Death In Istanbul

Yazar : Edhem Eldem
İsbn : 9759812525
Yayın Tarihi : 2005
Dil : İngilizce
Sayfa Sayısı : 299
Ölçü : 23 x 27,5 cm
Yayınevi : Ottoman Bank

The idea of an exhibition on death may not sound very pleasant. After all, it is only natural to experience some discomfort, displeasure, anxiety, even disgust in the face of a phenomenon that may summon painful memories and provoke fears about the future. Yet, there is no denying that death, once tamed as an abstract notion or concept, can become a powerful tool for social analysis. It can thus become a fascinating area of study, likely to reveal much about the culture, mentalities and social structure of a given society. This is what this exhibition and its catalogue hope to attain. Their objective is to try to pinpoint, through hopefully representative examples, the ways in which death has been perceived by the Muslim population of Ottoman Istanbul throughout five centuries of existence, and to understand the role it may have played in the life of the Imperial capital. Other than death itself, the title given to both the exhibition and the catalogue rests on three keywords: Ottoman, Islam, and Istanbul. Though each of these words represents a potential broadening of the subject, it should be noted that their combination imposes serious limitations. Indeed, their conjunction implies the exclusion of a number of periods and topics. This exhibition does not include developments prior to 1453 or later than 1922; it does not deal with Ottoman culture and society beyond the limits of the capital city; it excludes the non-Muslim communities that made up about half of its population. However, this should certainly not be taken to mean that I associate Ottoman culture with Islam or with Istanbul, or that I attribute no significance to what may have happened after the downfall of the Empire. These self-imposed limitations simply reflect a desire for some consistence in a field which, if left open, could easily disintegrate into pure chaos. They also stem from a fear of incompetence, as my past experience and research in the field would hardly allow me to go anywhere…
******Edhem Eldem