Kadir Dede will address the characteristics of early republican novels during the nation-building process in Turkey and discuss their situation related to the debates on history and civilization.
The novel can be addressed with the genre’s political characteristics and critical roles in the development of nationalism and formation of nations. It is mostly an instrument to define the content of national identity, to popularize nationalist characteristics and to present friends and enemies from up to bottom. Turkish novels published in the early Republican period are recurrent examples of this situation. After the establishment of the new republic in 1923, nation-building became the most important and urgent component of the political agenda in Turkey. “Nationalizing the masses” was a critical aspect of these policies, therefore new regime applied to different instruments such as literature, music, theatre and other genres of art. However, the situation of the novel in this process also corresponds to a distinctive case due to Turkey’s situation between recent past and future ideals, between the old empire and the new nation-state and between East and West. In addition to their function to spend the “homogenous, empty time”, novels were considered for their contribution to creating lingual integrity, providing a way of communication between people and state, and being an alternative educational institution. Ultimately aspects of the novel such as topic, theme, character, time, and space were not independent of nation-building process and composed a literary canon which shaped related to the accomplishment of their function in general.
This seminar will address the characteristics of early republican novels during the nation-building process in Turkey and discuss their situation related to the debates on history and civilization. Whilst the new regime introduced itself as a break from the imperial past by emphasizing the pre-Ottoman past of Turks, criticizing Islamic heritage and relating Turkishness with “Western” civilization, novels of the era were significant instruments in order to cultivate the regime’s perception on history, culture, and civilization with a detailed way. By focusing on the literary texts, the seminar will also interpret the situation of art and aesthetics in a “belated modernization” case.
VENUE: Bushuis, Room E.101E