European-Turkish Relations from a Reciprocal and Long-Term Perspective

Supervised by: Dr. Malte Fuhrmann

Duration: 2010–2013 (finished)

Despite the development of Euro-Turkish relations, the in-depth examination of the position of Turkey in the European area has laid the foundations for intense basic research emphasizing the complexity, longue durée, and reciprocity of the transfer processes. Accordingly, irrespective of the political situation, it is not a question of whether Turkey is or should be part of Europe, or whether it is or should be linked to Europe. Of greater concern is the fact that Turkey has multi-faceted relations with the countries to the west and north of it, which must be properly analyzed and recognized. At the same time, this basic research on the Turkish-European relationship is polycentric and relies on different networks depending on the discipline and scholarly language. The task of the research field European-Turkish relations from a mutual and long-term perspective was to achieve a deeper understanding of these relations by bringing the different subfields together.

Publication Project: Bursa and the Germans in the Past and Present

Supervised by: Prof. Dr. Raoul Motika and Dr. Malte Fuhrmann

Duration: 2011–2015 (finished)

So far, the fourth largest city in Turkey, Bursa, has received little attention in the study of the history of Turkish-German relations. At the recommendation and with the financial support of the Bursa city council, a wide-ranging collaborative project has been launched to overcome this deficit under the direction of the Orient-Institut Istanbul. In addition to various institutions in Bursa, the project enjoys the active support of the German Archaeological Institute Istanbul, the Goethe-Institut and the German Consulate General Istanbul. Headed by Dr. Malte Fuhrmann and Prof. Dr. Raoul Motika, ten scholars in Turkey, Germany, and France have produced contributions on various aspects of Bursa relations with Germany and the Germans. The results of the project are now available in book form.

Scientific Emigration to Turkey as Cultural Translation Process.
Traugott Fuchs: A Philologist and Artist at the Cross-Roads of Science and Politics      

Supervised by: Dr. Yiğit Topkaya

Duration: 2014 ̶ 2015

Sponsored by: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF)

Yiğit Topkaya’s postdoctoral project deals with research on German scientific emigration after 1933 in the framework of political and cultural history. It examines the structural impact of the emigration of German scientists to Turkey on the local university and social reforms. The focus is on the research and teaching activities of the academic milieu surrounding the Romance philologists Leo Spitzer, Erich Auerbach, and Traugott Fuchs. Drawing on the concept of “culture as translation,” the historical correlation between science migrants and the Turkish education policy is interpreted in the context of a transnational history of science as a process of “cross-cultural translation.” The extensive and still barely researched archives of the estate of Traugott Fuchs were evaluated. As part of this project, the OII hosted together with the Bogazici University the international conference “Mimesis in Transl/National Turn” (Istanbul, 17–18 Dec. 2015), organized by Dr. Yigit Topkaya, Prof. Dr. Özlem Ögüt Yazicioglu, and Prof. Dr. Raoul Motika. An expanded volume of the conference proceedings is currently in progress.

International Knowledge Circulation and Its Obstacles: Pitfalls, Misunderstandings, Delays, Discontinuities, and Failures in the Introduction of Theoretical Works and Discipline Formation in Turkey on the Example of Max Weber and Sigmund Freud

Supervised by: Dr. Alexandre Toumarkine

Duration: 2012

This project is the result of many years of engagement with the reception of the ideas and works of Western thinkers in Turkey, as well as discipline formation on the basis of knowledge reception. In Turkey, the reception of knowledge from the West has mainly been dominated by the paradigm of Westernization and the necessity of creating “national knowledge.” Simultaneously, the reception of Max Weber shows an interest in Euro-centrist ideas of the Orient and a critical attitude toward these concepts. Nevertheless, the introduction of ideas is not limited to the tension between Occidentalism and nationalism. The internalization of knowledge is a complex and often unfinished, but necessary, process, in which this tension is supposed to be resolved. But viewing the results of successful intellectual transfer processes obscures this tension and the inherent complexity of the process. Furthermore, the reception is also subject to the disciplinary structures of the Turkish educational system and is in competition with concurrent alternative approaches (in the case of Weber, specifically the ideas of Durkheim), which have played a formative role in Turkey.

As Pierre Bourdieu remarked, their contexts are not part of the circulation of works that cross over national borders. In the Turkish case, for instance, it can be observed that important scholars were received in different disciplines than in the original context. This is evident in the case of Sigmund Freud’s early reception as a philosopher and educator, not a psychiatrist, and that of Max Weber, who was perceived as a political and historical economist, not as a sociologist. Therefore, the role of the mediators of the transfer process was investigated in the project with respect to their intellectual resources and their positioning in the local scientific community. For these reasons, the project focuses on instances of problematic transfers, in particular the reception of Freud and Weber, whose successful appropriation came only after a delay of several decades. An article and a lecture about this project is available.

From Knowledge Transfer to New Scientific Perspectives: The Transformation of Orientalist and Philological Research at the Ankara Faculty of Languages, History and Geography from 1935 to 1948

Supervised by: Till Luge, MA

Duration: 2013 ̶ 2015 (finished)

Academic work on exiled German scientists in Turkey largely deals with their contribution to Turkish scholarship, as well as their urgent personal and familial circumstances. This research project, by contrast, attends to the contributions these scholars made to their respective scientific disciplines. It seeks to determine how the exiles’ perspectives changed during their stay in Turkey. Using the example of the Faculty of Languages, History and Geography in Ankara, the project aims to show the extent to which the work of German exiles was influenced vis-à-vis the new interdisciplinary collaboration with other exiles and also with Turkish colleagues, the lack of resources and research opportunities in the previously dealt with fields, the discrimination and persecution in Germany and the refugee status in Turkey, as well as the personal and academic proximity to humanist and socialist Turkish academics. This project proposes that various marginalizations increased interest in the treatment of subjects on the fringe or outside of the scientific exiles’ own disciplines and hence opened up new perspectives within orientalist and philological disciplines.

