Architecture and Late Ottoman Historical Imagination

with Ahmet Ersoy

hosted by Susanna Ferguson

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What happens when we encounter "Orientalist" aesthetics outside the West? In the late nineteenth century, a cosmopolitan group of Ottoman architects turned to modern forms of art history writing to argue that synthesis and change stood at the heart of a particularly "Ottoman" architectural aesthetic. Working together, these writers produced the first text of modern art history writing in the Ottoman empire, the Usul-ı Mi’marî-yi Osmanî or The Fundamentals of Ottoman Architecture. This volume was published simultaneously in Ottoman Turkish, French and German for the Universal Exposition or World's Fair in Vienna in 1873. In this episode, Ahmet Ersoy explores the making of this text, its arguments, and its implications for understanding the relationship of the late-Tanzimat Ottoman Empire with Europe, its own cosmopolitan "hyphenated-Ottoman" intellectuals, and historical imagination.

This episode is part of an ongoing series entitled "The Visual Past."

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PARTICIPANT BIOS

Ahmet Ersoy is Associate Professor at the History Department at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul. His work deals with the history of the Late Ottoman Empire with a special focus on the changing role and status of visual culture during a period of westernizing change. He is the author of the book, Architecture and the Late Ottoman Historical Imaginary: Reconfiguring the Architectural Past in a Modernizing Empire, and he is currently pursuing research on the confluence of photography, new media technologies and print culture in the late Ottoman world.
Susanna Ferguson is a Ph.D. Candidate in Middle Eastern History at Columbia University. She is currently working on a dissertation entitled "Tracing Tarbiya: Women, Gender and Childrearing in Egypt and Lebanon, 1865-1939."  

CREDITS

Episode No. 280
Release Date: 8 November 2016
Recording Location: ANAMED, Istanbul
Audio editing by Onur Engin
Sound excerpts: from archive.org - Müzeyyen Senar - Gözlerin Bir İçim Su
Images and bibliography courtesy of Ahmet Ersoy
Additional thanks to Emily Neumeier

IMAGES

Usul-i Mimari-i Osmani (color plate - "modern Ottoman style"): Plate XXVII from Marie de Launay and Pietro Montani, Usul-i Mimari-i Osmani / L'Architecture ottomane (Istanbul, 1873).
Usul-i Mimari-i Osmani (black and white ornamental detail): Plate XVI from Marie de Launay and Pietro Montani, Usul-i Mimari-i Osmani / L'Architecture ottomane (Istanbul, 1873).
Aksaray Valide Mosque, from Pars Tüğlacı, The Role of the Balian Family in Ottoman Architecture (Istanbul, 1990)

Taksim Artillery Barracks, from Pars Tüğlacı, The Role of the Balian Family in Ottoman Architecture (Istanbul, 1990)

Ottoman Ministry of War gateway, postcard (courtesy of Ahmet Ersoy)

Çıragan Palace, postcard (courtesy of Ahmet Ersoy)
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Architecture and the
Late Ottoman Historical Imaginary
by Ahmet Ersoy
Routledge, 2015
Bann, Stephen. Romanticism and the Rise of History. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1995.  
                                                                         
Bozdoğan, Sibel. Modernism and Nation Building: Turkish Architecturaln Culture in the Early Republic. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001.
               
Çelik, Zeynep. Displaying the Orient: Architecture of Islam at Nineteenth-Century World’s Fairs. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

Ersoy, Ahmet. Architecture and the Late Ottoman Historical Imaginary: Reconfiguring the Architectural Past in a Modernizing Empire. New York: Routledge, 2015.

_____. “Ottomans and the Kodak Galaxy: Archiving Everyday Life and Historical Space in Ottoman Illustrated Journals,” in History of Photography, 40/3 (September 2016): 330-357.  
    
_____. Ottoman Gothic: Evocations of the Medieval Past in Late Ottoman Architecture,” in Patrick J. Geary and Gábor Klaniczay (eds) Manufacturing Middle Ages: Entangled History of Medievalism in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Leiden: Brill, 2013): 217-238.
         
Makdisi, Ussama. “Ottoman Orientalism.” American Historical Review 107, no. 3 (June 2002): 768–96.                                              
                                                    
Tuğlacı, Pars. The Role of the Balian Family in Ottoman Architecture. Istanbul: Yeni Çığır, 1990.

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