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Between the Transnational and the Local: Assessing the Changing Profile of the Islamic Art Collections in Museums in Türkiye

Uzun, Beyza (2023) Between the Transnational and the Local: Assessing the Changing Profile of the Islamic Art Collections in Museums in Türkiye. Advisor: Pellegrini, Prof. Emanuele. Coadvisor: Bertolacci, Prof. Amos . pp. 441. [IMT PhD Thesis]

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This thesis aims to explain the multiple motives behind the transformation of the display methodologies of Islamic art collections in a museum context by considering the global circumstances such as politics and society. It investigates the shifting ways of displaying the Islamic art collections in Turkish national museums through analyzing both physical and conceptual elements of their permanent galleries starting from the formation of the collections—the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries—to the present day. Starting from the early years of the twenty-first century, especially after September 11, 2001 the debate about Islam in the West was reflected within the general institution of the museum. During the last two decades, most of the important private and state museum collections of Islamic art around the world—such as the MET, the Benaki Museum, the David Collection, the Louvre Museum, the V&A Museum and the British Museum—have undergone substantial reinstallation. While this global trend exists, each institution follows its own individual agendas, often or partly motivated by local political influences as well as practical purposes such as renovations. In line with this current global process, two major Islamic art museums in Turkey, which were inherited from the Ottoman Empire—the Museums of Turkish and Islamic Art in Istanbul and Bursa—have recently redesigned their galleries in 2014 and 2021 respectively. In addition to the existing museums in Edirne and Erzurum, established during the Republican era, a new Museum of Turkish Islamic Art was recently opened in İznik in 2020. Considering such international and local factors, this research examines how and why the connotations of displaying the visual and material culture of the Islamic world have changed for state museums in Turkey starting from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Through a comparative and a comprehensive analysis, this study aims to understand how national public museums in Turkey display their Islamic art collections within the changing frameworks of global and local museology and as part of distinct social, cultural and political environments. Based on fieldwork and archival research, this research will conclude by presenting new results about the various layers of meaning displaying Islamic art in a Turkish museum context, affected by both transnational cultural and academic trends as well as local political dynamics tied to the AKP’s cultural conceptualizations of Turkey’s Islamic past. Even though scholarly literature on the history of collecting and displaying of Islamic art has extended in parallel with the transformation of the museum galleries for the last two decades, this area of study still needs further research. Being the first study that focuses on Islamic art collections in Turkey, this thesis will hopefully contribute to the existing literature by bringing new perspectives to the meaning of exhibiting the cultural heritage of Muslim societies.

Item Type: IMT PhD Thesis
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
PhD Course: Analysis and Management of Cultural Heritage
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.13118/imtlucca/e-theses/388
NBN Number: urn:nbn:it:imtlucca-29628
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2023 09:20
URI: http://e-theses.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/388

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