For a long time, the eighteenth century has been the black hole of Ottoman studies, regarded as the point when the Empire peaked before continuing its long decline. The decline actually began in the seventeenth century and ended with a complete collapse in World War I. The nineteenth century offered a brief respite due to modernizing reforms, many of which had an urban character thanks to the influence of Istanbul in the late eighteenth century. However, this paradigm has been under rigorous scholarly scrutiny, giving rise to a lively debate about the timing of the Ottoman transition to modernity relative to that of Europe and the Islamic world. Interdisciplinary and comparative studies have been at the heart of the new Ottoman scholarship. This book, which belongs to this revisionist school, offers an intriguing approach by incorporating a sample of a growing scholarship about Ottoman cities into Wishnitzer’s own study of...

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