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A case in French colonial politics of architecture and urbanism: Antioch and Alexandretta during the mandate

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2008
Açıkgöz, Ümit Fırat
The aim of this study is to investigate characteristics of urban transformation in Antioch and Alexandretta during the French Mandate, 1920-1938. Contending that a purely formal analysis would fail to grasp complex politics of architecture and urbanism promoted by the French administration, this thesis seeks to explore the urban transformation of these cities in its political and representational context. In analyzing the French perception of the urban space especially in Antioch, this thesis devotes an extensive attention to the nineteenth century travelers who visited Antioch, by emphasizing the ways in which they described the urban make-up of the city. Moreover, it situates the case of Antioch and Alexandretta within the broader framework of French colonial architecture and urbanism by occassionally referring to French North Africa on the one hand, and other cities of the French Mandate in Syria and Lebanon on the other hand. Along with an analysis of the changing built environment in Antioch and Alexandretta, other visual and representational strategies such as the colonial exhibition, archeological works, scholarly endeavors, and tourism are discussed. It is the major premise of this thesis that a comprehensive portrayal of the architectural and urban transformation of these cities might be attained only through the inclusion of different forms of political and visual representation.