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The Odyssey of Byzantine Studies in Turkey

Koç University Sevgi Gönül Center for Byzantine Studies organizes the exhibition “The Odyssey of Byzantine Studies in Turkey” curated by Koray Durak of Boğaziçi University on the occasion of Sixth International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium. Located at ANAMED Gallery, the exhibition encompasses a wide variety of subjects from education to field studies.

The exhibition narrates several themes in a chronological manner and begins with late Ottoman era, explaining the multicultural nature of Byzantine studies in the period. As the narrative moves forward to the Turkish Republic, the story of institutionalization of the field unfolds. The process of institutionalization is initially given through the formations of history and art history departments at the Turkish universities from 1923 to 1990’s. In parallel to this section that delivers a brief history of the fieldworks as well, an individual unit at the center displays contributions from the Greek community of Turkey along with collaborations with foreign institutes.

The second half of the exhibition concentrates on the developments of the Byzantine studies since 1990’s and touches upon the thriving of scientific meetings, exhibitions, architectural studies, and museum research. Meanwhile the individual unit at center facing this section focuses on disciplines of underwater archaeology, epigraphy, sigillography and architectural restorations of Byzantine remains.

At the end, the contents of secondary level education regarding Byzantium are evaluated and a group of children’s books are displayed.

Throughout the exhibition are seven oral history videos with prominent scholars of Byzantine studies in Turkey, thematically selected and edited from interviews of GABAM’s “Oral History Project: Being a Byzantinist in Türkiye”.

There are also two supporting interactives. First of these is a visualization of bibliography of Byzantine studies in Turkey based on Şahin Kılıç and Buket Kitapçı Bayrı’s book Byzantine Studies in Turkey: A Bibliography, 19th century-2020. Bibliography touchscreen enables visitors to discover the networks of scholars and prominent subjects in publications as well as dissertations.

The second interactive element is a map displaying excavations and surveys with Byzantine layers based on 2022 permit lists of the T.R. Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Supported by videos from several excavations, this map shows the distribution of active siteworks across the country.

Designed by Fika’s Burak Şuşut, Dilara Tekin Gezginti and Duygu Güven, “The Odyssey of Byzantine Studies in Turkey” was realized by the funding from Vehbi Koç Foundation and sponsorship of Arçelik.

With many archival documents meeting the public for the first time, the exhibition which evaluates the current state of Byzantine studies at the first century of Turkish Republic from a historical perspective, can be visited at ANAMED Gallery between 23 June 2023-31 March 2024.

Curator: Koray Durak

Exhibition Editor: Merve Özkılıç

Exhibition Design: Burak Şuşut, Dilara Tekin Gezginti, Duygu Güven