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Some Historiographical Notes On The Islamic City With Particular Reference To The Visual Representation Of The Built City

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Chapter Summary

At the beginning of the twentieth century European scholarship on the Islamic city was based mainly on two approaches: one who attributed the structure of Islamic cities to social and religious factors and another one who sought to describe their structure through an approach which was more dependent on an analysis of the urban structure and its physical features. In general, beginning with the use of cadastral surveys in urban studies, the Orientalist approach that had characterized the Western attitude towards the study of Islamic cities which was based on an interpretation of these cities as esoteric and mysterious. From this moment, interest in the physical structure of cities in these regions was no longer the exclusive domain of simplified surveys, visual representations, or literary descriptions, but became part of a more widespread interest in urban and architectonic classification carried out by colonialists, beginning in the eighteenth century.

Keywords: European scholarship; Islamic cities; Orientalist; urban studies; visual Representations



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