Coordinators: Hamit BOZARSLAN and Emmanuel SZUREK
The EHESS introduced studies on contemporary Turkey in the 1980’s with the creation of the ETO team (‘Ottoman and Turkish studies,’ EHESS, then CNRS-EHESS, 1990). The late Altan Gökalp, an anthropologist, was along with François Georgeon one of the team’s first coordinators and facilitators. Today, this field of study relies on a group of professors and researchers from the EHESS and the CNRS, as well as on a dense network of graduate students, previous doctoral students, and post-doctoral researchers, many of which are Turkish nationals. Their academic trajectories and their grounding in various disciplines allow for a double approach to contemporary Turkey that links political sociology and history and the study of Ottoman heritage with that of the present time. Such a combination contributes to an understanding of the dynamics of continuity and the radical breaks experienced in Ottoman and post-Ottoman spaces in the 20th and 21st centuries. Turkey is both studied within its contemporary borders and regarding its historical and current ties to the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East, with a primary concern for its connection with Russian and European societies. By taking into account these various and heterogenous intersections, this approach encourages comparative and intersecting perspectives, making the CETOBaC a site of observation of circulations, rather than of a single ‘area of study.’
These temporal and spatial perspectives shed new insight on various topics such as forms of belonging, trans-border mobilities, the emergence of political microclimates, the phenomenon of violence, the feminine condition, the circulation of currents of ideas and material culture, and political imaginaries — particularly nationalist — on the formation and crisis of public institutions in the Ottoman Empire and Republican Turkey.
Among the themes that particularly spark the interest of collaborators of this program are:
—The transnational history of political movements and thought (Unionism, ‘Kemalism,’ conservatisms, right-wing movements, Islamism and other ‘-isms’);
— The sociology of political affiliation and collective action (unions, political parties, associations, social and political mobilization);
— Sociology and socio-history of the state and public institutions, including on a municipal scale;
— The role of coercion, violence and war in the modeling and remodeling of nationalist Turkey;
— Religiosities, religious pluralisms, religious authorities, secularisms and secularizations;
— Questions of gender: feminist struggles, women’s political participation, political masculinities
— Urban sociology, poverty and charity, the emergence of clientelism in underprivileged neighborhoods, urban integration;
— Migrations, displacements and mobilities in the post-Ottoman space;
— Kurdish space, armed protest and Kurdish civil resistance in Turkey, the formation of Kurdistan in Iraq, Kurdish movement and violence;
— Questions of memory and the 1915 genocide of Armenians;
— Persecutions of Jews and Christians in post-genocide Turkey;
— Culture and media, cultural policies in AKP Turkey.
Several members of the team serve on the editorial and scientific committee of the European Journal of Turkish Studies. They also maintain institutional relations with colleagues from Europe, Turkey and the US, mainly via joint doctoral programs, ERASMUS exchange programs and the invitation of visiting professors to the EHESS. The two first ‘CETOBaC Conferences,’ respectively held by Erik-Jan Zürcher (Leiden University) and Hans-Lukas Kieser (University of Newcastle, Australia/ University of Zürich) in 2018, are the result of such collaborations. Many of the researchers active in this field also take part in scholars-at-risk programs for Turkish students and academics in emergency situations, particularly through the PAUSE program created in January 2017. With the completion of the Condorcet Campus in 2021, the CETOBaC will strengthen its potential in this field of study thanks to a new focus on documentary sources concerning Turkey and the post-Ottoman space.
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