Hollanda Araştırma Enstitüsü  -  Nederlands Instituut in Turkije

The anxieties of modernity: Literary subjectivities, temporality and identity in the Turkish novel

Ahmed Nuri (University of Amsterdam)

In my doctoral project, I investigate the relationship between the notion of modernity and literature in the context of Turkish modernization through selected literary works of three prominent Turkish authors, Ahmet H. Tanpınar, Adalet Agaoğlu, and Orhan Pamuk. The aim of my research is to discuss and undertake an analysis of Turkish modernity with a focus on spatial and temporal dimensions which take into consideration Westernization/Occidentalism, nation-building process, secularization as essential categories, respectively. My research involves various aspects and structural elements of the socio-cultural, intellectual, and literary history of the modernization of Turkey, considering different representations, discourses, and reflections in and through the novels.

During my stay in Istanbul, I have had a productive period of my doctoral research process so far. Prior to my arrival at the Netherlands Research Institute in Istanbul, I had already nearly finished the first chapter of my doctoral thesis. I, however, had a chance to use several references and sources from the library at the Institute that helped me to revise and sharpen some of my references, and therefore, to finish writing and editing the whole chapter. I have also written a full draft of another chapter of my dissertation thanks to the peaceful and inspiring atmosphere both at the library and the Institute that helped me to be more productive in research and writing. In this regard, being awarded a grant by the NIT, and thereby, getting the opportunity to work on some parts of my research was highly valuable for my dissertation and inspirational for me as a young scholar, if considering staying at the heart of Istanbul that provides innumerable cultural and literary activities in such a historical environment.

The grant at the Institute helped me to revise some of my theoretical arguments and literary analyses while I was working on the final version of the first chapter of my dissertation. The possibility to spend a month at the Institute provided me to explore some other subjects on which I am academically interested in working. In the meantime, I took an initiative to organize a panel “Reframing the Turkish Novel: new Perspectives on Literary Narratives at the Netherlands Institute in Turkey as the outcome of the grant provided by NIT. The panel consists of two talks presented by two scholars from Boğaziçi University, Erol Köroğlu and Arif Tapan, apart from my presentation on literary modernism and narratology.

Apart from the combination of these academically inspiring and productive processes, the Institute with its academic activities and network offered me a terrific opportunity to meet several scholars with a common interest in literature and Turkey. I hope to get yet another opportunity to stay and conduct my research in the near future.