Journal article Open Access

Grieving Cosmopolitanism in Middle East Studies

Hanley, Will

Political philosophers and cultural theorists studying twenty-first-century globalization have found cosmopolitanism to be a productive concept. In Middle East scholarship, however, cosmopolitan has been less than effective. This review illustrates three characteristics of cosmopolitanism in Middle East historiography – elitism in formulation and content, grieving nostalgia, and the privileging of formal labels over content – with examples from nineteenth-century cities and globalized metropolises. Scholars must confront the anti-nationalist teleology and secularizing, bourgeois fantasy at the heart of cosmopolitanism as it is currently used if they are to produce more accurate accounts of diversity in Middle East societies past and present.

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