- Intoxication and Imperialism: Nightlife in Occupied Istanbul, 1918–23
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 37, Number 2, August 2017
- pp. 299-313
- View Citation
- Additional Information
MacArthur-Seal’s article explores how the Allied occupation of Istanbul between 1918 and 1923 revived and reshaped nightlife after a period of wartime privation. Soldiers and sailors sought in the nocturnal city to escape the military regimes governing their lives, bringing them into unregulated contact with local civilians. The frequently violent consequences of such encounters fueled nationalist opposition to the occupation and hence drew the acute concern of Allied military authorities. Investigating the Allies’ regulatory efforts to control nightlife reveals the extent of imperial intervention in the occupied city, which has been so far underappreciated in a literature centered on the occupation’s geopolitical impact and significance. All this has produced copious and heretofore unstudied documentary evidence. This article draws on the diaries and memoirs of Allied servicemen; newspaper critiques of nightlife entertainments and behaviors; and correspondence among bar and theater owners, their supporters, critics, and French and British diplomatic and military representatives.