The conference "Centres and peripheries in Ottoman architecture: rediscovering a Balkan heritage" will be held April 22-24 (2010) in Sarajevo – Faculty of Philosophy. This conference is organized by CULTURAL HERITAGE WITHOUT BORDERS (CHwB) in cooperation with the FACULTY OF PHILOSOPHY at the UNIVERSITY OF SARAJEVO.

Faculty of Philosophy, ul. Franje Račkog 1, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; small amphitheater on ground floor.
Papers will be given in English or the local languages; simultaneous translation is provided.

What was Ottoman architecture? Whose was it, why and where? While such seemingly elementary questions once seemed superseded, a critical rethinking of approaches and canons in art history over the past few decades has made it attainable to pose them again. These advances have also resulted in a novel interest in monuments and artistic phenomena long excluded from the standard narratives due to lack of monumentality, peripheral location, or stylistic provincialism, that is, if viewed against contemporary phenomena in the centre(s) of power and cultural production. With foci of inquiry and criteria for appraisal gradually shifting from stylistic cohesion, development, and scale to (also) include questions of patronage, site, and social function, these approaches make not only possible but indispensable an increased visibility of such monuments in the literature that maps and constitutes art histories. This provides an opportunity for, and at the same time underlines the necessity of, a renewed discussion of Ottoman architecture in the Balkans and its place in the historical narratives of both Ottoman and European architecture.

The conference “Centres and peripheries in Ottoman architecture: rediscovering a Balkan heritage” will convene an international forum of speakers to present papers addressing cases and problems meriting discussion in the context of the “centres/peripheries” paradigm, here understood on a multitude of levels. More specifically, the conference seeks to
1) increase our knowledge of architectural processes and phenomena in the Ottoman provinces, with an emphasis on (but not restricted to) the empire’s former European provinces;
2) expose the impact of processes at the centre(s) of power on architectural production in the provinces;
3) examine both these processes as reflected in historiographical discourse, yet another level with (geographical, institutional) centres and peripheries of its own; and
4) discuss this body of monuments in the context of European discourses on “cultural heritage”, into which it is at present only marginally integrated.

Cultural Heritage without Borders is a Swedish non-governmental and non-profit organization active since 1995 in the rehabilitation of historical monuments destroyed as a result of armed conflicts that have raged in the countries of Southeast Europe. Recognizing and condemning the instrumentalization of cultural heritage for political agendas in the course of these conflicts, CHwB, in this project implemented in collaboration with the University of Sarajevo, aims to contribute to the engendering of a culture which sees these monuments not only as markers of identity but also as works of art and products of historical circumstances, and to support thus the necessary process of reconciliation.


Maximilian Hartmuth (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)),
Scientific coordinator

Haris Dervišević (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)),
Local scientific coordinator

Adisa Džino (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)),
CHwB Regional Office Sarajevo

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