Courses / Spring 2015

Spring 2015

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    Course Number: HA 291 | CCN: 05196

    Stronach Travel Seminar: Istanbul – The City and its Art from Antiquity to the Present

    Diliana Angelova

    This seminar seeks to examine the urban development, art, and architecture of Istanbul, from its origins as a modest Greek colony in the seventh c. BCE to the present- day megapolis of close to 14 million people. Continuously inhabited for thousands of years and now one of the largest cities in the world, this city sitting between Europe and Asia, was in addition the capital of two vast empires, one Christian (Byzantium) and one Muslim (Ottoman). Its urban fabric, museums, buildings and archaeological remains offer a unique perspective into the arts, architecture, and urban development of thousands years of human history: Greek and Roman, Byzantine and western medieval, Ottoman, and modern and contemporary.

    The seminar will have two parts. In the first few weeks, the participants engage in learning in chronological fashion about the history, architecture, and arts of the city. One to two weeks each will be spent on the Ancient, Late Antique, Byzantine, Ottoman, Modern, and Contemporary periods. The readings will be organized around a specific problem, such as: Greek Colonization and Urbanism in the Mediterranean; Alexander and the spread of Hellenic Culture and Art; Building a Capital for a Christian Empire; the Byzantine Churches of Istanbul; the Christian Legacy of Ottoman Architecture; The Architect Sinan and the Making of Ottoman Architecture; Istanbul and the Arts of the Ottoman Empire; Genovese Traders and Western Artists: Istanbul in European Art, Travel Accounts, and Maps; Modernity and Tradition: Palaces on the Bosphorus; and “Raise up the Roof, Builders!”: The Gecekondu shanty towns of Istanbul.

    Interested students should provide a paragraph explaining their interest, suggest a research topic and how participation in the travel seminar might contribute to their educational goals. Please detail any previous experience with Istanbul, Byzantine Art, Islamic Art, Medieval Art, and Ottoman History. Send this information to Matt Joyce in the Department of History of Art (

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