Conference: “Translating Turanism: German-Turkish Cultural Relations of the Early 20th Century,” Dr. Kristin Dickinson (University of Michigan), A-130, 5:40PM May 3 (EN)

Dear Colleagues and Students,

On Thursday, May 3rd, Asssistant Professor Kristin Dickinson from the University of Michigan will give the following talk, as part of the Center for Turkish Literature Speaker Series.

“Translating Turanism: German-Turkish Cultural Relations of the Early 20th Century”

The talk will be in English and take place in A-130 at 17:40. Refreshments will be available.

In 1916, at the height of German-Turkish political relations, the orientalist, journalist, and literary critic Friedrich Schrader completed the first full length translation of a Turkish novel into German: Halide Edip’s Yeni Turan (1911). In this talk, I explore Edip’s utopic vision of Pan-Turkism in conjunction with Schrader’s own efforts to foster deeper forms of German-Turkish cultural exchange in the Ottoman Empire during WWI. At the same time that he lent support to the Young Turk Revolution (1908), Schrader staged plays by Schiller, gave lectures on German classicism in Ottoman, and translated works of late Ottoman literature into German. As an avowed social democrat, his decision to translate Halide Edip’s The New Turan (1911) in 1916 would seem to have had clear political motives; the translation further appeared in the Deutsche Orientbücherei series, which devoted significant attention to Pan-Turkism as a bulwark against the common enemy of Russia. However, I argue that Schrader’s decision to translate Yeni Turan actually reflects his own failed attempt to ‘translate’ European humanism into the late Ottoman political realm.

Speaker’s Biography:
Kristin Dickinson received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California Berkeley and is currently Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of Michigan. Her research interests include questions of world literature, translation theory, cross-linguistic remembrance, linguistic purity, and critical monolingualism. Recent articles have appeared in New German Critique, Turkish German Studies Yearbook, Transit, and Critical Multilingualism Studies. Her current book project, Translation and the Experience of Modernity: A History of German Turkish Connectivity, traces the development of a German Turkish translational relationship from the early 19th century to the present. The historical framework of this book is informed by the centrality of large-scale translation movements to the cultural experience of modernity and the development of a national literary identity in both the German and Turkish contexts.