A Day's Journey: Constantinople, December 9, 1919

By Leontis, Artemis; Talalay, Lauren E. | Michigan Quarterly Review, Winter 2006 | Go to article overview

A Day's Journey: Constantinople, December 9, 1919


Leontis, Artemis, Talalay, Lauren E., Michigan Quarterly Review


And so it goes, then-doing documentary work is a journey, and is a little more, too, a passage across boundaries (disciplines, occupational constraints, definitions, conventions all too influentially closed for traffic), a passage that can become a quest, even a pilgrimage . . .

Eobert Coles

Doing Documentary Work

1. Down the Grand Rue de Fera

We follow the human traffic down Istiklal Caddesi, formerly the Grand Rue de Fera, toward Istanbul's Golden Horn. The tram runs through the center of the street. The shops are cosmopolitan, the soundtrack a mix of Balkan and Near Eastern. Streams of pedestrians flow in two directions. Here in Istanbul's Beyoglu district, the more marginal groups of Turkey's secular nation state move about freely: punks, gays, transvestites, artists, leftists, expatriates from other lands. Just as importantly, Islamicists now populate this thoroughfare, the women wearing headscarves wrapped precisely to formulate a clear statement about the necessity of religion.

Our attention is divided between the contemporary scene and the tenser one that was unfolding during the crucial final years of the Ottoman Empire, which ended in 1922. Those were tumultuous times. In Pera, as Beyoglu was then called, its name signifying a border crossing ("pera" was the Greeks' word for the region pera "beyond" the city's limits), there was a semblance of peace. The tram was running through the center of Pera Avenue. Horse-drawn taxis waited by the roadside. The region's non-Muslim populations-the Armenians, Greeks, Spanish Jews, Moorish refugees, and Levantines who found a place in Pera-were managing successfully businesses in French-style buildings, as streams of people from all over the world flowed up and down the street. Even in Pera, however, Western-style hats had given way to red boru fezzes with short black tassels. Following the successes of nationalists in Anatolia that summer and fall, non-Muslims had put on the fez again to signal their subservience to the Muslim lord. Only foreigners donned felt, bowler, or the very fashionable Panama hats. European women still covered their heads, while "Muslim women of the elite . . . were beginning to appear in the street unveiled, although still with headscarves" (Mansel 400).

With our imagination, we are tracing the path of two American visitors through a single day of their three-week stay in Constantinople. It is Tuesday, December 9, 1919. One visitor is the grizzled, portly Francis W. Kelsey, a distinguished classical scholar and professor of Latin languages at the University of Michigan. The other is the lanky, six-foot-three George Swain, whom Kelsey hired as the photographer, driver, and armed guard for his "Near East Expedition." Kelsey is traveling with grand ideas and bold ambitions, which will eventually produce a significant collection of antiquities rivaling many in Europe and lead to the creation of a museum of archaeology named after him. On paper, Kelsey has stated his intentions of using this trip to purchase valuable ancient manuscripts, survey ancient battlefields, identify archaeological sites for future excavation, and generally record interesting aspects of the eastern Mediterranean's Greek and Roman past. These are the purposes he has expressed in letters to administrators and donors. And he will accomplish much of what he has set out to do. Yet together with Swain he is also feeling the winds of change. With camera, notebooks, permits, and diplomatic passports in hand, and more covert agendas in mind, the two men are about to capture traces of Constantinople just as the Empire is seized by revolution.

The two men set out early that Tuesday, December 9, from their lodgings not far from the American Embassy. They joined the human current headed for Galata Bridge. "Stamboul," the familiar name for Old City on the other side of the bridge, gleamed like gold behind the silhouette of the New Mosque, Yeni Çamii. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Day's Journey: Constantinople, December 9, 1919
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.