Making a City Holy: Exploring Religious Transformation Using Constantinople as a Case Study

Sunday, January 9, 2011: 8:50 AM
Arlington Room (Marriott Boston Copley Place)
Matthew T. Herbst , University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA
This paper explores the religious transformation of an urban space using Constantinople/Istanbul as a case study.  We will consider pedagogical strategies for helping students to access and to understand the shared experience and historical practice of these religious traditions, Christianity and Islam, in the city and to understand processes of religious change.   How was Constantinople a Christian city and how did it become Muslim?  What do we mean when we apply these religious categories to an urban space?  How, in the end, was the city converted from one to the other?   This paper will consider, in particular, the use and transformation of existing monuments (for example, Hagia Sophia from Church to Mosque), the construction of new buildings, and the displacement of older ones.     This paper will discuss a variety of opportunities for student learning both in the classroom as well as through first-hand interaction on student study abroad programs in Istanbul.