DR. MILLS is an assistant professor of geography at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina 29208.
NARRATIVES IN CITY LANDSCAPES: CULTURAL IDENTITY IN ISTANBUL*
Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
2005 American Geographical Society
Volume 95, Issue 3, pages 441–462, July 2005
How to Cite
MILLS, A. (2005), NARRATIVES IN CITY LANDSCAPES: CULTURAL IDENTITY IN ISTANBUL. Geographical Review, 95: 441–462. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2005.tb00375.x
Many thanks to my anonymous reviewers and, most especially, to Patricia Ehrkamp. Their suggestions significantly improved the structure of the article and strengthened its argument. Any weaknesses or errors are, of course, solely my own.
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
- cultural identity;
- landscape reading;
- minority history;
ABSTRACT. Since the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, when the Turkish nation was defined as ethnically Turkish and Muslim, the issue of ethnic minorities has been at the root of a deep insecurity concerning cultural identity and what it means to be Turkish. The movement to “recover” ethnic minority in history and in place is most visible in Istanbul, the city identified as the location of European culture in Turkey and Turkey's most culturally pluralistic city. The movement has gained pace since the formal acceptance of Turkey as a candidate for membership in the European Union and the push for reforms in human rights. It is promoted by a very small cultural and economic elite and works together with gentrification to produce elite spaces in the city, as exemplified by two neighborhoods: Kuzguncuk, a historic minority neighborhood on the Asian shore of the Bosporus; and “French Street,” a new commercial development in Beyoǧlu, on the European side of the city west of the Bosporus. These landscapes articulate a European, cosmopolitan, and multicultural place identity for Istanbul and reflect a particular notion of Turkey as modern and European, providing insight into the contemporary debate in Turkey concerning the tensions embedded at the core of Turkish cultural identity.