Roundtable | Memoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined) TFDC 1.18
Jul 06, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230706T0900 20230706T1030 Europe/London 5.25. Contested Memoryscapes: Politics of Commemoration, Celebration, and Forgetting in/of the Turkish Republic

On 29 October 2023, Turkey will celebrate the centenary of the proclamation of the Republic. This promises to be a spectacular and carefully politized event, in line with earlier celebrations of National Days and other "defining moments" in the state's autobiography (such as the conquest of Istanbul – celebrated in ever aggrandising scale under the AKP government). In official historiography, the birth of the Republic has been represented as a historic and redemptive cataclysm, forging the "Turkish Nation" from idealised and homogeneous notions of culture, space, language, religion, economic prosperity, and military glory. Hence the complex historical processes resulting in the emergence of the modern Republic are represented in distinctly constructive and forward looking terms. A master narrative of civilisational triumph and national unity glosses over historical complexity, domestic (cultural, religious, regional, local) diversity and conflict, not to mention the humanitarian atrocities which also have accompanied the emergence of modern Turkey. Commemoration and celebration hence signify amnesia as much as memory; it orchestrates silence and omission as much as pomp and circumstance.Idealised notions notwithstanding, Turkey (past and present) comprises political, cultural, religious, ethnic, linguistic, and socio economic cleavages and conflicts – intimately interconnected with contesting memory narratives. The past decades have witnessed deepening polarisations: between religiously oriented and secularist political camps; between state interests and local/regional ethno linguistic minorities; between a socio conservative cultural bureaucracy and contesting voices in civil society and cultural production.The contemporary construction and contest of Tu ...

TFDC 1.18 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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On 29 October 2023, Turkey will celebrate the centenary of the proclamation of the Republic. This promises to be a spectacular and carefully politized event, in line with earlier celebrations of National Days and other "defining moments" in the state's autobiography (such as the conquest of Istanbul – celebrated in ever aggrandising scale under the AKP government). In official historiography, the birth of the Republic has been represented as a historic and redemptive cataclysm, forging the "Turkish Nation" from idealised and homogeneous notions of culture, space, language, religion, economic prosperity, and military glory. Hence the complex historical processes resulting in the emergence of the modern Republic are represented in distinctly constructive and forward looking terms. A master narrative of civilisational triumph and national unity glosses over historical complexity, domestic (cultural, religious, regional, local) diversity and conflict, not to mention the humanitarian atrocities which also have accompanied the emergence of modern Turkey. Commemoration and celebration hence signify amnesia as much as memory; it orchestrates silence and omission as much as pomp and circumstance.

Idealised notions notwithstanding, Turkey (past and present) comprises political, cultural, religious, ethnic, linguistic, and socio economic cleavages and conflicts – intimately interconnected with contesting memory narratives. The past decades have witnessed deepening polarisations: between religiously oriented and secularist political camps; between state interests and local/regional ethno linguistic minorities; between a socio conservative cultural bureaucracy and contesting voices in civil society and cultural production.

The contemporary construction and contest of Turkish memoryscapes therefore carry acute political significances, to be explored in this Roundtable. As all official commemorations, the 2023 Republican centenary will not only celebrate an event in history. It is part and parcel of the creation of history, through distinct and selective historiographic, conceptual, and performative orchestration. By approaching the commemoration in/of the Republic as predicated on and guided by multiple voices, experiences, spaces, and modalities, this session aims at probing the complexity and ambiguities of contemporary Turkish memory culture. What is the dynamic of state orchestrated notions of past and present, vis à vis (counter)narratives expressive of local, regional, familial, personal memory? How are memories recast, rescaled, and re spatialised? How are notions of secularity and religion revisited, rethought and re visualised? To what extent may amnesias be contested and, potentially, broken?

The proposed Roundtable will be organised within the framework of the research project Beyond Sacred/Secular Cities: Exploring Politics of Memory, Space, and Religion (Centre for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University). The joint discussion will take its point of departure in four short interventions, introducing various perspectives on textual, visual, digital, imagined, spatial, and performative memoryscapes in Turkey:

• From agonistic memory to epistemic justice: Framing memory debates in Turkey in the Centenary of the Republic (Devrim Sezer)
• Memory and forgetting in Alevi conceptions of Atatürk's Republic (Hege Markusen)
• Triumph and trauma: Commemorating the conquest of Izmir in state and (trans)local narrative (Torsten Janson)

Associate Professor of Political Thought
,
Izmir University of Economics
Dr. /Researcher
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Lund University, Centre for Theology and Religious Studies
Senior Lecturer
,
Lund University, Center for Advanced Middle Eastern Studies
Professor
,
Lund University
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