Picturing modern Ankara: 'New Turkey' in western imagination

The project, led by Dr Davide Deriu, focuses on the making of modern Ankara in the 1920s­–30s. At this juncture, when Turkey’s secular nation state emerged from the debris of the Ottoman Empire, the new capital provided an unexpected terrain of encounters between East and West. The investigation of an uncharted body of sources (including history books; travelogues; novels; reviews; film; photographs; etc) shed light on the cross-cultural perceptions of modern Ankara. It also revealed how the rapid transformation of this forlorn town into a capital city contributed to shape the Western imagination of the nascent Turkish Republic. In 2011, Deriu was awarded an Early-Career Fellowship by the AHRC to develop this project (also listed in The Guardian’s Higher Education Network).

The key outputs relating to the project to date are:

  • Deriu, Davide. 'Picturing Modern Ankara: “New Turkey” in Western Imagination.' The Journal of Architecture, 18 (4), 497-527.
  • Deriu, Davide. 'A Challenge to the West: British Views of Republican Ankara.' In: Gharipour, Mohammad and Ozlu, Nilay (eds.), The City in the Muslim World: Depictions by Western Travel Writers (London: Routledge, 2015), pp. 279-302.

Additionally, in 2012 Deriu organised at the University of Westminster the symposium ‘The Making of Modern Ankara: Space, Politics, Representation’, in collaboration with Professor Benjamin Fortna of SOAS. This international and interdisciplinary event contributed to reassess the history of the Turkish capital within a wider cultural and geopolitical context.

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