- Allure of the Light, Fear of the Dark: Nighttime Illumination, Spectacle, and Order in Fin-de-Siècle Istanbul
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 37, Number 2, August 2017
- pp. 280-298
- View Citation
- Additional Information
İleri’s article explores the practice of lighting as a means of development of new spectacles and rise of surveillance in fin-de-siècle Istanbul. It focuses on how the concerns of Ottoman municipal and commercial authorities regarding prosperity and civility gave rise to more city lights and how the installation of these lights contributed to the flamboyant visuality of Istanbul’s modern life. It also elaborates on how, in a new world of enhanced exposure and spectacle, darkness took on a new importance because it limited visibility. İleri traces these questions through archival documents, newspaper articles, satirical magazines, travelogues, and literary narratives. She maintains that while the government and hegemonic discourse associated lighting with social and economic progress and emphasized the government’s achievements in this regard, discussions of outdoor illumination and popular representations often used this very same association in an inverse manner. If light was progress, then the darkness of many neighborhoods and the dysfunctional state of the lighting system were evidence of deficiency, which negatively reflected on the government.