The European Habitus in the Ottoman City—Urban Planning, Cultural Practices, and Conflict in the 19th and 21st Century

Supervised by: Dr. Malte Fuhrmann

Duration: 2010–2013 (finished)

The project examined the so-called Europeanization process of the Ottoman Empire in the period from 1838 ̶ 1908. In previous research, this has primarily been studied on the basis of intellectual and political history as well as (external) economic or socio-structural change. In contrast, the emphasis here was placed on the cultural level in order to shed light on hitherto largely ignored issues, as well as on the actor level.

Fuhrmann, Malte; Motika, Raoul (eds.). Tarihte Bursa ve Almanlar. Bursa und die Deutschen. Bursa: Bursa Kültür A.Ş. 2016

Wittmann, Richard. “Papierblumen, Seide und Thermen am Fuße des Olymps. Bursa in deutschsprachigen Reiseberichten von der Renaissance bis zur Romantik.” In: Malte Fuhrmann and Raoul Motika (eds.): Deutsche in Bursa. Bursa: Belediye Yayınları, 2016. 42–67.

Alexandre Toumarkine. “The Introduction of Max Weber’s Thought and its Uses in Turkey. National Stakes and Foreign Actors”. Max Weber Stiftung (ed.) [edited by Michael Kaiser, Harald Rosenbach], Max Weber in der Welt – Rezeption und Wirkung. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2014. 33-46.

Fuhrmann, Malte. “Die Bagdadbahn.” Jürgen Zimmerer (ed.). Kein Platz an der Sonne. Erinnerungsorte der deutschen Kolonialgeschichte. Frankfurt: Campus 2013. 190-207.

—- “‘Our New and Great Cultural Missions in the Orient’: German Faith-Based and Secular Missionary Activities in the late Ottoman Empire.” Haldun Gülalp, Günter Seufert, (ed.). Germany and Turkey in Interaction. Religious Identities and Institutions. London: Routledge, 2013. 47–60.

—-. “Anti-, Non-, or Post-Saidian?: The Challenge of Discussing German Orientalism.” Review essay on Marchand, Susanne. German Orientalism in the Age of Empire. Cambridge: University Press 2009.

—-. “Deutschlands Abenteuer im Orient. Eine Geschichte semi-kolonialer Entanglements.” Hatice Bayraktar, Ramazan Çalik, Claus Schönig (eds.). Türkisch-Deutsche Beziehungen. Perspektiven aus Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Berlin: Klaus Schwarz Verlag 2012. 10–33.

—-. “Die Mekkabahn/The Mecca Railway.” Joachim Gierlichs (ed.). Roads of Arabia (exhibition catalog, Museum of Islamic Art). Berlin: Wasmuth 2012. 288-297.

—-. “Germany’s Adventures in the Orient: A History of Ambivalent Semi-Colonial Entanglements.” Volker Langbehn, Mohammad Salama (eds.). Colonial (Dis)-Continuities: Race, Holocaust, and Postwar Germany. New York: Columbia University Press 2011. 123–145.

—-. “‘I would rather be in the Orient.’ European Lower Class Immigrants into the Ottoman Lands.” Ulrike Freitag (ed.). The City in the Ottoman Empire: Migration and the Making of Urban Modernity. London: Routledge 2011. 228–241.

—-. “Peripherie und Wiege der Zivilisation. Die schwierige Verortung des ‘griechischen Orients’ im Europadiskurs des späten 19. Jahrhunderts.” Maria Oikonomou, Maria Stassinopoulou, Ioannis Zelepos (eds.). Griechische Dimensionen südosteuropäischer Kultur seit dem 18. Jahrhundert. Berlin: Peter Lang 2011. 45–56.

—-, Freitag, Ulrike; Lafi, Nora; Riedler, Florian (eds.). The City in the Ottoman Empire: Migration and the Making of Urban Modernity. London: Routledge, 2011.

—-. “Vagrants, Prostitutes, and Bosnians: Making and Unmaking European Supremacy in Ottoman South East Europe.” Nathalie Clayer, Hannes Grandits, Robert Pichler (eds.). Conflicting Loyalties: Social (Dis-)Integration and National Turn in the Late and Post-Ottoman Balkan Societies (1839–1914). London: I.B. Tauris 2011. 15–45.

Lecture series at the Orient-Institut Istanbul: Reclaiming Istanbul: Public Spaces in Past and Present

Supervised by: Dr. Malte Fuhrmann

Event date: Fall/Winter 2012 ̶ 2013

In this series of lectures, the Orient-Institut Istanbul addresses the public space in Istanbul in its past and present. Experts from different disciplines studied various forms and locations of public space, which developed in certain periods an important social, cultural, and symbolic meaning for the city.

Der Einfluss der deutschen Wissenschaftsemigration in die Türkei auf die Entwicklung der türkischen Wissenschaftslandschaft

Verantwortlich: Dr. Yiğit Topkaya (Universität Basel, Translation Studies/Romanistik)

Unterstützt von: SNF (1. Juli 2014 – 1. Mai 2015)