YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies is a peer reviewed, open access, international academic journal featuring cutting-edge research on Istanbul’s past and present, published by the Istanbul Research Institute in print and online (via Dergipark).
YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies is accepting submissions of original research articles, opinion pieces (Meclis), book and exhibition reviews in English or Turkish, by researchers working on any period of the city through the lens of history, history of art and architecture, archaeology, sociology, anthropology, geography, urban planning, urban studies, and other related disciplines in humanities or social sciences.
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After all, Hagia Sophia is hardly an innocent participant in the vicissitudes of empire.
In the first piece of the “Interventions to the Istanbul Studies” special dossier in this year’s Meclis, Roland Betancourt reminds us of the imperial and violent legacies of Hagia Sophia. We had begun working on the “Interventions” series back in the Summer of 2020, amid the biggest wave of the Black Lives Matter protests that swept across North America as well as many other parts of the world in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, and in response to the intertwined issues of police brutality and systemic racism. We were inspired by succes¬sive academic associations that affirmed their commitment to fighting against racism and anti-Blackness, exposing and eradicating issues of discrimination embedded in their fields. That was also the time when the public in Turkey as well as students of Ottoman, Byzan-tine, and Turkish studies were heavily engaged with the debates around the re-conversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque. As the move was justified or criticized based on differing interpretations of the legal and symbolic status of the monument, as well as contradicting visions of larger histories of Istanbul, we witnessed firsthand how the study of Istanbul was instrumentalized and politicized for the goals and ambitions of competing stakeholders. Yes, neither Hagia Sophia and Istanbul, nor the research devoted to them, have been “innocent participants in the vicissitudes” of empires, nation-states, ideologies, and other manifestations of power and resistance. As we have cherished the emerging spaces for academic and public discussions initiated by our colleagues worldwide on our own disciplines’ complicity and willful participation in systems of oppression, we have realized that we must also commit to self-reflexivity and open Istanbul studies to a critical investigation of its own biases, embedded discriminations, and habits of objectification and tokenism. Under the generous guidance and co-editorship of three members of our Advisory Board—Koray Durak, Cemal Kafadar, and Christine Philliou—we are excited to present the first three pieces of our “Interventions to Istanbul Studies” series, where Betancourt is joined by Zavier Wingham and Lerna Ekme¬kcioglu. We are hoping that this series will contribute to ongoing critical discussions on the study of Istanbul and its connected fields.
The critical study of Istanbul does not begin or end in our special dossier, of course. The third volume of YILLIK includes five research articles on different periods of Istanbul, written from a variety of perspectives, using diverse methods. The Early Career Article Prize is awarded to Ezgi Dikici, whose erudite study of the properties of court eunuchs in early modern Istanbul brings a new perspective to how the members of the royal household engaged with their urban setting. Gavin Moulton’s article on the Şişli Mosque critically engages with the ways in which the mid-twentieth-century architectural practice reimagined and appropriated the stylistic vocabulary of Ottoman architecture; while Semra Horuz shows how Ottoman intellectuals traveling to Europe in the nineteenth century reimagined Istanbul and projected their ambitions for their capital to the European towns they visited. Gökçen Erkılıç brings the insights of a materialist methodology into the study of the transformation of Istanbul’s ports and coastal zones. Finally, Muhammed Tatlısu situates Karabet Keşişyan as a central figure in the Ottoman history of publishing and printing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The fact that two research articles of the present volume highlight the importance of Black and Armenian actors in the history of Istanbul is apropos given the goals of our special Meclis dossier.
In addition to the special dossier, this year’s Meclis includes M. Baha Tanman’s notes on the recent restoration of the Haseki Mosque. In Cabinet, Alison Terndrup analyzes a nineteenth-century engraving that depicts an eighteenth-century courtly procession from the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Collection. We publish four book and two exhibition reviews, with topics varying from the architectural practice and discourse in the last two decades in Turkey to the famous bronze horseman of Justinian. Our reviews section is fol¬lowed, as always, by the most recent edition of the Istanbul Bibliography.
The third volume of YILLIK, just like the second, has been prepared in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As the disease took its toll on our communities in numerous ways, Istanbul studies has lost one of its brightest minds. Yavuz Sezer (1979–2021), an architectural historian of the Ottoman Empire, passed away on March 24, while we were expecting an article submission from him. Our scholarly community also lost, not due to the pandemic, one of its most esteemed members, architectural historian Doğan Kuban (1926–2021), who passed away on September 22. We are privileged to publish two In Memoriam pieces by his student and colleague Zeynep Ahunbay, and his colleague and niece Zeynep Kuban. The latter piece presents a bibliography of Kuban’s work on Istanbul compiled by Zeynep Kuban and her students. This volume is therefore dedicated to the memories and intellectual legacies of Dr. Sezer and Professor Kuban.
