Cem Emrence’s, Remapping the Ottoman Middle East, is an ambitious effort to cultivate a new analytical framework to the field of Ottoman Studies that addresses variables of socio-economic and political diversity that are often overlooked in previous studies of the Ottoman Middle East. The application of this new analytical framework functions both as a mean of explaining the uneven development witnessed in specific regions of the Ottoman Empire and revealing multiple, alternative paths to modernity in the region. Emrence’s call to implement his multi-disciplinary, intra-empire perspective is necessary, according to the author, in order to understand the variations of historical paths in the Ottoman world. Subsequently, Emrence identifies three distinct historical paths spatially situated within the Empire: the Coast, the Interior, and the Frontier. Moreover, while focus is placed on discerning these alternative paths to modernity, Emrence can address the much larger question concerning the disposition of Ottoman rule from the eighteenth century to the Empire’s demise following the War of 1914-18 and, by extension, address the implications of the empire’s demise on Middle Eastern social constructs.
Keywords: Ottoman Empire, Middle East, Islam, Historiography