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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53589
Doc. No:TL23543
Call number:‭3217844‬
Main Entry:Ilay Romain Ors
Title & Author:The last of the cosmopolitans? Rum Polites of Istanbul in Athens: Exploring the identity of the cityIlay Romain Ors
College:Harvard University
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:303
Abstract:The city has an identity, which cannot be reduced to the identity of those currently living in the city. The link between city and identity can be explored outside the city, in the diaspora of the city, by looking at how the former residents relate to it as a source of identity. This dissertation is an ethnography of the Rum Polites---a Greek-speaking, Christian Orthodox, Istanbul-born group of people who were displaced following a series of tragic events. Their number in Istanbul fell from over 300,000 to 2,000 during the 20th century. Today they live mostly in Athens, the location of my fieldwork (2000-2004). Employing established methods of ethnographic observation, life story, interview, archival research, and textual analysis, I delineate a distinct cultural identity of the Rum Polites in Athens. Despite their shared religion, ethnicity, and language, Rum Polites differentiate themselves from other Greeks in Greece, through a notion of cultural distinction, which is observable in their practice of everyday life, social organization, and intellectual and artistic production. The use of two terms of self-designation, Rum (Roman/Orthodox), and Polites (urbanites/Istanbulites), indicates an identification with Istanbul, known as the City for being the symbolic capital in Greek cosmology, as well as an adherence to the grand legacy of the Byzantine and Ottoman periods, during which the Rum Polites were forming the cultural and economic elite. The claim to this glorious heritage is made through an ongoing connection to the City, which is the basis for their cultural distinction and their cosmopolitan identity. Identification with the multicultural city both positions the Rum Polites beyond nationalist divides between Greece and Turkey, and links them to its current residents, who also yearn nostalgically for the cosmopolitan past of Istanbul. The exploration of a place from the perspective of the displaced opens up new dimensions in the understanding of concepts like minority, migrant, diaspora, and identity in the city.
Subject:Social sciences; Athens; Cosmopolitans; Diaspora; Greece; Identity; Istanbul; Rum Polites; Turkey; Cultural anthropology; Urban planning; Area planning & development; Middle Eastern history; 0326:Cultural anthropology; 0999:Urban planning; 0333:Middle Eastern history; 0999:Area planning & development
Added Entry:M. Herzfeld
Added Entry:Harvard University