Zeynep Celik, distinguished professor at the NJIT College of Architecture and Design, published a new book that was co-edited with Zainab Bahrani and Edhem Eldem, in conjunction with an exhibition of the same name at SALT in Istanbul: “Scramble for the Past: A Story of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire, 1753-1914”. The book explores the historiography of archaeology in the Ottoman domains between the founding of London’s British Museum in 1753 and that of İstanbul’s Evkaf Museum of Islamic art in 1914. It sees the rise of archaeology not as an alien western imposition upon the east, or indeed as a purely European invention, but as a process that emerged out of an interaction between Europe and the Ottoman world. Essays by fifteen leading international scholars explore the relationship of archaeology to politics, ideology and national identity, as well as the influences of ancient finds on popular culture.
“Scramble for the Past” was received very well in the field. A recent review at the prestigious The Art Newspaper called the publication “original and brilliant.” In addition to the introduction text written with Bahrani and Eldem, Celik contributed to the book with an article entitled “Defining Empire’s Patrimony: Late Ottoman Perceptions of Antiquities.”