POLS Semineri: “Nostalgia, Memory, and the 2023 Turkish Centennial”, Nathan Young, 12:30 9 Kasım (EN)

“Nostalgia, Memory, and the 2023 Turkish Centennial”

Dr. Nathan Young
Lecturer at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.;
Visiting researcher at Middle East Technical University

Date and Room Info:
Thursday, November 9, 2023, 12:30 p.m.; A-130

“Nostalgia, Memory, and the 2023 Turkish Centennial” is an early investigation into how the anniversary prompted various stakeholders to access historical pasts and articulate preferred futures. The weeks, months, and years preceding this milestone were filled with a range of discourses promoted through events as well as both digital and print media. Nostalgia is an emotion of longing towards a past, accessed in the present, to enact visions of the future. From similar points of origin, diverse entities chart trajectories that lead to vastly different destinations. Nostalgia thus has the potential to link temporalities. My research asks: What do political parties, local municipalities, and other associations hope to achieve by invoking nostalgia? What are individuals nostalgic for and why? Through ethnographic fieldwork and semi-situated interviews, I seek answers by examining the expressions of nostalgia elicited by Turkey’s centennial. Assessed through a theoretical lens, the cultivation of nostalgic memories may be understood as a strategy for generating possibilities regarding the nation’s next century.

Nathan Young completed his master’s degree in Turkish Folklore at Ege University (2014) and his PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the Ohio State University (2020). He conducted dissertation fieldwork in Izmir and Ankara, gathering qualitative material related to villages and villagers including over one hundred semi-situated interviews. Research findings demonstrated how nostalgia for small-scale, rural ways lifeways is cultivated through familial narratives, reiterated by media, and reinforced by state efforts. Nostalgic sentiments for the village are also rooted in hometown loyalty (memleket affiliation) and are regarded as natural in two senses: close to the natural world and authentic. His current project considers how nostalgia expressed during Turkey’s centennial celebrations are used to support agendas of the present and visions of the future. He serves as lecturer at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. and is a visiting researcher at Middle East Technical University.