Turkey and Europe: Negotiating Identities through History

Turkey and Europe: Negotiating Identities through History
Bahar Rumelili, Jean Monnet Chair of International Relations, Koc University, Istanbul; Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science, UBC
with introductory remarks by Emel Tastekin, Arts Studies in Research and Writing, UBC

Coach House, Green College, UBC
Tuesday, March 20, 5-6:30 pm, with reception to follow

in the series
Green College Special Lecture

Turkey’s and Europe’s perceptions of each other play a pivotal role in shaping their relations at present. It is often argued that Turkey is Europe’s Other, that Islam and Europe / the West are incompatible and hence that the EU will never admit Turkey as a member. Such simplistic views do not do justice to the complex, fluid and contested evolution of this intimate and emotionally charged relationship. 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 outlining important pathways and turning points in changing conceptions of civilization in the past, it will seek to generate scenarios for future understandings.

Bahar Rumelili is Associate Professor and Jean Monnet Chair at the Department of International Relations, Koc University, Istanbul. In the 2017-8 academic year, she is also Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, UBC. Her primary research areas are international relation theory and European studies, with a focus on identity, ontological security, conflict resolution, and citizenship. She teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses on European integration, European foreign policy, and international relations theory.




Emel Tastekin  completed her PhD in English Literature at UBC in 2011. Her dissertation was a case study of the German-Jewish scholar of Islam, Abraham Geiger (1810-74), his emancipatory struggle as a Jewish minority subject, and his contributions to a postcolonial representation of Islam. Currently she has turned to more recent political debates on multiculturalism and religious pluralism in the West as problematized by contemporary novels on migrant subjects. She is interested in diasporic memory/memorialization and the implicit criticism towards state hospitality laws in these novels. Before coming to UBC’s Arts Studies in Research and Writing, she taught postcolonial literature, German literature, and nineteenth-century British novel in Izmir, Turkey.