Silhouettes and Submersions: Istanbul's Past from Above and Below
- Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 8, Number 1, Summer 2021
- pp. 11-22
- Additional Information
In this introduction to our edited section, "Istanbul through the Looking Glass," I draw on Orhan Pamuk's works—in particular The Black Book—to develop a multi-perspectival approach to Istanbul's heterogeneous past and the contemporary collective memories that frame this past. First, I forward a critique of homogenizing narratives of Istanbul, in particular neo-Ottoman images of the city. For shorthand, I call these images "silhouettes." Next, by invoking The Black Book's extended metaphor of the city's sunken past in the Bosphorus, I draw attention to the "submersions" of Istanbul's history that our collection explores. Finally, I summarize the contents of the volume, which are divided across three sections: "Sites," "Districts," and "Discourses."