Power Geometry in Urban Memory: Reading Taksim Square Through the Concept of Representation of Space

Ceren Göǧüş and Asiye Akgün Gültekin

Taksim Square, 2003. Image Courtesy of Writers Archive.

Can memory be manipulated? How far can the will to remember resist the manipulation of the hierarchy? Isolation and exclusion are still useful as disciplinary tools of power. Since this is the case, what role do so-called public spaces serve in memorializing certain isolated histories while separating and thus excluding others? If memory spaces exist in correlation with loss of memory, can searching for traces underneath the layers be the worst enemy of forgetting? How can the search for traces in official spatial histories reveal whose memory is being prioritized as truthful historical account and whose memory has been forgotten? Official spatial histories demand that certain memories are forgotten and thus delegitimized; does this render the readings of spaces as alternative memorialization meaningless? If so, does trying to create memory spaces cause monumentality independent from memory? Does the very act of formalizing spaces of memory create a certain monumentality independent from those who remember it? How will urban geographies, condemned to be symbolic spaces of politics, resist this?

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Ceren Göǧüş is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of İstanbul Kültür University. She received her Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in History of Architecture Program from İstanbul Technical University. Her major research interests include 19th century world exhibitions, monument architecture, 19th century Ottoman architecture and westernization period in Ottoman Empire with its effects on architecture.

Asiye Akgün Gültekin is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of İstanbul Kültür University. She received her Ph.D. in Architectural Design Programme from İstanbul Technical University in 2012. Her major research interests include urban segregation, spatial exclusion, and economic policy of space, social space issues.

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