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research assistant, architectural history Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi (MSGSÜ) Ph.D. student, architectural history İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi (İTÜ)
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The scientific contribution of I nstitut français d’études anatoliennes (IFEA) in art history, architectural history and urbanism studies in Turkey

Taybuğa Aybars Mamalı (MSGSÜ, İTÜ)

PhD Thesis Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gül Cephanecigil (İTÜ)

Even though the western culture always had a special consideration for antiquities
throughout the history, archeology appeared as a modern concept and became more attributed
to history rather than art history as it gained a political meaning through the 19t h century.
Being indifferent at first, the Ottomans started to show interest in a different manner in the
second half of the century. France; struggling against its imperial rivals -both political and
archeological, as they were intertwined- always played a major actor in this curious history.
Nationalism was one of the key factors of archeology discipline in terms of the claim of
ownership of the antiquities, and prevailed ultimately with the foundation of the Turkish
Republic in 1923. Shortly after the foundation of its rival, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut
Istanbul in 1929, I nstitut français d’archéologie de Stamboul (IFAS) was established in 1930
to institutionalize the long-running -but diminished- archeological activity of the French in
Anatolia. The aim of the institute was to provide resources for young researchers working
mainly on the history and art of the Byzantine period, oriental studies, and classical
archeology. As it seems to be defined by the French interest in Anatolia and the permission of
the Turks, the extent of the academic field was set precisely but presented ambiguity in itself.
The question of the extent of the scientific field appears as an observable and vital
matter in the history of the institute. This problem seems to appear as a reflection of the
origins of the institute that extend approximately 50 years before its proper creation. Jacques
Thobie summarizes this phase in his various works that focus on the diplomatic aspects of
French scholars’ archeological activity and scrutinizes the last phase of the creation of the
institute more precisely . A research to focus on the origins of the institute would bear the 1
1 Thobie, J. (2000). Archéologie et diplomatie française au Moyen-Orient des années 1880 au début des années
1930. In Roland Etienne (Ed.), Les politiques de l’archéologie du milieu du XIXe siècle à l’orée du XXIe.
Colloque organisé par l’Ecole française d’Athènes à l’occasion de la célébration du 150 anniversaire de sa
fondation, EFA, Athènes, 2000.
Thobie, J. (2006). Aux origines de l'Institut français d'études anatoliennes d'Istanbul: la correspondance
commentée Marx-Gabriel 1930-1932 (Vol. 42). Les Editions Isis.
Thobie, J. (2014). La fondation de l’institut français d’archéologie de Stamboul (1930-1932). In Işıksel, G. &
Szurek, E. (Eds.), Turcs et Français. Une histoire culturelle, 1860-1960 (pp. 173-194). Rennes, France: Presses
Universitaires de Rennes.
potential to enlighten the above-mentioned question of extent in the context of the long term . 2
A study on this matter will offer a multi-layered reading such as the political and academic
background of the institute, academic orientalism in the late 19t h and early 20t h century,
scientific rivalry between France and Germany in the Ottoman Empire, Ottoman interest in
the French scientific missions, diplomatic aspect of French-Turkish scientific relations and
many other related topics.
Thobie traces the first project in July-December, 1899 issue of Revue archéologique 3
where Charles Clérmont-Ganneau informs about his project that is rejected by l a Ministère de
l’Instruction publique (MIP) in 1882. Clérmont-Ganneau proposes an archeological station of
L’Ecole du Caire in Syria which will cover the area from Mesopotamia to the Arabian
Peninsula and include Cyprus as well. Thobie fails to present a connected project which can
be found in an inventory sheet prepared for Archives Nationales . In his report on the creation 4
of an archeological unit in 1921, Philippe Berger attaches two previous projects. The first one
is of Clermont-Ganneau and the latter of a certain Dr. Rouvier in 1900. 5
The two main figures of the second attempt in the 1890s appear as a diplomat and an
archeologist: Paul Cambon and André Joubin. Promoter of French archeologists, ambassador
Cambon constantly suggests French researchers to the local authority since his day one in
İstanbul. He succeeds, when Osman Hamdi Bey, director of the Müze-i Hümayun accepts the 6
services of young André Joubin who recently finished his studies in L’École française
d’Athènes (EFA). As Joubin works on the catalogues of the museum; Cambon observes the
superiority of the German archeologists in the Ottoman Empire derives from the relationship
between the researchers and the financiers, and a central decision-making mechanism in
Berlin. He then proposes Ministère des Affaires étrangères (MAE) an institution to be
established in İstanbul, and Joubin as the director of it. The proposal gets rejected. Joubin
then drafts the project of “L’École française d’Athènes of İstanbul” in his report, without
success. In continuity with Joubin, Gustav Mendel who also worked on the catalogues of the
2 This subject is the issue of investigation at the moment and will be carried even further in the summer of 2020
in CETOBaC, should the research be funded under the Research Fellowships of 2020 offered by the French
Embassy in Turkey.
