Assoc. Prof. Fatma SEL TURHAN has been selected as a Visiting Fellow to carry out her study titled "The Multiculturalism of Bosnia in the Nineteenth Century: How Did Diversities in Identity, Culture and Religion Create a Harmony" at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies at Oxford University, and in this context, 2022-2023 she will be at Oxford on sabbatical leave during his academic year.


The research aims to investigate multiethnic, multireligious and multicultural diversity of Bosnia in 19th century, and attempts to examine how the effects of nationalism influenced the multicultural structure of Bosnia from a wide perspective. In that period Bosnia provides one of the fruitful materials on multireligious, multiethnic, and multicultural structure of the Balkan geography. While walking around the streets of Sarajevo in the 19th century, countless indicators of the city’s multireligious, multiethnic and multicultural structure would welcome us as we came across from people of different identities. That colorful pluralism would be visible not only through mosques, churches and synagogues but also in bazaars and cemeteries. Around the Old City of Sarajevo, for example, one could see an Orthodox Church, a Catholic Cathedral, a synagogue and a mosque in the same frame. In its long history, the bazaars of the old cities of Bosnia were places where Bosnians, Serbs and Croats came together and shared language, culture, customs, habits and practices, as well. The essential subject of this study is thus, interactions and relations between Bosnians, Serbs and Croats who were main ethnic elements of the region besides other smaller groups like Turks and Jews. The religious and cultural organizations among the Muslims, Orthodox Christians and Catholic Christians and their reciprocal influences to each other will also be studied. How was this cosmopolitan society working? Was there a sharp distinction between public life where all ethnic and religious groups were involved in each other’s lives in spaces such as bazaars or fairs? To what degree could one define equivalences and resemblances in private life of each group where they were practicing their religious and cultural activities? What were the limits of communication, interaction and cooperation between them? How did the community organizations of different religious and ethnic groups of Ottoman Bosnia work during the 19th century, until Austro-Hungarian occupation in 1878? Was it possible to talk about a common identity based on the locality? Evolved from the framework defined by these questions, this research will portray the harmonic diversity in Bosnia and focus on the reflections of this pluralistic social structure in the 19th century.