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Grant number like: FB-56119-12

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Zeynep Celik
New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, NJ 07102-1824)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

$33,600 (approved)
$33,600 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2012 – 2/28/2013

The History of 20th-Century Controversies Over the Possession of Antiquities

This project will contribute to the re-conceptualization of the recent controversies over the possession of antiquities by situating the issue in a historic context and by reading it from different political and cultural positions. With the argument that the origins of the present-day debate go back to the scramble for antiquities in the nineteenth century, I will examine the cultural aspects of empire-building at the time, which capitalized on the prestige of history and the power attributed to possessing its material fragments. Placing Istanbul, its new museum, and the tightened government control over the work of archaeologists in the Ottoman Empire at the center, I will engage in a comparative study of the claims to the past in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, and the Ottoman capital around 1900, the date marking a turning point in the popularization of the discussions around antiquities.