The Transformation of Knowledge of Architecture in Tanzimat Era

The discourse of 'westernization' utilized for discussing the eighteenth and nineteenth century Ottoman architecture emphasizes the formal similarities of these buildings to those in Europe. This is quite problematic because it implies conceptual oppositions such as original/copy or East/West. Instead, it is argued here that there is need for a new historiographical strategy with further emphasis on the Ottoman subject for discussing the nineteenth century Ottoman architecture in regard to its limited textual context. Thus, this study proposes that in this period the mechanism of true knowledge has been reconstituted upon the discursive field shaped in line with the discourse on West and the subject of this process is the Tanzimat bureaucrat/intellectual. This transformation also has direct influence on the architectural practices. In this respect, it is aimed here to discuss how the term fenn-i mimârî (science of architecture) was utilized in certain discursive practices in tune with the transformation of architectural knowledge and how the meaning it implied was transformed accordingly. In addition, this study examines how the historic fabric of the city that became visible through Istanbul was further included within the concurrent territory of architectural practices as a newly flourishing and popular realm of knowledge.


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