Urban History

Ethnicity and the city: the Kurdish quarter of Damascus between Ottoman and French rule, c. 1724–1946

a1 History Dept, School of Oriental and African Studies, London, WC1X 9EW

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This article concentrates on the Kurdish quarter of Damascus and investigates the relationship between communal/ethnic identity, spatial organization and the socio-political structures of the city. It challenges the notion of quarter as an ‘ethnic cluster’ by examining historical processes of integration of the Kurdish community in the body politic of Damascus. In the colonial period the emergence of new arenas of public action for the Kurdish community are analysed with reference to the emergence of new ideas of class and community.

(Published Online February 23 2004)


1 The author would like to thank Philip Khoury and Peter Sluglett for much appreciated comments, and Faleh A. Jabar for help in bibliographical research on the Syrian communist party. I am also indebted to Richard Rodger and to the anonymous reader of the article for useful suggestions.