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Home > History home > Prospective students > Undergraduate > Lahore and Istanbul: modernity in the Muslim Imperial city, c.1850-1960
More in this section SecondandThird Year Courses

Lahore and Istanbul: modernity in the Muslim Imperial city, c.1850-1960


Value: one unit


Dr. Markus Daechsel


Taught through weekly two-hour seminars 


3-hour Exam (100%) 

This course compares how city dwellers in two very different regions of the Muslim world – Turkey and South Asia – engaged with the political, cultural, social and economic changes of 'modernity'. We will focus on two distinct cities with great historical personalities: Lahore – often called the 'Paris of the East' – with its Mughal past, its role as one of the most vibrant and colourful cities of British India, now the cultural capital of Pakistan; and Istanbul - the jewel of the Ottoman Empire – with its cosmopolitan and multi-religious populations, its role as contact point between East and West and now one of the fastest growing megacities of a globalised world. We will explore the histories of these places with a whole range of questions and approaches: the changing face of city geography and architecture; the impact of political and economic change; material culture and its impact on social identities: urban housing and domestic life, mass entertainment in print and cinema; literature and art and their impact on political culture; finally, religious practice in urban space, processes of 'secularisation' and the question of religious pluralism. In assembling a comprehensive mosaic of urban cultures and in inviting students to explore their interconnectivity, this course aims at opening up 'Muslim modernity' as a social and historical experience, which is far richer and more contradictory than the usual vision of a textual and primarily 'religious' response to a Western 'challenge'.

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