Aga Khan Program Lecture: Ottoman Tour d’Europe: Architecture, Urbanism, and Late Ottoman Travelogues

Semra Horuz
AKPIA@MIT Post-Doctoral Fellow
 In person only, will not be accessible remotely. Register here.

Aga Khan Program Lectures and Events

Abstract: This talk explores the architectural history of nineteenth-century Ottoman travelogues on western Europe. There are more than twenty personal travel accounts that were published by Ottoman intellectuals in Istanbul between 1850-1910. Ottoman intellectuals’ impetus to set off a journey through Europe, their response to specific urban and architectural elements embodies substantial transformations of the nineteenth-century Ottoman society. Notable among these are the emergence of middle-class urbanites, the growing curiosity about the empirical data and material know-how of urban modernization, a demand for historical consciousness and reification of authentic local cultural values via the built environment, and new modes of leisure culture. This talk centers on travelers’ perception of architecture and urbanism within a self-reflective perspective and displays how late Ottoman travel boom reflected and became a performative aspect of the nineteenth-century Ottoman modernization. 
Bio: Semra Horuz is a historian of architecture and urbanism specializing in late Ottoman visual and material cultures. Her studies focus on the nineteenth-century Ottoman modernization and the transformation of Istanbul. She has also sustained interested in cultural mobilities and digital humanities. Horuz received her MA in Architectural History from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara and obtained her Ph.D. from the Technical University of Vienna, Austria. Before joining in AKPIA@MIT, she was a visiting PhD student in University of Oxford, and worked at Bilgi and Bahçeşehir University, both in Istanbul. She now works on her book manuscript-in-progress titled, Ottoman Tour d’Europe: Architecture, Urbanism, and Late Ottoman Travelogues