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Modernism and the Middle East

Architecture and Politics in the Twentieth Century

edited by Sandy Isenstadt and Kishwar Rizvi

Publication Year: 2008

Published by: University of Washington Press

Series: Studies in Modernity and National Identity

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pp. vii-viii

This book emerged from the symposium “Local Sites of Global Practice: Modernism and the Middle East,” held at Yale University’s School of Architecture, April 4–5, 2003. The symposium was organized to address a pressing issue in architecture today: the emerging friction between increasingly globalized economic and cultural relationships and an...

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pp. ix-x

We are indebted to Yale University’s School of Architecture, under the leadership of Dean Robert A. M. Stern, for the sponsorship of “Local Sites of Global Practice: Modernism and the Middle East,” the symposium in which many of these essays were first presented. We are grateful as well for financial support from the...

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Introduction: Modern Architecture and the Middle East: The Burden of Representation

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pp. 3-36

The essays in this volume investigate the contribution that local Middle Eastern contexts make to discourses in international modernism. The essayists define modernization not only as the extension of industrialized building processes and urban infrastructure, but also as the spread of ideals of progress and standards of comfort...

Part I: Colonial Constructions

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1. Jerusalem Remade

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pp. 39-60

In the nineteenth century the Old City of Jerusalem was a rich historical mix: a Roman grid obscured by nearly two millennia of later construction. Monuments to different political hegemonies survived: the Herodian retaining-wall of al-Haram al-Sharif, the Constantinian and Crusader Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Umayyad Dome of the...

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2. Modern Architecture, Preservation, and the Discourse on Local Culture in Italian Colonial Libya

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pp. 61-78

This essay examines the discourse on local culture in Italian colonial Libya and the related use of indigenous building forms by architects working in the region. During the course of the 1930s two distinct approaches to the appropriation of local forms emerged in architectural discourse. The earliest of these tendencies,which began with...

Part II: Building the Nation

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3. Visions of Iraq: Modernizing the Past in 1950s Baghdad

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pp. 81-96

On August 23, 1921, the citizens of Baghdad witnessed a hastily arranged, historic, and somewhat comical ceremony. In the courtyard of the Serai, a grand-looking 1861 Ottoman palace, British military and civil administrators stood solemnly during a symbolic transfer of power. The leader that the British had hand-picked to govern...

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4. Baghdad’s Urban Restructuring, 1958: Aesthetics and the Politics of Nation Building

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pp. 97-115

In August 1955 the Iraq Development Board, a quasi-governmental body overseeing an accelerated program of national modernization in the young nation of Iraq, solicited the Greek architect and planner Constantinos A. Doxiadis to prepare an ambitious housing program for the entire country. Chaired by Iraq’s premier and supported by Western...

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5. Democracy, Development, and the Americanization of Turkish Architectural Culture in the 1950s

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pp. 116-138

With the landslide election victory of the Democrat Party (DP) on May 14, 1950, Turkey’s early republican period came to a decisive end. Abandoning the secular authoritarianism, statist economic policies, and nationalist isolationism of the Republican Peoples’ Party during the previous two decades, the DP regime promoted...

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6. Temporal States of Architecture: Mass Immigration and Provisional Housing in Israel

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pp. 139-160

This essay examines the provisional architecture of the ma’abaras (transit towns) that were built to temporarily house immigrants who came to Israel during the period of “mass immigration” (1948–51), and were to be dismantled without a trace once the Israeli government settled these immigrants in permanent...

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7. Modernisms in Conflict: Architecture and Cultural Politics in Post-1967 Jerusalem

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pp. 161-185

Shortly after the 1967 War, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the Old City formerly governed by Jordan, the feverish building of the unilaterally unified city began. Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek, who wanted a bounded and efficient city, fought against the government’s plans to extend Jerusalem’s boundaries into the occupied...

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8. Palestinian Remembrance Days and Plans: Kafr Qasim, Fact and Echo

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pp. 186-217

Even when facts are not in dispute, some people want to remember, others want to forget. When facts are in dispute, the divide between those who want to remember and those who want to efface widens. How are memories and commemorative practices metonyms for the larger Palestinian predicament, in particular for...

Part III: Overviews and Openings

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9. Global Ambition and Local Knowledge

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pp. 221-254

When Walter Gropius began a decade-long master plan for Baghdad University in 1953, the sensuous curves, courtyards, and mashribiya screens of his buildings projected orientalist fantasies in high-tech concrete (see fig. 9.1). During these same years, Josep Lluis Sert infused the American Embassy in Baghdad (1955–61) with his personal...

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10. From Modernism to Globalization: The Middle East in Context

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pp. 255-266

Looking at the problems of cities today, one cannot ignore the revolutionary developments that have occurred in the world since the 1960s. Trends such as the transnationalization of capital, the internationalization of labor, the steady increase in global trading and communication, and the ensuing competition between...


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pp. 267-287


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pp. 289-292


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pp. 293-303

E-ISBN-13: 9780295800301
E-ISBN-10: 0295800305
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295987941
Print-ISBN-10: 0295987944

Publication Year: 2008

Series Title: Studies in Modernity and National Identity