This collection of essays represents a departure from the traditional perspective, recently questioned by many scholars, from which Ottoman history is usually written. Central to the establishment of Western domination over the 'East' is the writing of its history in terms of Western hegemony, above all in the case of the Ottoman Empire, which has been characterised as static, irrational and authoritarian in contrast with the dynamic, rational, democratic West. This book contrasts sharply with conventional studies of the Ottoman Empire, based on this European world-view, that focus on political military, and cultural institutions. Following a series of general theoretical discussions about Ottoman social structure, the contributors turn to case studies directed either to theoretical problems or to 'facts' which suggest new avenues of conceptualisation.
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