Constellations of empire: on Habsburg and Ottoman sites of memory

Jeremy Walton


An eccentric castle perched on a promontory overlooking the sea, the former residence of an equally eccentric emperor. An exhibit in a military museum centered on a car that once conveyed an heir to the throne on a provincial parade that ended in his assassination, the spark that led to a worldwide conflagration. A monument to a military man and icon to nationalism whose history and biography obscure unsettling, less coherent narratives of the past. A partially-crumbling tower on a hill that commemorates a hero in frontier battles long ago, and once marked the southern frontier of an imagined empire. An art pavilion that was once a museum and, prior to that, a mosque that catered to a unique religious community that no longer exists. A locked cemetery that houses more dead members of a religion than those who now live in the sprawling city. These sites, and those like them, are the crucibles for both hegemonic post-imperial memories and the repositories of neglected imperial legacies today. Jeremy’s research project, “Constellations of Empire,” draws together a variety of post-imperial sites of memory and amnesia—monuments, museums, houses of worship, cemeteries, streets and squares, and ruins—to reflect on the contemporary images and possible futures of the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires.

Go to Editor View