3 pp. 165-168
4 Inventaire des papiers de la division des Sciences et Lettres du ministère de l'Instruction publique et des
services qui en sont issus (sous-série F/17). Tome II, F / 17 / 17224, p. 63.
5 Thobie cites the article in Revue archéologique, but not this original proposal.
6 Imperial Museum
Imperial Museum proposes a School of Archeology in Beirut as an autonomous unit of
l’Institut du Caire in 1912.
A few years later, in the aftermath of World War I, occupied İstanbul witnesses the
attempts of the Swedish to establish a Byzantine studies institute. This would provoke the
French to establish an institute of their own. Charles Diehl and Maurice Pernot affirm the
possibility and necessity of such an institute. L’Ecole d’archéologie et d’histoire de
Constantinople would cover studies geographically Thrace and Anatolia, scientifically
archeology, history and art history, and chronologically from prehistory to the contemporary
era. The library would be provided by l’Institut byzantin des Assomptionnistes which was
founded at the end of the 19t h century. Everything is ready for the establishment in 1922 as
the government in İstanbul is sympathetic but in a short period of time, the nation-state is
founded, the political wind is changed.
At last, René Dussaud (chief conservator of oriental antiquities at Musée du Louvre ),
Jean Marx (chief of the S ervice des oeuvres françaises à l'étranger ) and Albert Gabriel
(professor of art history at Université de Strasbourg and professor of archeology in İ stanbul
Üniversitesi ) would eventually succeed to establish such an institute eight years later. The
activities of the institute until 1989 were summarized mainly by Thobie , Metzger, Le Ridier 7
and Bacqué-Grammont and it will not be repeated here thoroughly, but it is also important to 8
trace the outlines of the history of the institute, mention its academic members, see the
variety of its publications, conferences and exhibitions . Gabriel, as the director of the 9
institute until 1956 , continues his researches and hosts permanent researchers and short 10 11
period scholars. Soon the institut starts its publications with three series: Mémoirs, Etudes
anatoliennes and Monuments turcs d’Anatolie . In 1936, Pierre Devambez, Emilie Haspels,
Raymond Jestin and Halet Çambel starts archeological excavations in Yazılıkaya. Claros and
Xanthos excavation sites are opened in 1950. In 1956, Louis Robert (specialist of Greek
7 See Thobie’s publications that focus on the early years of the institute mentioned above.
8 Davesne, A. (1989). Anatolie antique: fouilles françaises en Turquie: catalogue de l'exposition, Bibliothèque
nationale... 1er décembre 1989-16 avril 1990. Varia anatolica , 4 , 2001-2012.
9 Although these publications inform us on the general outlines of the history of the institution, Thobie focuses
on its early years, while the text edited by Metzger, Le Rider and Bacqué-Grammont (Davesne, ibid ) appears as
a short report on the activities of the institute. In my PhD dissertation, I plan to contextualize the subject in
detail, based on the archival material and discuss the scientific contribution of the institute.
10 He would return to France during World War II as his candidature at Collège de France is accepted. Henri
Seyrig and Henry Corbin would succeed as directors but Gabriel would return to his post in 1945.
11 Such as Christian Ducourneau, Yvan Stchoukine, Pierre Devambez, Edmond Saussey, Raymond Jestin, Pierre
Prost, Marcel Colombe, Emilie Haspels, Robert Mantran, Henry Metzger, Nikita Eliséeff, Xavier de Planhol.
epigraphy and historical geography, Collège de France ) becomes the director and collects the
publications under l a Bibliothèque archéologique et historique de l’Institut français
d’Archéologie d’Istanbul . Emmanuel Laroche (specialist of Anatolian languages and
civilizations, Université de Strasbourg ) succeeds Robert in 1964.
After 1972, it comes to attention of Paul Lemerle ( Collège de France ) that the
institute, not inhibited by its director, is insufficient scientifically and this triggers a reform in
1975. From that day forward, the director and the researchers would have to reside
permanently in İstanbul. A scientific committee is established. The institute is renamed,
considering its expanding scientific extent, as I nstitut français d’études anatoliennes . Henri
Metzger (classical archeology, Université de Lyon II ) is appointed as director . 12
Under the administration of George Le Ridier (general administrator of l a
Bibliothèque Nationale de France ), between 1981 and 1984, the number of permanent
researchers are increased from three to five: four French researchers and one Turkish
researcher . The collaboration with the Turkish academics is not limited only to the 13
accommodation of a Turkish researcher in the institute. Ekrem Akurgal’s conference on the
possibilities of French-Turkish joint researches in May 1982 should be seen as the announcer
of this collaboration; such as the study of the Galata district in Istanbul, Francophone press in
the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic, works in the collections of the Istanbul
Museums, participation in the Turkish excavation of Domuztepe.
