Empire, Architecture, and the City
French-Ottoman Encounters, 1830-1914
- PUBLISHED: November 2008
- SUBJECT LISTING: Middle East Studies, Architecture
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 368 Pages, 7 x 10 in, 223 illus., 33 in color
- SERIES: Studies in Modernity and National Identity
- ISBN: 9780295987798
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Winner of the 2010 Spiro Kostof Award (sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians)
Empire building and modernity dominate the history of the nineteenth century. The French and Ottoman empires capitalized on modern infrastructure and city building to control diverse social, cultural, and political landscapes. Zeynep Celik examines the cities of Algeria and Tunisia under French colonial rule and those of the Ottoman Arab provinces. By shifting the emphasis from the “centers” of Paris and Istanbul to the “peripheries,” she presents a more nuanced look at cross-cultural exchanges. The different political agendas of the French and Ottoman empires reveal the myriad meanings behind remarkably similar urban forms and buildings. This lavishly illustrated volume makes numerous archival plans, photographs, and postcards available for the first time, along with reproductions from periodicals and official yearbooks.
Roads, railroads, ports, and waterways served many imperial agendas, ranging from military to commercial and even ideological. Interventions changed the urban fabrics in unprecedented ways: straight arteries were cut through cities, European-style quarters were appended to historic cores, and new industrial and mining towns, military posts, and administrative centers were built according to the latest trends. These major feats of engineering were carefully planned to construct a modern image while addressing practical concerns of growth and communication.
Celik discusses public squares as privileged sites of imperial expression, as evidenced by the buildings that defined them and the iconographically charged monuments that adorned them. She examines the architecture of public buildings. Theaters, schools, and hospitals and the offices that housed the imperial administrative apparatus (city halls, government palaces, post offices, police stations, and military structures) were new secular monuments, designed according to European models but in a range of architectural expressions.
Public ceremonies, set against modern urban spaces, played key roles in conveying political messages. Celik maps out their orchestrated occupation of streets and squares. She concludes with questions on how the various attitudes of both empires engaged cultural differences, race, and civilizing missions.
Authors & Contributors
Zeynep Celik is distinguished professor of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is the author of several books including The Remaking of Istanbul: Portrait of an Ottoman City in the Nineteenth Century, Displaying the Orient, and Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule.
A Note on Transliterations and Dates
1. Imperial Infrastructures
2. Transforming Urban Fabrics
3. New Public Spaces
4. A New Monumentality and an Official Architecture
5. Affirming Empire: Public Ceremonies
Ambitious in scope, marvelously conceived, meticulously researched, and generously illustrated, this book . . . an exemplary work of comparative scholarship on imperial urbanism, one that challenges us to consider that similarities between and within empires were greater that their apparent differences.- Preeti Chopra, Buildings and Landscapes
Zeynep Celik's new book masterfully weaves together urban and architectural studies with cultural and intellectual history in what will stand as a key contribution to the study of imperialism and modernity. . . . A testament to the merit of this book is the range of questions it provokes and will likely continue to provoke for some time.- Journal of the American Oriental Society
Zeynep Celik's elegant and insightful study, Empire and the City is a model of brilliant scholarship and complex cross-cultural analysis. Thanks to her subtle handling of a rich array of archival materials, and to her thorough analysis, Celik points us toward a deeper understanding of a lost world of empire and aspiration, and toward a clearer vision of 'modernity.' Empire and the City tells a compelling story—it is a milestone of scholarship and a terrific read.- 2010 Spiro Kostof Award Committee, on awarding the prize from the Society of Architectural Historians
Celik provides important lessons for those who see our present condition as absolutely unique to our own time. In some ways Empire, Architecture, and the City allows us to look at globalization as a further destabilization and diffusion of the concept of empire—one that is perhaps no longer connected to concepts of space and place, but that nevertheless still reflects an unequal distribution of power that is infinitely more pervasive than it was in the past and that is tied to larger and more numerous imperials interests.- American Historical Review
A timely study that provides significant insights into pressing debates about modernity and imperialism, Empire, Architecture, and the City should enjoy a broad audience within and well beyond the fields of urban and architectural history. Celik's book offers a refreshing counterpoint to the prevailing monographic focus on individual cities of much recent urban history, particularly studies focused on imperial and colonial situations. While this book is certainly essential reading for scholars of the French and Ottoman empires, it has much to teach all historians of the modern period interested in better understanding the far-reaching and still on-going consequences of nineteenth-century imperialism.- H-Net
In her remarkably researched study, Zeynep Celik not only constructs an innovative parallel between a dwindling empire and a developing one, but she also sheds light on the mutual observation policies of Turkey and France. Empire, Architecture, and the City sets new standards in the study of colonial city planning and building design, challenging accepted views on European domination, thanks to a precise comparison of the agents and ideologies at work.- Jean—Louis Cohen, Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture, New York University
Empire, Architecture, and the City is very original for its in—depth comparison of the Ottoman and French empires in Arab regions, their political policies, and architectural and ceremonial symbols. The comparison turns out to be an effective way of explaining common themes and variations, mutual influences, and the differences between the empires.- Ira M. Lapidus, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
This is an extremely significant project since it fundamentally questions and, through its judicious deployment of extensive data, demonstrates that the old binary of East versus West, Islam versus Christianity, can not historically be defended.- Julia Clancy—Smith, Department of History, University of Arizona