This article investigates the cosmopolitan discourse of Amin Maalouf’s novel Les Échelles du Levant, published in English in 1996 as Ports of Call. Centered on Ossyane Ketabdar’s memories, the novel reconstructs the history of the Levant from the viewpoint of the oppressed and portrays the devastating effects of nationalism and national struggles on the Levantine cultures and societies. Born to a Turkish father and Armenian mother, Ossyane grows up in the cosmopolitan and multicultural atmosphere of Beirut, where he learns to question parochialisms. His cosmopolitan agency is based on the moral principle of recognition and respect for the other. Centered on an uprooted and liminal protagonist with a mixed identity, Les Échelles du Levant explores cosmopolitan agency as a form of resistance against homogenized and consolidated subject positions produced by the modern nation-states.

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