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Civic Architecture in Islamic History - Istanbul: From Imperial Capital to Global City

This lecture course offers an overview of Istanbul’s urban/architectural transformations in the last two centuries, situating these developments within both the historical dynamics of modern Turkey and the broader trans-national context of the region and the world at large. In particular, four distinct periods will be covered, marked by important political-social-cultural shifts and the introduction of new urban visions, with corresponding changes in the city’s skyline, macro form, landscape, architecture and overall urban aesthetics: 1) late Ottoman reforms in urban administration, infrastructure and transportation, accompanied by the cosmopolitan architecture of fin de siècle Istanbul; 2) early republican transformations in the 1930s and 1940s: the master plan of Henri Prost and the new public spaces of secular modernity; 3) post-WWII urban interventions and the onset of massive migration, speculative apartment boom and squatter developments transforming Istanbul from a “shore city” to a “hinterland city” and 4) “branding” of Istanbul as a global city since the 1980s: trans-national spaces of consumption, gated communities and suburban sprawl. The primary objective of the course is to investigate the complex, hybrid and contested urban history and geography of a unique world city in the context of imperial, national and global politics. Lectures will be supplemented by selected readings and films. Course requirements include a number of short response essays and/or architectural/urban analysis assignments throughout the semester and a final in-class examination/content review at the end of the semester. Graduate students can chose to write a research paper in place of the final examination.