Update: Link fixed.
Amartya Sen has an interesting piece in The New Republic titled Chili and liberty: the uses and abuses of multiculturalism. Sen’s piece addresses the paradox in the interpretation of “multiculturalism” in some quarters where it implies separation of distinct cultures into a “plural monoculturalism.” That is, a nation where separate ethnic and religious groups live apart within the same polity. A pre-modern form of this system would be the millets of the Ottoman Empire, where religious leaders would be responsible for and command their own particular community. A contrasting dynamic is the admixture of various particular traditions and forms into a new cultural complex, in Sen’s case he points to the emergence of curry powder, a British colonial invention that has become synonomous with South Asian culture and now is a common part of the British culinary scene. Going back to the Ottoman example, the fez which Kemal Attaturk famously banned as an example of retrograde practice was originally introduced only one century prior and had little sectarian implication.