Scrutinizing the Western Gaze: The "Turk" in Eighteenth-Century European Art

Nebahat Avcıoğlu, Hunter College, City University of New York

A rich and complex historiographical tradition provides an opportunity to teach material through an innovative course structure.

Prompted by an invitation to write a bibliographic article for Oxford Bibliographies, Nebahat Avcıoğlu designed and taught the graduate research methods seminar "Scrutinizing the Western Gaze: The 'Turk' in Eighteenth-Century European Art" at Hunter College during Spring 2020. She was also interested in teaching the material as a category of interconnected and intercultural art that is methodologically rich, particularly with regard to the issues of trade, travel, diplomacy, orientalism, and exoticism. Over the course of the semester, Avcıoğlu and her students collectively compiled a digital annotated bibliography on "Turquerie." She distributed the readings between four groups of three students in order to cover an extensive bibliography that she had previously compiled. In place of a final research paper, each student presented five readings and drafted annotations, while working together with their group to produce a final bibliographic essay.

Nebahat Avcıoğlu is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Hunter College, City University of New York. A specialist in Islamic architecture and art with a particular emphasis on Ottoman European cultural encounters, she co-edited with Finbarr Barry Flood a watershed special issue of Ars Orientalis, "Globalizing Cultures: Art and Mobility in the 18th century."

Image credit: Plate III from Joseph Friedrich Racknitz, Ueber den Schachspieler des Herrn von Kempelen und dessen Nachbildung (Leipzig: Breitkopf, 1789), 65.