Review of Jackson, M. ‘Mixing Musics: Turkish Jewry and the Urban Landscape of a Sacred Song’

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This study of Maftirim, a paraliturgical musical suite sung by men in Istanbul synagogues on Saturday afternoons, is a valuable addition to a growing literature on the cultural life of minorities in Ottoman Turkey and the modern Turkish Republic. Music, Maureen Jackson shows, has been vitally important to Jewish community life and to its sense of a past and a future. It also mediates the community's relations with its neighbors, in particular Istanbul's Greeks, Armenians, and the Muslim majority. Reading about Maftirim, we learn important things about the cultural and political choices the Ottoman and early Republican Turkish minorities faced; about recreational life in Istanbul's coffee shops, meyhanes, and gazinos; and about the religious politics and ersatz cosmopolitanism of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Turkey today. This book is elegantly written, deeply researched, and beautifully illustrated. It achieves a great deal in its five short chapters.

Recent years have seen growing scholarly interest in …
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-1401
Number of pages2
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • Turkish music

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