Visualizing Europe in Late Ottoman Capital: Photographs, Drawings, and Remediations

Dr. Semra Horuz

My project draws on my dissertation research in which I traced the architectural history of nineteenth-century Ottoman travelogues on Western Europe. Ottoman intellectuals published more than twenty travelogues in Istanbul between 1850–1910. Their response to specific urban and architectural elements embodies substantial transformations of the late Ottoman society. The travelogues reveals that the global claims of modernization about historical heritage, public life, monument and memory-making processes via architecture are intimately linked to a wider range of cultural codes and aspirations, which in turn define urban middle-class in the Ottoman capital. The current phase of this research relies predominantly on the illustrated travelogues and contemporary Ottoman journals with a new lens and methodology to create an online platform. The platform is devised to capture a snapshot of the people, objects, and ideas in flux between Europe and Istanbul utilizing digital humanities tools to map, visualize, and overlay diverse data-sets. I examine the materiality, medium, and content of the images; the roles of photographic views, postcards and paintings that were created, copied, and remediated by the Ottoman travelers and publishers. Reevaluating these itinerant narratives will highlight nineteenth-century image economy between European and Ottoman cities; performativity of image-making and traveling; and visual networks that saturated cultural mobilities and circulation of images.

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