Sociological Imaginations at Boğaziçi: "Absence of Memory Politics in Turkey"

22/12/2020 17:00

Sociological Imaginations at Boğaziçi is dedicated to exploring contemporary issues with scholars and intellectuals whose paths have crossed with the department over the years either as students or lecturers. We believe bolstering a dialogue between the academia and the general public becomes more urgent in times like these when the consequential relationship between personal experiences and the wider society has become more evident rendering sociological imaginations more indispensable. It is in this spirit, the Department of Sociology is hoping to create a medium and space that unites a forum of contemporary public debate with the Department's reflections on the past and present of its intellectual depth and diversity, hence providing a fresh connection to its lineage.

Here you can find the abstract of the talk and the short biography of Prof. Şeni:

Absence of Memory Politics in Turkey

After Second World War and particularly after the decade of 1970 memory issues became important elements of public policies, domestic and international. As a result, the strategies resulting from arbitrations and balances between plural, competing and conflicting memories are elements of contemporary politics and geopolitical issues. In the post-Holocaust (but I will use the word Shoah and will explain why) European picture, Turkey is one of the countries that remained neutral and, on whose borders, the SWW came to an end. Not having participated in it, and for reasons that have to do with its own history, Turkey did not "feel" concerned by the major questions and existential doubts as a civilization that the discovery of the death camps has addressed to Western civilization. Turkish intellectuals, artists and scholars remained foreign, indifferent, as much to the dread and dismay as to the doubts and debates aroused in Europe at the end of the war. From this point of view, Turkey and its elites remained outside what became European identity, its sensibility and culture after World War II. I will discuss the mechanisms and consequences of this "externality" of the Turkish educational, intellectual, artistic and media world on the political evolution in these last decades.

Nora Şeni is currently a professor of Geopolitics at Universite Paris-8 (Institut français de géopolitique). After graduating from Notre Dame de Sion and studying economics in France, she completed her PhD in political economy at Grenoble University. She is "entitled as director of research" (HDR, Habilitation à diriger la recherche) in modern history and urban studies. Her fields of interest include Turkey and geopolitical issues, 19th century ottoman history, urban history, cultural history and ways of life. Nora Şeni taught at Boğaziçi University Sociology Department as an invited professor in 2003. She was the director of the French Institute of Anatolian Studies (IFEA) in Istanbul from 2008 to 2012. She is the author of Dünya Ekonomisinde Hegemonik Sanayi ve Ereğli Demir Celik (Birikim, 1978); Marie ve Marie – Konstantiniye'de Bir Mevsim: 1856-1858 (Métropolis, 1998; İletişim, 1999); Camondolar-Bir Hanedanın Çöküşü (Actes Sud, 1997; İletişim, 2000; Kitap Yayınevi 2010 with Sophie Le Tarnec); Oryantalizm ve Hayırseverliğin İttifakı (La Martinière, 2005, YKY, 2009); L'invention du devoir d'ingérence. Le voyage d'Adolphe Crémieux en Egypte: 1840 (Isis, 2011) and Istanbul'da Özel Kültür Politikası ve Kentsel Alan (Bilgi Üniversitesi Yayinlari, 2011). As a documentary film director Nora Şeni directed "Et les Dimanches..? (Ya Pazarlari...?)" and "Si je t'oublie Istanbul... (Seni unutursam Istanbul....)".

Recent articles in English:

"A breakdown of Memorial Processes in Turkey": Bystanders, Rescuers or Perpetrators? The Neutral Countries and the Shoah. Guttstadt, Lutz, Rother, San Roman éd., Metropol Verlag and IHRA, Berlin, 2016, pp.289-301

"Polarization in a culturally changing society" Hérodote, no.148(2013)

"Survival of the Jewish Community of Turkey" in. A History of Jewish and Muslim Relations. From the Origins to the Present days. Princeton University Press, 2013, pp. 490-495



You can click on the following link to register for Prof. Şeni's talk: