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Title: Cinema contested : regulation of cinema in the late Ottoman Empire
Author: Çeliktemel-Thomen, Özde
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 619X
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Cinema Contested explores cinema regulations of the late Ottoman Empire (1890s- 1920s). The dissertation uses Ottoman Turkish, French, Turkish, and U.S. archival sources to delineate the intentions of regulators, the practises and the impact of regulation on cinema’s development across the sprawling Ottoman Empire. From the late nineteenth century, nationalist uprisings weakened the political authority of Sultan Abdülhamid II (r. 1876-1909). In the early twentieth century, oppositional political groups pressed for constitutional government, which led to a political reformation. During the final years of the Empire, the turbulent conditions of World War I (1914-1918) created territorial and demographic transformations. Films were initially exhibited in this complex context, principally by foreign itinerant exhibitors, and quickly thereafter by Ottoman merchants. Regulation followed quickly, shaped by the concerns of the political and elite classes in relation to education, Islamic morality, and politics. These regulations also addressed the material operations of cinema, including safety, zoning, and licensing procedures. Cinema came under regulatory scrutiny as did printed media and public entertainments vis-à-vis its political function. Yet, the authorities’ lax enforcement practises created a complex and ambiguous system. Ottoman legislators drafted a number of regulations over film exhibition, production and circulation. Multiple government agencies, at the central and local levels, endeavoured to control exhibition practises and venues. Regulations targeted specific audiences, notably children and women, who were seen as the ‘future of the state’ and ‘bearers of the nation’. Discourses and practises of the Ottoman dominant class became particularly visible in the attempts to limit cinemagoing, ban certain films, or promote educational and ‘harmless’ productions for ‘vulnerable’ audiences. This process was not simply repressive, but also helped shape how cinema would develop in the region. The dissertation provides a detailed historical analysis of the primary sources in order to reconstruct the multifaceted landscape of cinema regulations in this tumultuous region and period.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available