Abstract

Reading Fyodor Dostoevsky across the Sea of Marmara, Ottoman-Armenian author, Hagop Oshagan (1883–1948), discovered an unprecedented possibility for conceptualizing and representing non-Muslim Ottoman reality. The following discussion presents this possibility as a case of metacommunal pluralism; a pluralism not based on communally differentiated orthodoxies of ethno-national, linguistic, or confessional singularity, but rather, consisting of heterodoxical pluralities. Oshagan deviates from conventional interpretations, both positive and negative, of Ottoman pluralism as a system of communal differentiation comprised of discrete ethno-confessional units. The Dostoevskyan aspects of Oshagan's writing suggest, instead, an “underground” of extensive intersectionality that casts the truth of such conventional interpretations of Ottoman communality into doubt, showing the porousness, tensions, limits, and contradictions endemic to Ottoman minority existence.

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