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Grant number like: FA-56568-12

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Sussan Babaie
Ludwig Maximilians-Universitat (Munich WC2R 0RN Germany)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2012 – 8/31/2013

Architectural Cosmopolitanism in the Middle East: Houses of 17th-Century Aleppo and Isfahan

Architectural history of the house in the Middle East tends to focus on typologies (courtyards, rooms, materials) that are sorted in dynastic-geographical categories: houses of Cairo as Mamluk and Ottoman. Yet, evidence from 17th-century Aleppo and Isfahan--cities on the commercial trail of silk economies, with the largest number of houses from this period in the region to be extant--suggests widespread popularity of certain architectural and decorative interventions that are alien to their native vernacular: Persian-style wooden awnings on stone screens and painted paneling of rooms and ceilings in Aleppo; Isfahani predilection for Indo-European styles in mural paintings and palatine features. These are neither indicative of provincial aberrations and of baroque frivolity, nor of indebtedness to a superior originating source. This project reads such artistic/architectural quotations as indices of prestige value and as communicative elements of transculturation and cosmopolitanism.