Module 1: Literature Review: Literature and Traveler Accounts

  • Doing a literature survey in a historical context will be beneficial in order to understand the Tophane.
  • In this context, who has written and what has been written about Tophane?
  • Library Research and Literature Survey

History finds itself a place among tangible and intangible heritage categories. This heritage also designates traditional structure of society. Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

Field example:  Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Beyazıt State Library: Documents about Tophane to be gathered.

Module 2: Narratives

  •  Everybody has a unique, personal narrative about the history/past. These narratives are special and unrepeatable. It is exactly due to plethora of varying narratives that, classes, communities, groups and respective identities emerge, as to the way they relate to the community.

Istanbul has witnessed many different historical periods that were dominated by different kingdoms such as Byzantium or the Ottoman Empire. In today’s Istanbul we still have many ethnic identities and minority groups derived from this rich past. As a result of this cultural richness, in Istanbul there are also many historical buildings and monuments which belong or which used to belong to these groups. Just like Istanbul as a whole, Tophane has also been a neighborhood with many different minorities. So when elderly people living in Tophane today talk and reflect about this past, it should be  noted that their views are inevitably formed/shaped by contemporary developments, events and views informed by today.

Field example:  Narratives among various mahalles (districts) of Tophane, symbolizing different enclaves of ethnicities and minorities can be listened.

Module  3: Change and Perception

  • How is the ‘change’ that has started with globalization among places and society perceived?

Since 1980’s Istanbul is undergoing a globalization process. The population increase has also accelerated this process. This process has not only influenced the demographics of Istanbul but also architectural buildings. Historical places and old settled areas were renovated and as a result often gentrified. In this process, the way in which these changes are perceived by society and how inhabitants are categorized by them, are important.

How does the disappearance of ‘authenticity’ or endeavors to maintain it, influence traditions, cultures and peoples’ life styles?

Field example:

  • Interviews with shop owners among the districts of Tophane – e.g. A repair shop on Kılıç Ali Paşa Sokağı.
  • Other:
    • old barbershops
    • booksellers
    • restaurants

Module 4 (as related to Module 2): House

The 1950’s the population is rapidly increasing and there is a migration to Istanbul from rural areas. Therefore, despite the fact that houses of minorities who were subjected to population exchange are spare, there is still a scarcity of housing. Migrant moving into Istanbul from Anatolia often occupies the houses of ethnic-religious minorities who have left. At the same time ‘gecekondu’s (neighborhoods built overnight) were built. Thus this major problem accompanies the process of migration.

Different enclaves of ethnicities and minorities.

  • How is change and transformation perceived by different groups and segments of society especially when demographical factors are taken into consideration?
  • What kind of values is attributed to tangible and intangible cultural heritage? 

Narratives/ discourses of “Outsiders”, “Heritage of Ottoman ancestors” offer us documents and stories to the history that is created at the background. Here it is important to see how ethnicity, gender, differentiation, otherization/otherness and religious dimensions both diverge and at the same time converge various multiple narratives.

Field example: There are especially many empty houses in the districts of Beyoğlu and the district from Beyoglu until Karakoy. It is suggested to carry out a pilot study.

Module 5: Coffeehouses

  • Tophane has many historical narratives and one of them is coffeehouse culture.

In the Ottoman history, coffeehouses “kahvehaneler” had an influential role in bringing about a public sphere. How does the concept of public sphere influence coffeehouses?

Additionally it might be interesting to see how coffeehouse culture is preceived by different groups of people, for instance in relation to gender (men, women, hetero’s, gays)?

Field exampe: The best example for coffeehouses is one of the coffhouses in the area along the coast between Tophane and Karaköy. Also the coffeehouses around Tütün Deposu might offer valuable case study opportunities.

Module 6-A: Food Culture

  • The variety of historical narratives also finds it reflection in food culture and its change through time. Different celebrations (in terms of religion) in different places (in terms of sacred and profane) entail the use of different ingridients and spices. 

Field example: In this respect, restaurants, soup kitchens and beer houses tell about the food culture existing in Tophane.

Module 6-B: Plant and Weed Culture

Food Culture relates to plant and weed culture.

Field example:  There is a rich cuisine and cooking culture in Tophane. It is valuable to find old restaurants that saw changes and developments in the environment such as the formation of the Karakoy district. In addition soup houses, beer houses also reveal how food culture is shaped in Tophane. Finally nargile places and tobacco warehouses in Tophane has different dynamics, which are revealing for field work.

Module 7: Tophane from Outside

  • In a period of one year, what kind of an influence does Tophane have on inhabitants and on outsiders? How do people evaluate future changes in Tophane?

Answer to these questions to be obtained through surveys, interviews, and documented by short films.

Tophane is a place between Galata and Cihangir and proves to be a very rich area in terms of architectural, cultural and social variety, also an attraction point for the  tourists.

Field example: Comparative fieldwork in relation to Tophane (eg. Taksim area close to Tophane and Karakoy ) where it would be possible to interview a variety of people (tourists, students, inhabitants of other neighbourhoods).

Module 8: Sounds Lost in Tophane

  • Different sounds that we hear in historical places reveal the cultural heritage of Tophane. Every location as places generates different music. Information about the character of the neighbourhood, changes in the neighbourhood etc. could be experienced and studied through music. Each note or sound that one hears will reveal Tophane more closely, from a different angle. In addition, “music and circulation” could shed light on both Tophane’s spatial divisions (through time) as well as to Tophane’s artistic potentials. In this respect the work of Nicholas Klotz (Chant of Sand and Stars, documentary film, 1996, 90 minutes) could be an example.

Field example: Places such as deserted buildings, historical buildings etc. could be used to collect the musical narratives. Or any location could be selected for a specific sound that bears a meaning socially and culturally.

Module 9: Recording Voices

  • The noice of avenues or streets we walk on, people’s steps and their talks, outcry of Street peddles, prayers and bells of churches, bring together many different sounds, all together forming the sound of the disrict and the city. People do not always realize this. Tophane has a variety of  music and sound genuine to the district.  

(Module 8 and 9 are going to be used together.  They are adjunct.)

Field example: In the field three different approaches can be used. First is to record voices obtained while walking from Beşiktaş to Karaköy in order to record the sounds of the large road between Besiktas and Karakoy, dividing the neighbourhood of Tophane into two. Secondly, to record sounds on the way from Karaköy, from the ferries along the coast to the tram way. Thirdly sounds that are heard  through Beyoğlu’s small streets going to Karaköy, crossing Tophane.

Module 10: Old-New

  • Paradoxical and/or simultaneous developments make up part of the identity of Tophane as a neighbourhood.

The fact that old and new shops can be aligned in the same street makes one think about this disparity.

Field example: In the streets of Karaköy both old and new shops are side by side. These shops could be studied and interviews should be held about the subject matter.