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
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.