Changing imaginations of Istanbul. From Oriental to the “Cool” city

My talk focuses on how the historical imagination of Istanbul as an Oriental city re-surfaces in recent imaginations of “cool” Istanbul. First, I discuss how consequent imaginations of Istanbul as an Oriental city in the 19th century, as a Third World city in the second half of the 20th century, as a global city after the 1990s were produced in time and place. Then I look closely at the imagination of Istanbul as a “cool” city and investigate in what ways the older imaginations of Istanbul re-appear in this new imagination. Then I analyze several popular visual cultural products such as television commercials in which the imagination of the Oriental Istanbul re-emerges in and contained by the “cool” city imagination. I complete my talk by highlighting the relationship between this most recent paradigmatic change in discourses on Istanbul and the politics of the material production of urban space in Istanbul within the last 10 years.

BIO | Dr. Derya Özkan studied Architecture and Sociology at Middle East Technical University (Turkey), and then Society, Science and Technology at Istanbul Technical University (Turkey) and Maastricht University (The Netherlands). After obtaining her PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester (USA) in 2008, Özkan joined the Institute of European Ethnology at LMU. She currently holds an Emmy Noether Fellowship and works on her research project titled “Changing Imaginations of Istanbul. From Oriental to the ‘Cool’ City”.

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