ParIstanbul: Two Cities, One History
Instructor: David Selim Sayers
Two of the most renowned cities in world history, Paris and Istanbul were connected even before either city bore its current name. In 360 AD, Julian II was proclaimed Augustus by his troops in Lutetia before going on to rule from Constantinople as the last pagan Emperor of the Roman Empire. In 1536 AD, more than a millennium later, Suleyman the Magnificent and Francis I of France scandalized the world with the Franco-Ottoman Alliance, the first non-ideological pact between a Muslim and a Christian state. In the 19th century, Paris became a haven for Ottoman political refugees, providing the impetus for many reforms in Istanbul, including a wholesale adoption of French vocabulary into the Turkish language. And finally, economic and political migration has endowed Paris with a thriving Turkish population in the 21st century, with parts of the 10th arrondissement being dubbed “La Petite Turquie.”
In this course, we will explore this interwoven history from a proudly transnational and transcultural perspective. We will draw on findings from urban studies as much as cultural and political history to highlight the ways in which the revolutions, arts, and ideas of these two metropolises have influenced each other for nearly two millennia. Our sessions will include classroom discussions as well as excursions to major sites of ParIstanbul history, such as the graves of Kurdish dissidents buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery and the present-day beating heart of Istanbul in the 10th arrondissement. The aim of the course will be to boldly construct a new history, one which teaches us to think beyond urban, national, and religious boundaries, recognizing ourselves in the foreign and the foreign in ourselves.
Maximum enrollment: 10
18 hours (4-6 weeks)
Exact times and dates are determined in consultation with the participants.
5 Rue des Fontaines du Temple