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Doctoral dissertation project of Uğur Çalışkan

Representations of the World: Appropriations and Denials of Capitalism in the Ottoman-Turkish Novel (1851–1901) (working title)

This doctoral dissertation project is going to analyze the representations of the capitalist mode of production in the fifteen novels written in Ottoman-Turkish with Arabic, Greek, and Armenian scripts and published in Istanbul from 1851 to 1901. By using the new historicist anecdote as the main method and by focusing on the interrelationality between the world and its representations in those texts, the aim is to foreground the commonizing experience of the capitalist world and its understandings in the second half of the 19th century. By doing that, I will consider the literary production in Istanbul as a part of world literature. In this perspective, this project will locate the experience of capitalism into the center of world literature debates again. However, instead of implementing center-oriented and model-oriented world literature theories, I will focus on the flexibility and plasticity of capitalism and novel; thus, I will try to understand world literature based on everyday and ever-changing experiences of the world and their representations.

By centering the 19th-century-Istanbul’s crucial intellectual and economical role in the Ottoman Empire, Mediterranean, Balkans and Eurasia, I will approach the 19th-century Ottoman-Turkish novel as a gallery of discourses – which is affected by and affecting newly emerging classes, different types of domestic slavery (odalisques, sütnines, “Arap Bacı”s, etc.) as pre-capitalistic subclass-formations, domestic wage-laborers, classes in decline, money economy, capitalism as a system, the world-system or imperialism, the process of being peripheral or “colonized”, family as an important productive and reproductive unit, imperial claims, fashion, alienation, and reification. Ottoman-Turkish literature’s interrelation with different central areas, different cultural centers for different nationalities, its having countless own peripheries and being a center for the more peripheral areas outside the Empire give me the chance to think of the 19th century Ottoman-Turkish novel as a world literature and reconsider the theory about the world literature in a very distinctive chronotope. Handling the birth of the Ottoman-Turkish novel from such a perspective means foregrounding a semi-central and a semi-peripheric novel at the discussion of the world literature. Centering that transnational, imperial, and at the same time – by not being from the center or where the world is invented in the 19th century – an un/national literature with its genesis in relation to the capitalism in the debate of world literature will bring new perspectives on the integration into one literary episteme.

 

Short biography

Uğur Çalışkan, born in 1991 in Istanbul, earned his B.A. degree in Turkish Language and Literature at Boğaziçi University, Istanbul in 2014. Çalışkan completed his M.A. studies at the same department with the thesis titled “Traumatic Poetics: Witnessing and Its Horizons in Leylâ Erbil’s Last Texts” in 2018. Between 2015 and 2017, he worked as the assistant of the research project titled “Witnessing of Literature to the Democratization of Turkey: Military Coups and Novels” executed by Dr. Çimen Günay-Erkol at Özyeğin University. Between 2016 and 2019, he taught Turkish literature and literary theory courses as a full-time instructor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University. In April 2019, he became a part of the “Integrated Track” at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne with his doctoral dissertation project. His supervisor is Jun.-Prof. Dr. Beatricé Hendrich from the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, University of Cologne. His research interests are literary trauma theory, philosophy of experience, world literature theory, literary history, and capitalistic development.

Contact: ugur.caliskan(at)smail.uni-koeln.de

 

Publications

“Taş, Beden, Tarih: Üç Başlı Ejderha’da Trajik Bilinç, Travmatik Bellek”, in: Pelin Şahin Tekinalp / Gonca Gökalp Alpaslan (ed.): Kültürel Bellek 2016, Ankara: Hacettepe University 2019, p. 53–70.

With Çimen Günay-Erkol: “Devising the Community by Novels from 1960s to February 28: Popular Manifestations of Political Islam”, in Moment Journal 3,1, 2016, p. 21–47. (In Turkish)

With Çimen Günay-Erkol: “Expectations from Memory: Witnessing of Criticism to Military Putches in the Turkish Novel”, in Monograf Journal 5, 2016, p. 10–35. (In Turkish)

With Çimen Günay-Erkol: “Crisis of Islamic Masculinities in 1968: Literature and Masquerade”, in Conference Proceedings of International Conference of in Gender and Women Studies 2016, Ankara: Middle East Technical University, p. 233–242.

 

Presentations

“Nedim’s Hammamiye: Was Another Love Possible in Divan Literature?”, April 2018, Özyeğin University LGBTIQ+ Club “From Differences to Awareness” Conference, Özyeğin University, Istanbul. (In Turkish)

With Çimen Günay-Erkol: “Turkey’s Military Periods and Literature as Memory Work,” December 2016, Thinking Through the Future of Memory: Inaugural Conference of Memory Studies Association, Amsterdam.

With Çimen Günay-Erkol: “Trauma on Paper: Testimonial Novels of Military Coups in Turkey”, October 2016, “Listening to Trauma: Insights & Actions” Conference, The Second Washington Conference on Trauma, The George Washington University, Washington D.C.

“Daughter, Father and Sea: Two Generations of the Republic and ‘People’ in Leylâ Erbil’s Tuhaf Bir Kadın”, May 2016, International VIII Symposium on History of Turkish Sea Trading”, Marmara University, Istanbul. (In Turkish)

With Çimen Günay-Erkol: “Crises of Islamic Masculinities in 1968: Literature and Masquerade,” October 2015, International Conference on Knowledge and Politics in Gender and Women Studies, Middle East Technical University, Ankara.

With Çimen Günay-Erkol: “Witnessing Military Coups in Turkish Literature and Literary-Political Forms of Memory”, “Memory”, July 2015, 1st Munzur-Zap Social Sciences Congress, Tunceli. (In Turkish)

 

Organised events

Workshop “Readings on Modern Novel in Turkish” February–May 2018, Özyeğin University.

 

Teaching experience

2018–2019 Spring

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature II”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (5 sections).

2018–2019 Fall

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature I”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (3 sections).

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature II”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (2 sections).

2017–2018 Summer

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature II”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University.

2017–2018 Spring

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature I”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (2 sections).

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature II”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (3 sections).

2017–2018 Fall

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature I”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (3 sections).

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature II”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (2 sections).

2016–2017 Summer

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature II”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University.

2016–2017 Spring

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature I”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (3 sections).

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature II”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (3 sections).

2016–2017 Fall

Compulsory Course “TLL 101: Turkish Language and Literature I”, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Özyeğin University (5 sections).

 

Cover photo: One of the backstreets in Pera District of Istanbul in 1875. It shows peoples from different nationalities and social classes in a marketplace with telegraph poles, tramlines, and signboards in Turkish, Greek, Armenian, French, and English. (Credit: Berggren, Guillaume, [Street in Pera], Neg. no. 211, Getty Research Institute General Collections, Pierre de Gigord collection of photographs of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey. Series I. Large format albums, 1852–1920, http://hdl.handle.net/10020/96r14d0251) // Potrait photo: Patric Fouad