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Abstract

This article theorizes on resettler nationalism while discussing the architectural impacts of partitions and compulsory mass migrations that have drawn the borders of modern countries. It concentrates on the resettling process after the “Exchange of Populations” (Antallagi/Mübadele, 1923) between Greece and Turkey, which was in effect a partition dividing the Christian and Muslim communities of the Ottoman Empire. It argues that the national and international authorities treated land settlement as a top-down demographic engineering device and its architecture as a modern technological enterprise in a post-conflict setting, failing to notice the trauma of mass expulsion. Reading migrant testimonies on both sides of the Aegean Sea and tracing architectural histories from below exposes the contrast between the accounts of state agents and those subject to resettler nationalism. It reconceptualizes partition as the rift between rulers and peoples and not the rift between two communities.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
Author:

Abstract

When was the city visually regarded and depicted as a comprehensive and intact entity?

Going beyond historiographical conventions and temporal boundaries, this study discusses the specific and crucial moments of discovering the image of the city as a whole, its wide-ranging skyline, full profile, and clear outer borders. Thus, histories of the formation of the distant gaze, a sort of visual withdrawal which enabled us to capture the city as a whole – as an object of visual desire – are disclosed, and attention is drawn to the common patterns of these specific pictorial renditions. Likewise, the sense of detachment is exposed when distance moves beyond its denotation of spatial stance and appears related to discovering the historical time of these urban renditions.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World

Abstract

From the early-nineteenth century onwards, Orientalist visual constructs heavily shaped European depictions and analyses of mosque architecture. Over time, these representations shifted from the Orientalist exoticized scenographic model to the “scientific” language of the orthographic drawing. This article analyzes that process, tracing the evolution of a series of published plan drawings for five historical mosques. Unpacking their authors’ drafting techniques and examining the relationship between the isolation of the drawing and the understanding of the mosque as a timeless monument highlights the gaps of knowledge reproduced within the canonical texts of Islamic architecture and their disciplinary impact.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World

Abstract

This article reflects on Istanbul as a palimpsest city, more specifically, about how architectural typologies, practices, visual tropes and narratives migrate through different contexts in time and space. As a city inherited from the Byzantine Empire, negotiating the intersection of past and present as well as topography and politics has been fundamental to shaping Ottoman Istanbul. The article explores the imperial city through one of its ‘original’ Ottoman structures, the religious and social complex known as külliye, in order to frame its agency, both formal and urbanistic, to reveal not only its extremely rich and imaginative iterations from the conquest of Constantinople to the Tanzimat but also the spatiotemporal relationships between them.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
Author:

Abstract

This article addresses the intertwined history of photography and architectural historiography in the nineteenth century. Focusing on European photography of Egyptian antiquity and Palestine’s biblical sites, it elaborates how a commemorative form of historiography deploys photographic images of what came to be known as the “historic monument” to construct notions of patrimony, historical heritage, national identity, and imperial mission. The second part of the essay discusses photographic monumentalism in Qajar, Iran, and Ottoman Turkey as different responses to Orientalist representations of Middle Eastern architecture by Europeans.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
Author:

Abstract

Questioning the notion of master narratives in the study of architecture, this article explores various histories of the Friday mosque in different geographical and temporal contexts and through the lenses of different schools of religious interpretation. The text presents three case-based examples from ʿAbbasid Baghdad, Mamluk Cairo, and Safavid Isfahan to demonstrate that the pre-modern history of the Friday mosque does not follow a neat chronology. By examining the complex nodes of agencies and associations between the Friday mosque, its patrons and users, and the textual juridical engagements with mosques and prayer, the article demonstrates that the evolution of the Friday mosque was multicentred and asynchronous and always reflecting local religious and political contexts.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World

Abstract

This article reports on recent fieldwork at the site of the early Islamic city Basra, located fifteen kilometres to the southwest of the modern city. The article sets the site within the geographical and historical context of early Islamic Iraq with particular reference to Kufa and Wāsit. In addition, the article contains a review of previous archaeological research followed by a summary of the results from current fieldwork carried out by the authors. Finally, this text highlights the need for further fieldwork both to answer research questions and protect the valuable heritage of Iraq’s first Muslim city.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
Author:

Abstract

Inscriptions containing women’s titles and names on objects are relatively rare occurrences throughout the Islamic world, whether they belong to known personalities or to unknown individuals. This article examines graffiti in the names of women from the Rasulid dynasty in Yemen (626–858/1229–1454), incised on silver-inlaid brass objects mostly made in Mamluk workshops (seventh–eighth/thirteenth–fourteenth centuries) as commissions, gifts, or purchases for the Rasulid sultans of Yemen, which have hitherto been unidentified. Moreover, the titles of these princesses also are found on Ayyubid metal objects. Although of little aesthetic value, these inscriptions hold great historical and social significance by providing details on inheritance, lineage, ownership, and the object’s history.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World
Author:

Abstract

This study explores the epigraphical program of Mamluk preaching pulpits (minbar, pl. manabir), focusing on Quranic and other religious inscriptions. Quranic verses are the most frequently employed inscription, while other religious texts are occasionally cited. These inscriptions emphasize the benefits of endowing mosques, the significance of minbar placement within the mosque, and practices of Muslim devotion comprising the Friday prayer. This article proposes that inscriptions are specifically chosen to signify the minbar as a place for preaching, both for the Friday noon (ḫuṭba) as well as popular preaching (mawʿiẓa). This is particularly evident in the late Mamluk minbars of Cairo, which bear inscriptions of two prominent components of the ḫuṭba. Furthermore, a unique inscriptional reference to using a minbar for mawʿiẓa is also presented.

Open Access
In: Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World