Northwestern Events Calendar


The Art of Forgetting: Intimacy and Erasure in German and Turkish Art Histories - Banu Karaca, Mercator-IPC Fellow; Sabanci University, Istanbul

When: Wednesday, November 15, 2017
12:00 PM - 1:45 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, 3535, 1880 Campus Drive , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Sarah Peters   (847) 491-3864

Group: Critical Theory

Co-Sponsor: Comparative Literary Studies
International Education Week
Middle East and North African Studies
Keyman Modern Turkish Studies (Northwestern Buffett)
Anthropology Colloquia and Events

Category: Multicultural & Diversity


Turkey and Germany, just as with their imperial formations, share a long, often troubling history of cultural encounters and political allegiance that is largely forgotten today. They also share similar struggles in the process of making art both ‘national’ and ‘modern’ — in claiming nationhood and modernity through the arts, albeit with vastly different outcomes. Whereas contemporary art from Germany goes unmarked when discussed as art, art from Turkey is seen as expressive of ‘Turkish culture’ or of its merging of ‘traditional’ and modern motifs. These evaluations mirror the place that each country occupies in dominant geopolitical imaginaries; imaginaries that have construed the world in terms of ‘East’ and ‘West,’ and, more recently, ‘Islam’ and ‘Christianity’ as incommensurable entities that are foreign to each other. Working against this enduring asymmetric perception, the talk offers a diametrically opposed starting point: assuming the familiarity – even intimacy – between Germany and Turkey as a means of retelling the politics of art. The art of “national art history”, and the suppositions (explicit or implicit) that art bears a civilizing function, are traced in the moments when art is seen to cede this function.

Banu Karaca is an anthropologist working at the intersection of political anthropology, art and aesthetics, nationalism and cultural policy, museums and commemorative practices. She holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center, CUNY, and is currently a Mercator-IPC Fellow at Sabanci University, Istanbul. She is one of the co-founders of Siyah Bant, a research platform that documents censorship in the arts in Turkey. Her recent publications interrogate freedom of expression in the arts, the visualization of gendered memories of war and political violence, and the politics of intercultural exchange programs in Europe. Her project Decivilizing Art: Cultural Policy and Nationalism in Turkey and Germany, analyzes the entrenchment of art in state violence, and she is co-editor (with Marianne Hirsch, Jean Howard, and María Soledad Falabella Luco) of Women Mobilizing Memory: Arts of Intervention (forthcoming, Columbia University Press). Her ongoing research examines how dispossessed, looted and missing artworks have shaped the writing of art history in Turkey. She has been Visiting Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies at Sabanci University and a Faculty Fellow at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Social Difference and held fellowships in the Art Histories and Aesthetics and Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe Research Programs at the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin.

Co-sponsored by Keyman Modern Turkish Studies; Middle East and North African Studies Program; Anthropology; German; Art History; and Art Theory and Practice.

This event is charied by Professor Emrah Yildiz, Assistant Professor of Anthropology 


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