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Grant number like: FT-248688-16

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Peter Christensen, PhD
University of Rochester (Rochester, NY 14627-0001)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 7/31/2016

Architecture and the German Construction of the Ottoman Railway Network in the 19th Century

A book-length manuscript on the construction of the Ottoman railway network in the 19th century.

The Ottoman railway network, considered the pride of that empire’s modernizing impulses, was actually engineered by Germans. While it employed local builders and craftsmen, it also accelerated German influence in the region, and set the stage for an ambiguous form of colonialism. No one has yet examined the relationship of the built environment to political agendas in this ambiguously colonial environment. An NEH Summer Stipend will support completion of my book, which uses train stations, settlements, maps, bridges, monuments, and an archaeological canon as its evidence. I examine the goals of the agents involved in the railways’ realization from political, geographic, topographic, archaeological, constructional, architectural, and urban perspectives. I argue that the early internationalization of infrastructure construction bore some of the trademarks of imperialism while also syncretizing cultural difference in a new visual idiom that represented emergent nationalisms.