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Esra Akcan (Cornell University): 'Migration, Justice and Architecture'

The Bilderfahrzeuge Lecture series 2022/23 - "Border Regimes"

After an overview of the presenter’s previously published work on the relation between migration and architecture, this lecture will explore the right-to-heal after massive mass migrations during nation-state formations as a topic of transitional justice. It will concentrate on the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, including the “Exchange of Populations” treaty (1923) that divided the communities residing in thousands of villages and towns into two purified categories between Greece and Turkey, assuming the alignment of religion, nation and territory, regardless of the actual diversity of peoples, and whether there were hostile or peaceful relations on the ground. The lecture will expose the contrast between the declarations of state agents and international law diplomats on the one hand, and the experiences of those involved on both sides of the Aegean Sea on the other hand. It will discuss the residues of this historical wound today, by studying the practice of a handful architects, residents and stonemasons as a struggle toward healing through architecture. 


image: Living in Cappadocia. Photograph by Esra Akcan.