The Editorial Board
Click here to access YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies 3 (2021).
Muhammed Tatlısu – Kitapçı Karabet Efendi’nin Osmanlı Matbuatına Katkıları Üzerine Bir Methal
M. Baha Tanman - İstanbul Haseki Camii’ne İlişkin Bazı Gözlemler
Koray Durak, Cemal Kafadar, Christine Philliou – Introduction: Interventions to Istanbul Studies
Roland Betancourt – The Monuments We Privilege, or, How to Write an Ethical History of Byzantium
Lerna Ekmekcioglu – Of Dark Pasts and Pipe Dreams: The Turkish University
Zeynep Ahunbay –In Memoriam: Doğan Kuban (8 Nisan 1926–22 Eylül 2021)
Zeynep Kuban – Introducing Doğan Kuban’s Istanbul Bibliography
Reviews and Istanbul Bibliography
Esra Akcan, Open Architecture: Migration, Citizenship, and the Urban Renewal of Berlin-Kreuzberg by IBA–1984/87. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2018. Reviewed by Kathleen James-Chakraborty.
Elena N. Boeck, The Bronze Horseman of Justinian in Constantinople: The Cross-Cultural Biography of a Mediterranean Monument. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021. Reviewed by Brigitte Pitarakis.
Fatih’in Rönesansı. İBB Saraçhane Belediye Sarayı, October 6–December 4 2020, Istanbul. Curated by Nurhan Atasoy. Reviewed by Sevil Enginsoy Ekinci.
Istanbul Bibliography 2021. Compiled by Ryan Mitchell and Miray Eroğlu.
Istanbul is a city of careless, sensitive, callous, vulnerable, and drifting souls, who touch, hurt, love, and hate each other […] The violence it is subjected to ever increases. And one finds it more difficult to find a harmony in this chaos, to breathe alongside the rising skyscrapers, and to be in peace with the city as historic and symbolic places are destroyed or converted one by one…
The words of the co-editors of one of the two thematic dossiers (“Imagining the City”) in YILLIK 2’s Meclis ring even more true in late 2020, as it has become literally more difficult to breathe not only alongside the city’s skyscrapers but under our masks, and breathing in close proximity to each other remains a public as well as individual health risk. Only a few months after Çiğdem Kafescioğlu opened our inaugural volume by writing—and recounting from Mustafa Âli—“this city is a realm of rain; [of ] frustration, fear, and death; a realm of venom and blood in the days of the plague; a realm of grief and sorrow for the expelled and the poor in tears,” Istanbul found itself at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey. The number of people it has affected are unclear, but the stories of frustration, fear, poverty, death, grief, and sorrow abound. The pandemic has only deepened and crystallized the spatial and environmental inequalities embedded in the making of the present-day city.
Crystallized further is the coexistence of humans and nonhumans alike and the impact of nonhuman (f)actors on urban life. The unending encroachment upon wildlife by humans is the primary reason behind the rise of global pandemics, and the loss of urban green spaces in metropolises such as Istanbul is a major factor that worsens the impact. In a year when many of us—who can afford to—work from home, our dependence on the networks established through physical infrastructures of broadband, wireless, and satellite systems, to sustain our virtual proximities, has reached hitherto unseen levels. In Istanbul, living, working, loving, and dying are now assembled at the intersection of all of these networks—human and nonhuman, virus and wireless—as is the case with producing YILLIK’s 2020 volume, made possible by the work of authors, editors, copyeditors, designers, typesetters, assistants, and printers, all physically distant from one another.
It might be too early to provide full-blown analyses of the current pandemic’s impact on Istanbul, but YILLIK’s second volume does provide perspectives from the history of medicine with Fezanur Karaağaçlıoğlu’s and Akif Ercihan Yerlioğlu’s articles. The former is a study of the plague in nineteenth-century Galata-Pera, and the latter, “‘May Those Who Understand What I Wrote Remember This Humble One’: Paratextual Elements in Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Medical Manuscripts” is the winner of our Early Career Article Prize.
Further historical perspectives help YILLIK to record Istanbul’s present-day transformation, as in the case of Hasan Sercan Sağlam’s article on the Galata Tower, which was subjected to a contested takeover by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and a controversial restoration in recent months. Serra Akboy-İlk offers a historiographical discussion in her article on early republican architectural discourse, while Gábor Fodor delves into the history of one of the first foreign research institutions established in Istanbul.
