Welcome to the DFG Research Network “Contemporary History of Turkey"

26-28 May 2022Contemporary History of Turkey

On March 1, 2020, the research network "Contemporary History of Turkey" started at the Institute of History at the University Duisburg-Essen. The international network is initiated and managed by Jun. Prof. Dr. Berna Pekesen (Historical Institute and Institute of Turkish Studies/Turkistik). The network brings together thirteen emerging/young scholars and senior scholars from the humanities and social sciences from Germany, Turkey, Austria, France, Switzerland, and Netherlands to foster historical research on contemporary Turkey. The network is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The network's starting point were deficits of a structural and content-related nature, which led to the foundation of the network. Firstly, the history of Turkey is hardly located in German-language historical studies. It is mostly worked on by scholars in the fields of Turkish Studies/Turkology, Political Science, Oriental Studies and Islamic Studies, whose interests and approaches to knowledge are primarily historical in nature even though not in the sense of the core historical discipline. Historical research must not, however, question the studies that emerged in these contexts, but rather recognize them as important starting points for its own investigations and as a basis for interdisciplinary discourse. It is also clear, however, that in this way hardly any continuous research in the field of history can be created. These circumstances have led to a situation in which topics and approaches are not sufficiently discussed across disciplines and are hardly subject to any critical appraisal from the perspective of historical studies with regard to the question, methodology, theoretical orientation and contextualisation.

Secondly, currently there are clear thematic and temporal emphases in the field of "contemporary history research" on Turkey, which clearly differ in the structuring of the epoch and the weighting of the topics. One line of research focuses on the first half of the 20th century and ends with 1950; the second line of research addresses the “present past” with a clear research preference for the period after 2002, i.e., the period after the AKP took office. Contemporary history research on the period after 1950, on the other hand, has experienced comparatively scant historiographical research effort. In this way, the “interim period” (1950s to 2000s) remains largely unexplored.

Given this deficits, the network aims to strengthen and coordinate historical research in the field of “Contemporary History of Turkey”, improve the discourse among the neighboring disciplines, discuss theoretical and methodological questions, and finally seeks to integrate Turkish contemporary history into global historical research.

Within a period of three years, the network will host three international workshops in selected fields of contemporary history of Turkey. The results will be published in a three-volume series. The first workshop on "Fixing the State of Art - Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Contemporary History of Turkey" will take place on November 19-20, 2020 at the University of Duisburg-Essen with the participation of expert scholars.

In the longer term, the aim is to maintain the network outside the DFG's funding framework. To this end, new members may also join the network.

Further information and contact: Jun. Prof. Dr. Berna Pekesen, University of Duisburg-Essen; Historical Institute/Institute of Turkish Studies.

Email: berna.pekesen@uni-due.de