Download Possessors and Possessed: Museums, Archaeology, and the by Wendy M.K. Shaw PDF

By Wendy M.K. Shaw

Possessors and Possessed analyzes how and why museums--characteristically Western institutions--emerged within the late-nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire. Shaw argues that, instead of at once emulating post-Enlightenment museums of Western Europe, Ottoman elites produced different types of assortment and modes of exhibit acceptable to framing a brand new identification for the empire within the smooth period. unlike late-nineteenth-century Euro-American museums, which applied organizational schema in accordance with positivist notions of development to arrange shows of excellent arts, Ottoman museums featured army spoils and antiquities lengthy sooner than they grew to become to the "Islamic" collections with which they could were extra quite simply linked. the advance of those a number of modes of assortment mirrored transferring moments in Ottoman id construction. Shaw exhibits how Ottoman museums have been in a position to use assortment and exhibition as units with which to weave counter-colonial narratives of id for the Ottoman Empire. amazing for either the scope and the intensity of its learn, Possessors and Possessed lays the basis for destiny inquiries into the improvement of museums outdoor of the Euro-American milieu.

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Additional resources for Possessors and Possessed: Museums, Archaeology, and the Visualization of History in the Late Ottoman Empire (Ahmanson-Murphy Fine Arts Book)

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The changes brought about by the Tanzimat reflected a newfound need for an interaction between the state and its subjects beyond the collection of taxes and the conscription of armies. 19 Increasingly over the course of the nineteenth century, it became important for the Ottoman government to create channels of communication with its populace in order to foster loyalty and consolidate its power. One of the earliest signs of this shift lies in the publication of an official government newspaper in 1831, the Calendar of Events (Takvim-i Vaka’-i).

26 During the Ottoman period, people often ascribed supernatural powers to antiquities embedded in the city walls. For example, in 1625 the travelers Sir Thomas Roe and William Petty, charged with collecting antiquities for the earl of Arundel and the duke of Buckingham, contrived a plan to acquire the reliefs from the Golden Gate of Constantinople, which had become part of the walls of the Castle of the Seven Towers (Yedikule). 27 This story suggests that the European travelers may have had a more absolute vision of the Islamic interdiction against sculpture than did the Muslim elite of the Ottoman Empire.

As a result, they inadvertently created numerous economic and physical inroads for European nations who were all too eager for a piece of the coveted Ottoman pie. Yet they also allowed for the invention of a public Ottoman national identity to blockade these paths of colonial incursion. Although the process of change that the reforms of the Tanzimat engendered has been loosely labeled “Westernization,” this designation poses problems on multiple levels. Certainly, no “West” exists that corresponds to the monolith suggested by Ottoman-Turkish imaginings.

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