In “What is World Literature?”, David Damrosch defines world literature as being “all literary works that circulate beyond their culture or origin, either in translation or in their original language.” No doubt not only the parameters and dynamics of such circulation but also the very attempts at defining world literature are political. Moreover, the scholarly engagement with such concerns is inevitably a political act as well. In this presentation, I will discuss the politics of world literary studies and the position of Turkish literature within it through the fault lines of some of the theories and practices that endeavour to define and shape world literature. I will thus examine the dynamics of translation-publication-scholarship triad to underline how the politics of the field is not just a discursive consequence but an entire structural problem that is manifest at multiple levels.
Burcu Alkan received her PhD at the University of Manchester (2009). Her thesis was later published as Promethean Encounters: Representation of the Intellectual in the Modern Turkish Novel of the 1970s (2018). She is the co-editor of a two-volume reference work: Dictionary of Literary Biography: Turkish Novelists Since 1960 (2013 & 2016). She also co-edited a volume titled Turkish Literature as World Literature (2021). Burcu Alkan specialises in comparative literature with a focus on the modern Turkish novel and she is currently working within the field of medical humanities with an interest in the relationship between literature and psychiatry, sciences of the mind, and mental health. She was a EUME Fellow in the academic year 2021/22, and continues to be affiliated with EUME in 2022/23.
Önder Çelik received his PhD in anthropology in 2020. Currently, he is working on a book manuscript titled “Life Underground: Hunting for Armenian Treasure in a Post-Genocide Landscape.” Currently, he is a EUME Fellow funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and is affiliated with the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.