Travel and identity
The focus in this issue of Turkish Review is very much on the library rather than the seminar room, with six volumes examined. Conferences have not been entirely left out, however, and briefs on two events from late 2014 bring this edition of Reviews and Briefs to a close.
First comes Rainer Hermann’s “Where is Turkey Headed? Culture Battles in Turkey,” reviewed here by Chicago University’s Varak Ketsemanian, which explores the social dynamics of the changes experienced in Turkey in recent times from an historical perspective.
Next comes Esra Özyürek’s Princeton University ty Press publication, “Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, and Conversion in the New Europe.” Diğdem Soyaltın (Stockholm University’ssity’s Institute for Turkish Studies) providesovides a solid account of Özyürek’sk’s valuable insights on the integratingegrating of the ethnic and religiouss elements of Islam among Germany’smany’s Muslims and on converts onverts to Islam in the country.ntry.
A nuanced account count of Suraiya Faroqhi’s work on the lives and history ry of craftsmen in the Ottoman Empire -- “Travel and Artisans in the Ottomantoman Empire” -- is providedvided by Alexandra Mateescucu (Chicago University). ty). The Ottoman theme continues ontinues with the edited volume from Marios Hadjianastasis, “Frontiers of the Ottoman Imagination: Studies in Honour of Rhoads Murphey.” Researcher Görkem Daşkan summarizes some of social, political and cultural aspects of Ottoman history explored in this wide-ranging volume.
A more recent slice of Ottoman history comes in the form of Hakkı Taş’s (İpek University) review of “Arming the Sultan: German Arms Trade and Personal Diplomacy in the Ottoman Empire Before World War I,” by Naci Yorulmaz. In this work, Yorulmaz looks at the influential role played by the arms trade and “personal diplomacy” in relations between the Ottoman Empire and Germany during the lead-up to World War I.
The first of the two conference reviews is a comprehensive account from Bahar Başer (Coventry University) of İstanbul Bilgi University’s Kurds Beyond Borders: Transforming Spaces and Identities conference held in October 2014. Finally Benjamin Weineck (University of Bayreuth and University of Heidelberg) provides a brief of the November 2014 gathering at Heidelberg University. Text and Cultural Heritage: Alevi-related Sources between Philological Research and Theological Canonization looked at the ritual and cultural dynamics of Alevi communities in Turkey and in Germany, and was the source of important discussions on changes and transformations in
Alevi cultural identity.