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Title: Unfixing place : a study of Istanbul through topographical practices
Author: Senel, S. A.
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis explores how topographical theories and practices can unfix place with specific reference to selected contemporary maps, documentary films and guidebooks of Istanbul. The project questions the traditional surveying methods that architecture and geography employ to represent a place and suggests instead mapping as a subjective practice that performs place as hybrid and multiple, Each chapter of this thesis discusses the shift from surveying to mapping, in relation to different topographical practices in twentieth century Istanbul, in terms of the graphic (chapter 3), filmic (chapter 4) and the textual (chapter 5). In chapter 1, I identify how the term topography has been used to date in architectural theory and geography, and define instead a newly emerging form of topography, which unfixes rather than fixes place. Drawing on contemporary feminist and poststructuralist theories of travel and representation. I critique traditional surveying methods as inadequate since they assume stable and single positions of knowledge in relation to place. I argue instead that the critical topographical practices starting in the 1990s suggest an understanding of topography that is more performative than representational. In chapter 2. 1 explore these ideas in relation to some critical topographical practices evident in certain contemporary artworks. This thesis intends to make an original contribution to the knowledge and understanding of topographical theory and practice in relation to contemporary Istanbul in four ways. F irst. I use feminist and poststructuralist theories to explore how contemporary maps, guidebooks and documentary films perform rather than represent Istanbul as place as unfixed. multiple and hybrid. Second. I rethink these often generic theories in relation to the particular topographic practices that map urban space, specifically Istanbul. Third, I critique the conventional understanding of topography as site in architectural theory and recast topography as both site and more importantly practice, fourth, I propose a critical topographical practice in the form of a DVD, which explores and critiques the maps, guidebooks, and documentary films which are also explored in the text.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available