In Cabinet, Brigitte Pitarakis provides a close reading of Byzantine iconography on a nineteenth-century paper icon from the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Collection portraying the Second Coming and Last Judgment.
In Meclis, the first thematic dossier, co-edited by Olcay Akyıldız and Zeynep Uysal, is an outcome of the Pera Museum’s 2014 symposium “Imagining the City,” with pieces by Selim Sırrı Kuru, Hatice Aynur, Handan İnci, and a photo essay by Murat Germen that offers a vivid display of Istanbul’s brutal transformation in recent years and the spatial inequalities this has fostered. The second thematic dossier in Meclis marks Hagia Sophia’s recent reconversion to a mosque, probably the most consequential event in 2020 concerning Istanbul’s historical heritage. Edited by Brigitte Pitarakis, with pieces by Pitarakis, Arietta Papaconstantinou, and Koray Durak, it deals with experiencing Hagia Sophia in the past, and the diverse encounters with it, for as Papaconstantinou puts it, “like the stones that composed its decoration, so its visitors came from all over the empire and beyond.” These are accompanied by Marios Philippides’ piece on the “dating” of one of the most important dates in the city’s history: May 29, 1453.
YILLIK’s 2020 volume also features an expansive range of both book and exhibition reviews on a variety of topics, from the reception and appropriation of Byzantium into modernism to Islamic art in North American museum collections. Lastly, the Istanbul Bibliography, compiled by our student assistants, once again brings together current research on Istanbul.
Now onto the next one, with hopes for a better year ahead as we continue to keep record of Istanbul’s past, present, and possible futures.
The Editorial Board
Click here to access YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies 2 (2020).
Fezanur Karaağaçlıoğlu – Exotic and Toxic? Plague in Early Nineteenth-Century Galata-Pera
Akif Ercihan Yerlioğlu – “May Those Who Understand What I Wrote Remember This Humble One”: Paratextual Elements in Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Medical Manuscripts
Hasan Sercan Sağlam – Galata Kulesi’nin Ceneviz Dönemine Yönelik Bir Yeniden Değerlendirme
Serra Akboy-İlk – Building the Architectural Narrative of the Topkapı Kara Ahmed Pasha Mosque Complex in Early Republican Turkey
Gábor Fodor – Harp İstanbul’unda Macar Arkeolojisi: Konstantinopolis Macar Bilim Enstitüsü (1916-1918)
Brigitte Pitarakis – The Naked Soul at the Scales: A Paper Icon in the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Collection
Olcay Akyıldız, Zeynep Uysal – Şehri Hayal Etmek: İstanbul Tahayyülleri
Selim Sırrı Kuru – İki Şehrin Şiiri: Gazelde İstanbul ve Galata İkilisi
Hatice Aynur – Tatavlalı Mahremî’nin Şehnâme’sinde Suriçi İstanbul’u
Handan İnci – Hangi İstanbul? Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar ve Orhan Kemal’in Gözünden Şehre Bakmak
Murat Germen – Şimdilerde Şehir: Hayal Kırıklığı
Brigitte Pitarakis – Hagia Sophia, God’s Chosen Ruler, and St. Nicholas: New Perspectives on the Macedonian Dynasty
Arietta Papaconstantinou – The Sound of a Thousand Tongues: Visitors to Constantinople from the Eastern Provinces in the Sixth Century
Koray Durak – Hapishanede Ayasofya’yı Düşünmek: El-Ömerî ile Balaban’ın Kostantiniyye’deki Ulu Kilise Üzerine Sohbeti
Marios Philippides – The Date of the Conquest of Constantinople: May 29, 1453?
Reviews and Istanbul Bibliography 2020
Florin Leonte, Imperial Visions of Late Byzantium: Manuel II Palaiologos and Rhetoric in Purple. Reviewed by Paul Magdalino
Gülsün Tanyeli, “Hiçbir Üstâd Böyle Kâr Etmemişdir”: Osmanlı İnşaat Teknolojisi Tarihi. Reviewed by Damla Gürkan-Anar
Zeren Tanındı, Yazıda Âhenk ve Renk: Sadberk Hanım Müzesi Koleksiyonundan Sanatlı Kitaplar, Belgeler ve Hüsn-i Hatlar. Reviewed by Aslıhan Erkmen
Christopher Houston, Istanbul, City of the Fearless: Urban Activism, Coup d’État and Memory in Turkey. Reviewed by Sinan Erensü
Priscus, Fragmenta et Excerpta: Attila ve Bizans Tarihi. Trans. and ed. Turhan Kaçar. Reviewed by Aslıhan Akışık-Karakullukçu
Ayten Alkan, ed., Şehir ve Hayvan. Reviewed by Onur İnal
Roland Betancourt and Maria Taroutina, ed., Byzantium/Modernism: The Byzantine as Method in Modernity. Reviewed by: Przemysław Marciniak
Inspired by the East: How the Islamic World Influenced Western Art. Reviewed by Leyla Kayhan Elbirlik
Connectivités (Connectivities). Reviewed by Ekin Can Göksoy
Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from New York University’s Abby Weed Grey Collection. Reviewed by Lydia Harrington
Istanbul Bibliography 2020. Compiled by Osman Kocabal and Deniz Özcan
Click here for the Call for Papers of the second issue.
