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ankara, cr/theory, essay, memory, urban

Displaced Memories, or the Architecture of Forgetting and Remembrance


“The time … is the time of humanity that has lost all continuity with humanity, of a humanity that no longer knows anything nor remembers anything, that lives in nameless cities with nameless streets or streets with names different from the ones they had yesterday, because a name means continuity with the past and people without a past are people without a name.” Kundera (1994: 157)

Under the political pressure of Turkey’s Modernity Project Ankara’s urban-planning processes and its monuments have always been utilized as significant tools of architectural displacement in the expedience of utopias, both socially and spatially. Urban-scale operations since the 1950s, a significant conservative breakthrough as a result of global liberalism and populism, however, have overwhelmed the secular state’s organized forgetting, and have increasingly demobilized the capital city’s modernist collective memory into conservatively schizophrenic experiences. In this paper I aim at discovering the ever-changing qualities of collective memory and its spatio-temporal remainders within the context of Turkey’s political history by addressing the forces and trajectories of identity politics.

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