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Round Table: Owners and Inheritors: Identity, Nationalism, Heritage and Preservation in and outside Turkey

April 17 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm

Invitation to a Round Table

Wednesday, April 17th 2024,

19:00 (Turkish time; GMT +3)

Venue: Orient-Institut Istanbul (Galip Dede Cad. No 65, Beyoğlu-Istanbul)


Round Table: Owners and Inheritors: Identity, Nationalism, Heritage and Preservation in and outside Turkey



Dr. Mirjam Brusius (GHI London)

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ayşe Hazar Köksal (Öyzeğin University)

Prof. Dr. Zeynep Kuban (Istanbul Technical University)



Prof. Dr. Christoph K. Neumann (OII)


The panel discusses contemporary ways of dealing (or refusing to deal) with cultural heritage and/or the question who may claim to be legitimate owner of it. In Germany and Great Britain, such discussions often turn around questions of restitution of artefacts that have been acquired in contexts (colonial, national-socialist, smuggling etc.) not or no longer regarded legitimate. The position of the Ottoman Empire in front of imperialist archaeologists is only rarely taken into consideration in this debate.


In Turkey such debates are much less important and, if they take place, Turkey is taken as in a post-colonial situation (e.g. while the Pergamon altar may be claimed as object of restitution, the sarcophagi from Sidon at the Istanbul Archaeological Museums are not offered to the Lebanese government). On the other hand, what is regarded as cultural heritage is quite frequently an issue heatedly debated while in other cases, objects or sites are more or less silently disregarded as heritage, especially if they have a background in Christian and other minoritarian populations. While different forms of identity construction and of nationalism are clearly decisive, tourism and neoliberal populism contribute to a volatile debate.


The speakers:


Dr. Mirjam Brusius holds an MA from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge. Currently she is a research fellow at the German Historical Institute London in the field of colonial and global history. She works on the movement of visual and material culture between Europe, Asia, and Africa: from ancient artefacts entering Western museums, to photography moving into the Islamicate world. She is also active as a public historian, curator, and heritage consultant.


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ayşe Hazar Köksal obtained her BA degree from Bosphorus University, Department of History, her MA from Istanbul Technical University and Maastricht University (Netherlands) in European Studies of Society, Science and Technology, and her PhD from Istanbul Technical University, Art History Department. Currently she teaches art history at Özyeğin University. Her research interests include art and museums, organizations of the art world, museum and architecture, city imaginary, cultural policies, industry of culture and creative industries.


Prof. Dr. Zeynep Kuban is working and teaching at ITU Faculty of Architecture since 1987. She obtained her BA degree from Istanbul University in Archaeology and History of Art and her MA and PhD degrees from ITU-History of Architecture program. She is working and researching on topics of ancient architecture, history of Istanbul, artists and architects in the early 20th century and she is active in finding different forms to mediate history of architecture and archaeology, and cultural heritage in general to non-professional audiences.


Prof. Dr. Christoph K. Neumann acquired his academic degrees from LMU Munich. Currently he is on leave from the same university and director of the Orient-Institut Istanbul.


April 17
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Andrea Selimoğlu
+90 – 212 293 60 67
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Orient-Institut Istanbul
Şahkulu Mah., Galip Dede Cad. No. 65
Beyoğlu, İstanbul 34421 Turkey
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+90 212 293 60 67
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