A direct successor of İstanbul Araştırmaları Yıllığı / Annual of İstanbul Studies—the academic journal of Istanbul Research Institute published annually between 2012 and 2018—YILLIK is a peer-reviewed and open-access journal published simultaneously in print and online (via DergiPark).
Peer-reviewed articles of YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies 1 (2019) cover a wide range of topics from the changing spatial and visual practices in the early modern Istanbul to the 10th Congress of Byzantine Studies held in Istanbul in 1955, dealt with a variety of novel approaches coming from different disciplines such as urban and architectural history, history of science, music, and historiography.
From this year onward, an article written by a student or a researcher who has defended their doctoral theses within the last five years will be awarded the Early Career Article Prize. We wholeheartedly congratulate Nilay Özlü, the winner of the inaugural prize, with her article “Silent Guardians of the Regime: The ‘Lost’ Police Stations of the Topkapı Palace.”
One of the new sections of the journal, the Cabinet is devoted to short essays by renowned experts on historical documents from the collections of the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation (SVIKV). In the first issue, Selim S. Kuru writes on Küsnâme of Tacîzâde Cafer Çelebi, found within the Baldırzâde Mecmuası of the SVIKV Manuscript Collection.
Another new section, Meclis, is designed to serve as a space where proceedings from the events organized by SVIKV can appear, and for critical interventions to current debates on Istanbul. In the first Meclis, we present the proceedings of “Istanbul and Music” Studies Program’s (İMAP) Inaugural Panel, held at the Pera Museum in November 2018.
Reviews and Istanbul Bibliography section features five book reviews and one exhibition review, as well as the newest version of the Istanbul Bibliography, which we have published since 2012.
The call for papers for this issue, which also announced our new format, declared that it would be the eighth issue. However, the name change necessitated a new ISSN, which required us to relaunch our journal with the issue no. 1. Perhaps it was only appropriate for a journal, after a complete transformation of its content, design, and advisory board, to begin afresh with a new title, and from the first issue.
To our old and new readers and potential authors, greetings!
YILLIK: Annual of Istanbul Studies 1 (2019)
Hatice Gökçen Özkaya – İstanbul’da On Yedinci Yüzyıl Evlerinde Yaşama Mekânları
Ayhan Han – Osmanlı Döneminde Yerebatan Sarnıcı ve Mahallesi
Buket Kitapçı Bayrı – The 10th International Congress of Byzantine Studies, Istanbul, September 15–21, 1955
Selim Sırrı Kuru – A Radical Discourse of Desire: Küsnâme
Walter Feldman – The Emergence of Ottoman Music and Local Modernity
Panagiotis C. Poulos – Spaces of Intercommunal Musical Relations in Ottoman Istanbul
Reviews and Istanbul Bibliography
Önder Eren Akgül – Onur İnal and Yavuz Köse, eds., Seeds of Power: Exploration in Ottoman Environmental History. Winwick: The White Horse Press, 2019. xvii+292 pages, 26 figures and tables. ISBN: 9781874267997
Emily Neumeier – Ivana Jevtić and Suzan Yalman, eds., Spolia Reincarnated: Afterlives of Objects, Materials, and Spaces in Anatolia from Antiquity to the Ottoman Era. Istanbul: Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, 2018. xiv+373 pages, 205 figures. ISBN: 9786052116142
Firuzan Melike Sümertaş – Skarlatos Byzantios, Constantinople: A Topographical, Archaeological & Historical Description... Vol. 1: Constantinople intra and circa Muros. Translation and Commentary by Haris Theodorelis-Rigas with a Foreword by Stephanos Pesmazoglou. Istanbul: İstos, 2019 . xviii+ 856 pages. ISBN: 9786054640652
Muhammed Zinciroğlu – Istanbul Bibliography 2019