January 27, 2017
In this new Turkey Book Talk episode Southern Illinois University associate professor of history Hale Yılmaz speaks about her book “Becoming Turkish: Nationalist Reforms and Cultural Negotiations in Early Republican Turkey, 1923-1945” (Syracuse University Press).
Download the episode or listen below.
- Alexandros Lamprou discusses his book on the People’s Houses: “Nation-Building in Modern Turkey: The People’s Houses, the State and the Citizen”.
- A visit to Mahmut Makal on the 60th anniversary of his autobiographical book “Bizim Köy” (Our Village), describing the tough life of a village teacher in early republican Turkey.
If you enjoy or benefit from the podcast and want to support it, click here to make a small or large donation to Turkey Book Talk via Patreon.
Many thanks to my current supporters Özlem Beyarslan, Steve Bryant, Celia Jocelyn Kerslake and Aaron Ataman.
February 20, 2016
Here’s my conversation with Şakir Dinçşahin about his book on the life and times of Turkish intellectual Niyazi Berkes.
Download the podcast, or listen below:
Here’s my review of “State and Intellectuals: The Life and Times of Niyazi Berkes” (Rowman) at the Hürriyet Daily News.
If the issues discussed are your thing, check out this interview from last year with Andros Lamprou, who wrote an interesting book on the People’s Houses.
Also worth plugging this piece I wrote a couple of years ago on Mahmut Makal and his book “Bizim Köy” (Our Village), on his experiences as a teacher at a Village Institute in the 1940s.
January 23, 2016
This week I spoke to author Ryan Gingeras on his new biography of Turkey’s founding father, “Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: Heir to an Empire” (Oxford University Press).
Or just listen here:
And here’s my review of the book (which is highly recommended).
As I mentioned in the podcast, here’s a link to an interview I did with Ryan last year about another of his books, “Heroin, Organized Crime, and the Making of Modern Turkey.”
November 28, 2015
This week’s interview/podcast is with Markus Dressler, author of the book “Writing Religion: The Making of Turkish Alevi Islam.” The book examines how the idea of Alevism is an almost entirely modern concept, formed towards the end of the Ottoman Empire as part of efforts to integrate disparate Anatolian religious groups into the Turkish and Muslim nation.
Download a podcast of our conversation.
Here’s a transcript of the interview at the Hürriyet Daily News.
Here’s my review of the book.
NB – I’ve also just created a Facebook page for the podcast, where I’ll be posting new episodes. Check it out here.
October 10, 2015
This week I spoke to Ozan Özavcı about his book “Ahmet Ağaoğlu and the Genealogy of Liberalism in Turkey” (Brill), on the life of one of the most prominent intellectuals bridging the late Ottoman/early republican years.
Download the podcast of the interview here.
Here’s an edited version of the interview at HDN.
And here’s my review of the book.
If you’re interested in the subject, here’s my interview with Ankara University’s Alexandros Lamprou from earlier this year, discussing social engineering in the early Turkish Republic.
I should say that the two things in the title are unrelated.
My interview this week was with Toni Alaranta of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, discussing his new book “National and State Identity in Turkey: The Transformation of the Republic’s Status in the International System” (Rowman). In the book, Alaranta traces how the entrenchment in power of authoritarian political Islam in Turkey after 2002 was critically aided by the West’s misguided search for a “moderate Muslim democracy” after the end of the Cold War and the 9/11 terror attacks.
And read my review of the book here.
This also marks my first step into the world of podcasting. From now on I’ll be publishing these author interviews in audio as well as written form, through my new podcast “Turkey Book Talk.” The podcast will include some extra parts that didn’t make the written edit, as well as some fancy music, etc.
Click here to listen to the first episode (a work in progress as I’m still figuring out the best host, player, etc).
To subscribe to the feed, visit my PodBean page.
Please spread the word to anyone you think may be interested, and do get in touch with any suggestions on how I can improve the podcast!
May 30, 2015
This week I spoke to Alexandros Lamprou, discussing his new book “Nation-Building in Modern Turkey: The People’s Houses, the State and the Citizen.”
The People’s Houses (Halkevleri) were established in 1932 by Turkey’s single-party regime to plant roots for modernising and secularising reforms in towns across the country. Almost 500 Houses were opened until their closure in 1951, and the traditional view has tended to see them as homogeneous institutions propagating reforms strictly according to Kemalist state ideals. Lamprou’s research showed a far more ambiguous picture, with diverse local conditions across Turkey profoundly altering the work of the People’s Houses.
Here’s the interview with Lamprou in the Hürriyet Daily News.
And here’s my review of the book, in which I explore the limits of such social engineering campaigns – from the early Turkish Republic to today.
For those interested in these things, here’s a link to my interview from last year with Mahmut Makal in Bülent Journal. Makal worked as a teacher in a central Anatolian Village Institute, which like the People’s Houses were opened to accelerate the modernization of traditional society. Makal’s books on life as a village teacher describe the uphill struggle to spread reforms in the harsh conditions of rural Turkey in the 1950s, and he was actually jailed by the authorities at the time for painting too bleak a picture.
As a final note, the publisher I.B. Tauris have provided a discount code for online purchases of Lamprou’s book. Details are at the bottom of the review and the interview.