Monday, April 19, 2010

Notes of a Few AAG 2010 Papers: Part 1

Don't let them know my Name!: Being an Armenian in Istanbul by Alpan Risvanoglu of University of South Carolina

Alpan Risvanoglu explored the new position ethnic Armenians in Istanbul, Turkey have found themselves in.

The long-time Kemalist rule in Turkey forced Armenians to publicly hide their "Armenianess" as the soft fascist state forced "Turkishness" on all citizens of Turkey. With the change in government many thought the position of minorities would change as well. Ethnic Armenians supported the new Islamist party rule because its claimed to embrace an openness to minorities. However, recent statements by the government concerning the Armenian genocide and the guest status that ethnic minorities still have in Turkey has shown that even the supposed minority-friendly government will defend Turkishness and punish those who are not ethnic Turks because of the actions of outsiders.

The real tragedy is that field research has shown that ethnic Armenians and other minorities support the Turkish constitution's requirement that all citizens of Turkey are to be considered Turks. Sadly, this definition is only applied to ethnic Turks by the government.

Ethno-territoriality, conflict and commemoration by Adam Moore of University of Wisconsin-Madison

Adam Moore expanded on monuments and memorials as being cultural dominance declarers on the landscape. Moore created four categories of landscape claiming by conflicting groups. 1) Discursive is based on social-narratives like mapping claims in a biased presentation and renaming of towns, roads, etc. to advance one's cause. 2) Material are monuments or memorials that propagate the groups' social narrative. 3) Embody is done by rituals like martyrology or politicization of dead landscapes like cemeteries. 4) Institutionalization are the politics of commemoration like taking over established ceremonies or holidays to fit into the social narrative of the group.

Urban Space, Political Theater, and the Nazi Building Program: Munich as the Capital of the Movement by Joshua Hagen of Marshall University

The Königsplatz is a square in Munich, Germany commissioned by the Bavarian Ludwig I to celebrate the Greek victory over the Turks and give the city of Munich a nice public gathering location. The architecture was classical in design and played by a Greek heritage in German high culture.

The square was the site of the first major Nazi architecture program. The grass lawn was replaced by concrete to allow for mass rallies. Additional buildings were built, two temples for Nazi martyrs of the 1920s and offices both for the Nazi party and Hitler. The design was the cold, geometric modern style that the Nazis preferred. However, the existing layout of the square prevented massive rallies and there was no logical focal point for a rally leader.

The next major Nazi architecture design, the Nuremberg rally site, was made with the lessons learned from the Königsplatz. The cold geometric modernism stayed while the open field was changed to fit the demand that there needed to be a prime focal point for all attention to be directed to.

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