. The transformation of daily life in overdue nineteenth-century Beirut and the concomitant rules of city administration is vividly set opposed to the devastating civil conflict in Mount Lebanon and Damascus in 1860.