Neo-Ottoman Architecture and the Transnational Mosque

with Kishwar Rizvi

hosted by Chris Gratien

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As spaces fundamental to Muslim religious and communal life, mosques have historically served as sites of not just architectural but also ideological construction. As our guest Kishwar Rizvi argues in her latest book entitled The Transnational Mosque (UNC Press 2015), states operating in transnational contexts have taken a leading role in the building of mosques and in doing so, they forge political, economic, and architectural networks that span the globe. In this episode, we discuss the architectural exports of the four states covered in Prof. Rizvi's monograph: Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to situating and comparing transnational mosques of different states, we give special attention to the rise of Neo-Ottoman architecture in modern Turkey and its role in re-branding Turkey's image on the global stage.

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

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Kishwar Rizvi is Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at Yale University.  She writes on issues of religion, politics, and self-representation in the early modern period, as well as on the intersection of nationalism and architecture in the modern Middle East.
Chris Gratien holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University's Department of History. His research focuses on the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region from the 1850s until the 1950s.


Episode No. 244
Release Date: 2 July 2016
Recording Location: Yale University
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Sound excerpts: Baglamamin Dugumu - Necmiye Ararat and MuzafferEgil Daglar Ustunden Asam - Viktoriya HanimHarmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal Efendi
Special thanks to Kara Güneş for allowing us to use the composition "Istanbul" in the intro music and to Muhtelif for the use of "Ta Paidia & Lamma Bada"
Images and bibliography courtesy of Kishwar Rizvi
Additional photographs courtesy of Leili Vatani

Kocatepe Mosque, Ankara (Photo credit: Kishwar Rizvi)
Sayyidah Ruqayya Mosque, Damascus (Photo credit: Kishwar Rizvi)
Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque, Damascus (Photo credit: Kishwar Rizvi)
Al Noor Mosque (on left), Sharjah (Photo credit: Kishwar Rizvi)
Türk Şehitlik Mosque, Berlin (Photo credit: Kishwar Rizvi)
Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, Beirut (Photo credit: Kishwar Rizvi)
Interior of Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque, Beirut (Photo credit: Kishwar Rizvi)
Blue Mosque, Yerevan (Photo credit: Leili Vatani)
Seyhan River with Sabancı Central Mosque in the distance, Adana (Photo credit: Leili Vatani)


Kishwar Rizvi
The Transnational Mosque
University of North Carolina Press, 2015
Ersan, Gökhan . “Secularism, Islamism, Emblemat: The Visual Discourse of Progress in Turkey.” Design Issues 23 (2007): 66-82.

Gall, Carlotta. "How Kosovo Was Turned into Fertile Ground for Isis." New York Times (21 May 2016).

Holod, Renata and Hasan Uddin Khan. Mosque and the Modern World: Architects, Patrons and Designs Since the 1950s. London: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

Pinto, Paulo G. “Pilgrimage, Commodities, and Religious Objectification: The Making of Transnational Shiism between Iran and Syria,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 27 (2007): 109-125.

Rizvi, Kishwar. “Religious Icon and National Symbol: The Tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.” Muqarnas: Journal of Islamic Art and Architecture 20 (2003).

Rizvi, Kishwar. The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East. 2015.

Rizvi, Kishwar and Sandy Isenstadt,  eds. Modernism and the Middle East: Architecture and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008.

Tabbaa, Yasser. “Invented Pieties: The Rediscovery and Rebuilding of the Shrine of Sayyida Ruqayya in Damascus, 1975-2006.” Artibus Asiae 67 (2007): 95-112.

White, Jenny B. “Islam and politics in contemporary Turkey.” In Turkey in the Modern World, edited by Reşat Kasaba, Cambridge: Cambridge  University Press, 2008.


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