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Back to the Future?
 Contesting 'Ottoman' and 'European' Legacies in Turkey

February 28, 2014 from 12:00pm-2:00pm EST
McGhee Library (ICC 301), Intercultural Center, Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Speaker: Dr. Nora Fisher Onar, Bahçeşehir University


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Successor state to an Ottoman imperial core that held sway over three continents, modern Turkey has vacillated between single-minded pursuit of membership to Western clubs and lone wolf nationalism, to rediscovery of its Ottoman-Islamic heritage via the Middle East and Balkans. To make sense of this complexity – all too often distorted as a binary choice between "East and West" or "Europe and Islam" – a novel theoretical framework will be presented. It will canvass in both longue durée and contemporary perspective Turkey's engagement and resistance of "European" values and institutions, examining how the process has been intertwined with rejection and recovery of the "Ottoman" past. The purchase of the framework for other erstwhile empires (e.g. China) enmeshed in debates over imperial legacies also will be vetted.

Nora Fisher Onar is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul, and Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies of the University of Oxford. Her work on Turkish politics and foreign policy at the interstices of the Middle East and Europe speaks to the theory and practice of international affairs in an increasingly multi-polar world. A recipient of the Sakip Sabanci International Research Award and the Ronald D. Asmus Fellowship of the German Marshall Fund, she completed her doctoral, graduate, and undergraduate work in IR at Oxford, Johns Hopkins (SAIS), and Georgetown (SFS) respectively. She has published extensively in academic and policy fora including, among others: Cooperation and Conflict, Theory and Society, Foreign Affairs, Middle Eastern Studies, and Turkish Studies.

RSVP: onar.eventbrite.com