02/14 - 02/16/2018

Centre for Near and Middle Eastern Studies, Marburg, Germany

International Academic Workshop in Marburg on "The Politics of Culture in Contemporary Turkey". The purpose of this workshop will be to investigate contemporary (counter)hegemonic discourses on culture in Turkish society.

Until the 15th of November, papers can be handed in - you can find the Call for Papers here.

Political power in modern, capitalist societies, as outlined by Antonio Gramsci in his famous "Prison Notebooks", works through consensus more than force. Consensus, however, is based on the ruling elite's ability to obtain cultural hegemony and to establish its world view as the commonly accepted norm. Accordingly, culture must be seen as a site of ideological struggle in which different world views and ways of life compete with each other. From this perspective, the question of how a person lives—or, more particularly, how a person displays his or her way of life publicly—can easily turn into an ideological power struggle. Lifestyle presence, in this sense, can be an efficient means to lay claim to public space and to demand or contest political power. In our understanding the production of culture is thus not restricted to the realm of the arts (theatre, cinema, visual arts, literature, etc.), but also explicitly includes the realm of the ordinary—that is, performative acts such as, for instance, consuming alcoholic beverages in public or wearing a particular form of dress. Consequentially, this workshop aims to critically engage with questions of everyday cultural politics and institutionalized cultural policies alike.

The organizers Ass. Prof. Dr. Kaya Akyıldız and Dr. Pierre Hecker seek at bringing together researchers from different academic fields. We want to emphasize that this call is also open for scholars, creative artists, and cultural producers who do not have a university affiliation and are interested in a critical discussion of the following issues, among others:

  • cultural resistance and containment as represented in contemporary Turkish cinema, music, street art, fine arts, photography, literature, comic books, etc.
  • neo-religious conservatism as represented in school curricula, television programs, fashion, pious entertainment, etc.
  • neo-Ottomanism
  • secular and religious lifestyle practices
  • politics of difference and representations of nationalist, secular, pious, subcultural, etc. identities
  • cultural economics and cultural policies
  • politics of memory and the re-invention of national history