Deriu, Davide (2009) Views from the West: New Ankara as a site of utopian reflections. In: 10th International Conference of the Utopian Studies Society / Europe, 01 - 04 Jul 2009, University of Porto. (Unpublished)
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My paper examines how the making of 'New Ankara' into the capital of modern Turkey was perceived and represented by western observers in the early Republican period. Designed mostly by European architects and planners, Ankara became a showcase for the kemalist nation-building project and was successfully rebranded as 'the heart of Turkey'. The Anatolian city drew the attention of western travellers who were intrigued by the scale and pace of its rebuilding - a major undertaking variously described as 'modern dream', 'heroic venture', 'tabula rasa', etc. I will focus on three authors who visited and wrote about Ankara in the years 1923-1933: (a) Grace Ellison, an Englishwoman who championed Atatürk’s social reforms and in particular the struggles for women’s freedom in Turkey; (b) John Dewey, American philosopher who travelled to Ankara as an education advisor to the Turkish government; (c) Corrado Alvaro, Italian novelist and journalist who compiled his travel writings in the 1932 book Viaggio in Turchia. These western observers captured the rise of new Ankara before and during construction, while also remarking on problematic aspects such as the quest for a difficult synthesis of old and new. I will discuss how their texts reflected the utopian spirit of the early Republic, revealing ambivalent stances towards Turkey's modern project that persist, in different ways, to this day.
|Item Type:||Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)|
|Research Community:||University of Westminster > Architecture and the Built Environment, School of|
|Deposited On:||01 Feb 2010 15:37|
|Last Modified:||01 Feb 2010 15:37|
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