Talk: “Contested Identities in History: The Case of Turkey and Europe”
Assoc. Prof. Senem Aydın-Düzgit
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Sabancı University
Thursday, March 29, 2018, 12:30 p.m.
FEASS Building, A-130
Turkey’s and Europe’s perceptions of each other play a key role in shaping their relations at present. Recent public discourses in Europe often characterize Turkish and European identities as dichotomous and in opposition. However, this assessment is based on a fixed and static understanding of identity which does not take into account how multi-layered and changing identities are and thus do not do justice to the complex, fluid and contested evolution of the intimate and emotionally charged relationship between Turkey and Europe. Starting with the Ottoman Empire’s attempts to associate itself with “European civilization” in the nineteenth century, this presentation will analyze mutual identity representations in Turkey and Europe during select cultural encounters, such as Sultan Abdulaziz’s visit to Europe and the Paris World Fair in 1866, a Turkish woman’s victory in the Miss Universe competition in 1932, and the release of the movie Midnight Express in 1978, by drawing from a variety of sources including the memoirs of diplomats, literary texts, travel journals, newspaper/journal articles and political speeches. By outlining important pathways and turning points in changing conceptions of civilization in the past, it will seek to generate scenarios for future understandings.
Senem Aydın-Düzgit is an Associate Professor of International Relations at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Sabancı University, and a Senior Scholar and Research and Academic Affairs Coordinator at the Istanbul Policy Center. She was previously a Jean Monnet Chair of EU Political and Administrative Studies in the Department of International Relations at Istanbul Bilgi University. Her main research interests include EU foreign policy, Turkish foreign policy, discourse studies and politics of identity. She holds a PhD from Vrije Universiteit Brussels, an MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a BA from Boğaziçi University. Her articles have been published in Journal of Common Market Studies, West European Politics, Cooperation and Conflict, Politics, South European Society and Politics, Alternatives, and Politique Europeenne among others. She is the author of (with Nathalie Tocci) Turkey and the European Union (Palgrave, 2015) and Constructions of European Identity: Debates and Discourses on Turkey and the EU (Palgrave, 2012). She is a member of the ECFR Council and a member of Carnegie Endowment’s Rising Democracies Network. She also serves as the Associate Editor of South European Society and Politics. She was awarded the Young Scientist Award of Turkey’s Science Academy (BAGEP) in 2014.