Reading Urban Palimpsests: Recontextualizing Landscapes of Power and Memory in Tashkent, Uzbekistan
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Rhetorical landscapes of the city consist of deliberately arranged ensembles of monumental spaces and mnemonic structures, emblematic of power and memory. However, the memory narrative they tell is constructed through selective erasure and replacement of aspects of the past. Variations of such narratives are evident in the urban layers of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, since the beginning of its modern history marked by its siege by the Tsarist Russians. Every change in the ideology of the state was accompanied by an identity crisis resulting in rewriting of the city’s historical narrative through the reconstruction of its rhetorical landscapes. By recontextualizing the multiple erased temporalities of the site, this thesis proposes an architectural framework that suggests alternative memory narratives generated through personal engagement and multiple readings - countering the official, univocal version of history. This thesis treats the site as a palimpsest, a multi-layered text - criticizing the tabula rasa or the clean slate approach taken by the state.