Dear Colleagues and Students,
On Tuesday, May 8th, Dr. Peter J. Cherry from the British Institute at Ankara (BIAA) will give the following talk, as part of the Center for Turkish Literature Speaker Series.
” Transcultural Travel in Turkey: British Travel Writing, Grace Ellison and Zeynep Hanım ”
The talk will be in English and take place in A-130 at 16:40.
Refreshments will be available.
The vast majority of studies that examine Anglophone textual and cultural representations of Turks and Turkey have focused upon the figure of the Turk in centuries prior to the twentieth century (Johanyak 2009, Ingram 2015, Katz 2016). For writers such as Byron, Ottoman lands were a fecund site of the imagination for their supposedly exotic beliefs, costumes and customs which meant that the figure of the Turk was cast as a stereotyped ‘Other’, representative of an exceptional wickedness, malice and sexual perversity against which the British Empire was defined in counter-image. In this paper, I will outline some key features of British travel writing in Turkey and argue that the travel writing of Grace Ellison in her volume An Englishwoman in a Turkish Harem (1915) and of Zeynep Hanım in her book A Turkish Woman’s European Impressions (1913) marks an important intervention into centuries of binaristic representation through the two writers’ mutual working and editing relationship. Drawing on the work of Mary Louise Pratt, I will argue that these texts are themselves ‘contact zones’ in which concepts of (Turkish and British) national, cultural and gendered identity are thrown into sharp relief and how their formal qualities expose the ways in which national, cultural and gendered identities are commodified for popular consumption. In so doing, I will propose that travel writing has an important role to play in theories of World Literature and the ways that national cultures are perceived in global literary systems.
Dr Peter Cherry is Postdoctoral Fellow at the British Institute at Ankara. His research interests focus on questions of, and intersections between, gender, sexuality, migration and travel in modern and contemporary Turkish and British cultural production. His current research project examines how British travel writing and literature engaged with the end of the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of Turkish national identities in the early to mid-twentieth century. Peter is also working on adapting his PhD research into a book, titled Muslim Masculinities in Literature and Film: Transcultural Identity and Migration in Britain, which will be published by I.B. Tauris in 2020. He holds a BA (Hons) in English and Comparative Literature from Goldsmiths, University of London, and an MSc and a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Edinburgh. His work has been published in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature.