The 19th century saw high levels of interaction between Western Orientalists and the Christian Syriac community of the Ottoman Empire, which today inhabits South-Eastern Turkey. This resulted in the creation of a new type of ecclesiastical architecture that persists to this day and shapes the Syriac way of life. Our project aims to document these hitherto understudied changes by producing architectural records and drawings while compiling a photographic documentary. Although preservation of memory is our primary objective, our project will also critically reflect on the role played by Western Orientalism in transforming the cultural landscape of the Christian community of Mardin, and the Ottoman Empire in general. We will do so at a time when these communities’ way of life is under threat.
Arsen Nisryan, Balliol College
John Martin, Corpus Christi College.