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Creating Images of a Turkish Past : Identity and the Representation of Archaeology in Modern Turkey
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What role do the narratives of the ancient past play in the modern Turkish Republic? How is the knowledge of this past constructed and displayed to the public? Melania Savino answers these questions through an analysis of the role of archaeology and its representation in the service of generating new perceptions of cultural identity in Turkey. Starting with an account of how the practices of museumology were imported into the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century, Savino demonstrates how antiquities became crucial symbols in the establishment and construction of an Ottoman national imagination. She follows the arc of this narrative into the beginning of the twentieth century with the founding of the Republic of Turkey under Kemal Atatürk, where archaeology, museums and historical artefacts have been used by the state in order to project a particular version of Turkish identity. Creating Images of a Turkish Past not only illustrates archaeological knowledge practices within a Turkish national context, but also shows that these practices cross national and international boundaries in an attempt to shape collective identities.