[P6433] Legacies of Imperialism in Ottoman-Turkish Literature
Created by Kaitlin Staudt
Wednesday, 12/01/21 11:30 am
SUMMARY:The question of Ottoman imperiality raises several questions for the study of Ottoman-Turkish literary production in a postcolonial framework. Ottoman-Turkish literature was imperial literature. Yet scholars frequently mention the paradox that the polity was both an empire in its own right and the site of European colonial interventions. Even so,there has not yet been sustained engagement with how this both-empire-and-occupied dynamic offers new paradigms for postcolonial literary studies. Similarly, while historical approaches have, in recent years, highlighted the ways in which Ottoman imperiality increasingly adapted and adopted European colonial practices and terms, Turkish literary studies have been slow to adopt an imperial lens for the study of late Ottoman literature in favor of teleologies which emphasize the fiction and poetry of this period as proto-Turkish. Definitions of Turkishness across the twentieth century have also meant that the presence of Ottoman themes within Turkish literature has been regarded as evidence of the author’s muhafazkâr [conservative] convictions or uncritical self-Orientalizing.
This panel contends that paying attention to the relationship between imperialism and literature in the Ottoman-Turkish context can provide important insights into the relationship between literature and imperiality. This approach can both challenge the binary of colonizer-colonized dynamics of postcolonial theory and reveal how Republican ideologies often still impact the reception of Ottoman themes in Turkish literature. The work of this panel also offers new ways to think through how the structures of imperiality unique to the Ottoman Empire can expand the paradigms of postcolonial studies to include non-European imperial practices. The panel presents a range of methodological case studies for the study of Ottoman-Turkish literature and the legacy of Ottoman imperiality and/or imperialism. These include poetry and fiction, literary criticism and theory, from a range of periods from the late Ottoman period to contemporary Turkey.