Modernism and the Middle East

Architecture and Politics in the Twentieth Century

Edited by Sandy Isenstadt and Kishwar Rizvi

  • Published: 2008
  • Subject Listing: Middle East Studies; Architecture
  • Bibliographic information: 320 pp., 76 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Studies in Modernity and National Identity
  • Contents

This provocative collection of essays is the first book-length treatment of the development of modern architecture in the Middle East. Ranging from Jerusalem at the turn of the twentieth century to Libya under Italian colonial rule, postwar Turkey, and on to present-day Iraq, the essays cohere around the historical encounter between the politics of nation-building and architectural modernism's new materials, methods, and motives.

Architecture, as physical infrastructure and as symbolic expression, provides an exceptional window onto the powerful forces that shaped the modern Middle East and that continue to dominate it today. Experts in this volume demonstrate the political dimensions of both creating the built environment and, subsequently, inhabiting it. In revealing the tensions between achieving both international relevance and regional meaning, Modernism in the Middle East affords a dynamic view of the ongoing confrontations of deep traditions with rapid modernization. Political and cultural historians, as well as architects and urban planners, will find fresh material here on a range of diverse practices.
Sandy Isenstadt is assistant professor of modern architecture in the Department of the History of Art, Yale University. Kishwar Rizvi is assistant professor of Islamic art and architecture, also at Yale University. Other contributors are Nezar AlSayyad, Magnus Bernhardsson, Sibel Bozdogan, Waleed Khleif, Roy Kozlovsky, Brian McLaren, Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Panayiota Pyla, Susan Slyomovics, Annabel Wharton, and Gwendolyn Wright.
Introduction: Modern Architecture and the Middle East: The Burden of Representation / Sandy Isenstadt and Kishwar Rizvi

Part One Colonial Constructions
1. Jerusalem Remade / Annabel Wharton
2. Modern Architecture, Preservation, and the Discourse on Local Culture in Italian Colonial Libya / Brian L. McLaren

Part Two Building the Nation
3. Visions of Iraq: Modernizing the Past in 1950s Baghdad / Magnus T. Bernhardsson
4. Baghdad's Urban Restructuring, 1958: Aesthetics and the Politics of Nation Building / Panayiota I. Pyla
5. Democracy, Development, and the Americanization of Turkish Architectural Culture in the 1950s / Sibel Bozdogan
6. Temporal States of Architecture: Mass Immigration and Provisional Housing in Israel / Roy Kozlovsky
7. Modernisms in Conflict: Architecture and Cultural Politics in Post-1967 Jerusalem / Alona Nitzan-Shiftan
8. Palestinian Remembrance Days and Plans: Kafr Qasim, Fact and Echo / Waleed Khleif and Susan Slyomovics

Part Three Overviews and Openings
9. Global Ambition and Local Knowledge / Gwendolyn Wright
10. From Modernism to Globalization: The Middle East in Context / Nezar Alsayyad


"This book is a product of a very impressive scholarly effort to contextualize the problem of modernity in the Middle East. . . . Modernism and the Middle East lays the foundation for future research on this underexplored topic in Western scholarship and it is a unique contribution to the sophisticated multidisciplinary discourse on modernism in general."
-Journal of Society for Architectural Historians