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"Hagia Sophia: Perspectives from Cultural Heritage"

October 1, 2020

Watch the recording of the webinar that attracted over 4,200 registrations from 82 different countries.

Held as a webinar on September 19th, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. EDT., this panel was organized to bring together scholars and analysts to comment on the recent conversion of the Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque from the perspective of architectural history in geopolitical context.

What is the building’s significance for Byzantine, early and late Ottoman, Republican and contemporary Turkish architecture? How will the Hagia Sophia’s conversion into a mosque in 2020 impact its use, global and local public meaning, place in the city and nearby monuments, physical attributes, Byzantine mosaics, Christian and Muslim symbols, marble floor, and acoustics, among other things? What effects did the building’s recent conversion make in different areas of historical studies? Are there comparable examples elsewhere in the world?

Speakers made 8-minute presentations in the rough chronological order of their historical field of expertise and comment on the contemporary decision from the perspectives of their own scholarly work and study area followed by  a discussion where speakers responded to each other. The panel will conclude with a Q and A session.

Panelists in order of presentation:

  • Namık Erkal TED University in Ankara
  • Bissera Pentcheva Stanford University
  • Christina Maranci Tufts University
  • Maria Georgopoulou American School of Classical Studies at Athens
  • Sevil Enginsoy Istanbul Bilgi University
  • Çiğdem Kafesçioğlu Boğaziçi University
  • Belgin Turan Middle East Technical University
  • Peter Christensen Co-Moderator, University of Rochester
  • Nikos Magouliotis ETH Zurich
  • Esra Akcan Co-Moderator, Cornell University
  • Mesut Dinler Politecnico di Torino
  • Mücahit Bilici City University of New York
  • Bülent Batuman Bilkent University

The panel was organized by the Institute for European Studies of Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University. Funding is provided by the Central New York Humanities Corridor, as part of the multi-year event series "New Approaches to Scholarship and Pedagogy of Ottoman and Turkish Architecture" organized by Esra Akcan (Cornell University) and Peter Christensen (University of Rochester). 

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