You are kindly invited to a seminar organized by the Department of Interior Architecture
and Environmental Design.
Speaker: Dr. Semra Horuz
Title: “Ottoman Tour d’Europe: Architecture, Urbanism, and Late Ottoman Travelogues”
Date: December 27, 2023, Wednesday
Place: FF Building, FB06
This talk explores the representation of architecture and urban culture in late Ottoman travelogues on Western Europe. Among the many outcomes of the nineteenth-century Ottoman transformations was the travel boom led by the Ottoman intellectuals. Their journeys were motivated by curiosity and admiration, but more importantly, by a self-appointed task of learning modernity en route. There are more than twenty travelogues that were published by Ottoman intellectuals in Istanbul between 1850-1910. The travelogues are filled with personal insights ranging from a visual depiction of the interior of a church in London to a list of sites proper for planning as a public park in Istanbul. The larger project of this research is writing a revisionist architectural history of modernisms both in terms of content and methodology. It traces the social and cultural dynamics in which late Ottoman travel boom proliferated and displays how this travel regime reflected and became a performative aspect of Ottoman modernization. In addition to the book format, it seeks to map the circulation of ideas, people, and architectural materials as an online data-set. After a brief introduction of the broader project, this talk focuses on Ottoman travelers’ descriptive framework of European buildings, public interiors, and the meanings attributed to them with a self-reflective approach to Ottoman architecture. It also delves into travelers’ competing visions of history, architectural heritage, and representation of past in architectural forms.
Semra Horuz is a historian of architecture specializing in late Ottoman material and visual cultures. Her research focus on the art and architecture of modernities in west Asia contexts particularly through transnational interactions. She also has an interest in the nineteenth-century cultural mobilities, collecting, and display. Her dissertation, now a book project, traces the architectural history of the nineteenth-century Ottoman travelogues on Europe. Her scholarship has been supported by the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA), Society of Architectural Historians, and London Arts & Humanities Partnership among others. Horuz received her B.A. from Bilkent, her M.A. from METU, and her Ph.D. from Technical University of Vienna. She previously held a visiting doctoral researcher position in University of Oxford, and teaching positions at Istanbul Bilgi and Bahçeşehir University. During the 2022-23 academic year, Horuz was a post-doctoral research fellow in the AKPIA at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome.