Winner of the 2010 Spiro Kostof Award (sponsored by the Society of Architectural Historians)
Empire building and modernity dominate the history of the nineteenth century. The French and Ottoman empires capitalized on modern infrastructure and city building to control diverse social, cultural, and political landscapes. Zeynep Celik examines the cities of Algeria and Tunisia under French colonial rule and those of the Ottoman Arab provinces. By shifting the emphasis from the "centers" of Paris and Istanbul to the "peripheries," she presents a more nuanced look at cross-cultural exchanges. The different political agendas of the French and Ottoman empires reveal the myriad meanings behind remarkably similar urban forms and buildings. This lavishly illustrated volume makes numerous archival plans, photographs, and postcards available for the first time, along with reproductions from periodicals and official yearbooks.
Roads, railroads, ports, and waterways served many imperial agendas, ranging from military to commercial and even ideological. Interventions changed the urban fabrics in unprecedented ways: straight arteries were cut through cities, European-style quarters were appended to historic cores, and new industrial and mining towns, military posts, and administrative centers were built according to the latest trends. These major feats of engineering were carefully planned to construct a modern image while addressing practical concerns of growth and communication.
Celik discusses public squares as privileged sites of imperial expression, as evidenced by the buildings that defined them and the iconographically charged monuments that adorned them. She examines the architecture of public buildings. Theaters, schools, and hospitals and the offices that housed the imperial administrative apparatus (city halls, government palaces, post offices, police stations, and military structures) were new secular monuments, designed according to European models but in a range of architectural expressions.
Public ceremonies, set against modern urban spaces, played key roles in conveying political messages. Celik maps out their orchestrated occupation of streets and squares. She concludes with questions on how the various attitudes of both empires engaged cultural differences, race, and civilizing missions. 223 illus., 33 in color