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Title: A tale of two cities in search of a new identity : the politics of heritage and modernisation in early 20th-century Izmir and Thessaloniki
Author: Amygdalou, K.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 8266
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Recent research on multiple modernities and hybridity has brought under fruitful criticism earlier Eurocentric accounts that constructed non-Western countries as passive receivers of European modernism. It has revealed the complexity of interactions across geographies and brought into focus processes of cross-pollination and interpretation, and the dimension of power and agency. However the majority of studies examine the relationship between a ‘Western’ and a ‘non-Western’ context, hence missing issues of influence and antagonism among the neighbouring ‘peripheral’ actors themselves. Building on this stream of scholarship and in response to this vacuum, my research examines the multi-directional flow of ideas and people between Western Europe, Turkey and Greece in the early 20th century, within the framework of modernisation and nation-building. Through this ‘triangulation’, it aims to contribute to the critique of constructed categories such as East-West bipolarities, to uncover unexplored interactions, and to address the complexity of drawing geographical and temporal borders. The window through which this exploration takes place is the transition of two cities, Thessaloniki and Izmir, from the Ottoman context to two separate nation-states. Having lost their minority communities and having been devastated by fire in 1917 and 1922 respectively, they were redesigned by French and English architects. Drawing from reader theory and critical studies on nation-building and modernisation, and based on extensive archival research in Greece, Turkey and France, I explore the urbanist and architectural activity in these two cities during a period when identities were debated and (trans)formed as the Ottoman Empire was dissolved. The relevance of this research lies in its offering a new approach to the modern architectural history of Izmir and Thessaloniki, with wider implications in terms of historical analysis, in its uncovering of unvoiced aspects of the region’s encounters with its past and with the deemed West, and in its contribution to a critical re-reading of our past and present today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available