Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNorthwestern U.
Grant numberGr. 9295
Approve DateApril 19, 2016
Project TitleOzipek, Aydin, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'The Promise of Authenticity: Civilizing Youth and Branding the Nation in Contemporary Islamist Turkey,' supervise by Dr. Jessica R.Winegar
AYDIN OZIPEK, then a graduate student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, was awarded funding in April 2016 to aid research on ‘The Promise of Authenticity: Civilizing Youth and Branding the Nation in Contemporary Islamist Turkey,’ supervise by Dr. Jessica R.Winegar. The research undertaken during the grant involved conducting ethnographic fieldwork and interviews on the youth-oriented culturing campaign of Turkish state with a focus on the tradition-making practices that involved a selective recalling of the Ottoman past as a source of political and cultural inspiration for younger generations. Turkey is undergoing profound political, socioeconomic, and demographic transformations under the rule of the AKP/Erdogan governments, and suffering from high levels of youth unemployment and poverty. Both as a demographic group and a cultural category, youth has become the target of various governmental interventions, which coincide with and promote the rising popular interest in the history of the Ottoman Empire, popularly called ‘neo-Ottomanism.’ The dissertation views such practices as attempts at tradition-making, which involve contentious processes that mediate individual and collective temporal orientations, political sensibilities, and economic interests. Research was conducted primarily in two sites: An Ottoman language class and a youth culture center; both sponsored by AKP-run local governments in two separate districts of Istanbul.