Jean-Louis Bacqué-Grammont (Turkology, history of the Ottoman Empire, CNRS) is
the director between 1984 and 1990 . It is incorporated into the “society, architecture and 14
urbanism in Turkey” research group number 736 in CNRS in 1985. In 1988, Observatoire
12 Sylvestre Dupré (archeology of Ancient Anatolia), François Georgeon (modern Turkish history) and
Jean-Marie Carrié (Roman history) are appointed as permanent researchers and will be followed by Alain
Devesne (classical archeology), Francis Joannès (Assyriology), Dominique Halbout du Tanney (Ottoman art
history), Serge Sadler (architecture) and Michel Coindoz (archeology) in these years.
13 In addition to the researchers from the previous years; Bertrand Lafont (Assyriology), Nicolas Vatin
(Turcology), Michel Balivet (Byzantine studies), François Déroche (Coran studies), Gerard Groc (contemporary
history) and İbrahim Çağlar (contemporary history) join the research team.
14 In 1989, the scientific personnel of the institute composes of Jacques des Courtils (ancient history, Université
de Saint-Etienne), Jean-Charles Moretti (classical archeology), Edhem Eldem (economic and social history of
the Ottoman Empire, Research Assistant at Boğaziçi Üniversitesi ), Yücel Akat (ancient numismatics), Thierry
Zarcone (mystics and philosophy at the late Ottoman period), François Planet (numismatics), Michel
Tuchscherer (economic history of the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire), Frédéric Hitzel (French military
and technical cooperation in the 18 th century Ottoman Empire), Catherine Pujol (history of the Jewish
communities in the Iranian-Turkish world), Marie-José Nohlen (urbanism), Nathalie Depraz (philosophy and
socio-ethnology), Vincent Cauche (political sciences), Denis Chuit (political sciences), Erick Kraemer (political
sciences), Simon Pin (political sciences).
Urbain d’Istanbul is created based on the example of l ’Observatoire Urbain de Caire
Contemporain , to create a systematic documentation base on the urban evolution of Turkish
cities. At the end of 1989, the institute announces that it is one of the 21 French institutes
abroad, it focuses on multi-disciplinary studies on the Turkish Republic, Ottoman Empire and
the Turkic world, spanning between the prehistory and contemporary era.
At this time, the academic extent of the institute has evolved throughout 60 years to
cover the fields such as ethnology, history, language and civilizations, geography, geology,
architecture, urbanism and political sciences, as well as the initial disciplines (archeology,
epigraphy, art history...) due to the changes of conjuncture . Due to such expansion, the 15
institute witnessed the creation of Observatoire du Caucase in 2002 and Observatoire de la
vie politique en Turquie in 2005.
This research aims to examine the history of IFEA thoroughly. On this basis, it will
then discuss the institute’s contribution to history, archeology, art history, architectural
history and urbanism studies. The initial point of the research is rather obvious as the origins
of the institute extend to the 1880s. As a research in the institutional history field,
chronologically it will cover the subject until the end of the 1990s. This decision was made
not only as it is not rational for the history discipline to examine a matter in the last 20 years
but also because of the change of the nature of the archival material. Under the directorship of
Stéphane Yerasimos (1994-1999), IFEA’s archival system was adapted to the internet system
thus changing the archival documentation completely . We do understand that while the 16
documents before 1994 present a continuum, evolvement and integrity in itself, the change in
the last decade of the 20t h century needs to be determined. In conclusion, it is impossible for
now to state if the research includes the history of the institute until 1994 or until 1999,
without further examination in the archives.
While the dissertation will focus on the institutional archives and publications of
IFEA, reports of Conseil Scientifique de l’Institut in Paris and personal archives of its
scholars; thorough research in the Turkish and French state archives constitutes an important
phase of the research to observe the governmental approach on the matter of both the
Ottoman (then Turkish) and the French state. The archival examination in the
15 Conjunctural changes such as the scientific state of these disciplines affected by the global context,
French-Turkish relationships, the backgrounds and tendencies of the directors etc.
16 I am thankful to Dr. Jean-François Pérouse for sharing me this information.
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Devlet Arşivleri and the İ stanbul Arkeoloji Müzesi is already in progress. 17
Documents in France are mainly located in Archives Nationales, Archives Diplomatiques and
Institut Catholique de Paris , the latter as the holder of the library of l ’Institut français
d’Etudes Byzantines . 18
Institutional history in itself is indeed a significant branch in history, but especially in
disciplines such as art history and architectural history, institutional history, which has been
neglected, can provide an important base. Therefore its possibilities to contextualize various
matters depending on the context still needs to be explored. In my PhD dissertation, I intend
to examine the French contribution to mainly art and architectural history in the Turkish
Republic on the academic activities of IFEA as the a priori actor of this relation. I think such
research would offer a new perspective on the long-running French-Turkish relations under
the scope of academic activity. For this purpose, I would like to submit my application to be a
research associate (chercheur associé) of IFEA, which I see as the first step of my academic
collaboration with French academics in long term.
17 But the archives of the museum is not classified therefore not accessible at the moment.
18 Former l’Institut byzantin des Assomptionnistes