Keynote Lecture at Cities on the Move

Burcu Dogramaci gives a keynote lecture at the conference “Cities on the Move: Turkey and Yugoslavia in the Interwar Period” (14.-16.9.2017) at the University of Basel.


Her lecture is dedicated to Ankara as a capital in transition: after its founding in 1923 the city was permanently under construction. Photographs in journals and guides of the 1930s and 1940s reflected the erection of the new capital city, often in contrast to Istanbul as the old capital of the Ottoman Empire. Taking the official image of Ankara as a point of departure, the lecture will develop a multilayered perspective on Ankara and its signature buildings. In this context, the focus will be placed on the central question of what photographic images were formulated of the rise of a new town and of the old Istanbul. How did contemporary journals, such as “La Turquie Kemaliste”, report? What perspective was adopted by the photographer Othmar Pferschy, the photographer for the Ministry of the Interior of Turkey, who dedicated himself in his photographs primarily to progress and modernity? And what is the other message conveyed by the pictures taken by immigrants to Turkey, whose lives and work as university professors were closely linked to Ankara and the Faculty of Languages, History and Geography, built by the architect Bruno Taut, who was another émigré. The Lecture examines the forms of photographic appropriation, perspectives and political meanings of the pictorial worlds devoted to the founding of Kemalist Turkey.

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