Disorienting Figures: The Sovereign and the Author in the Ottoman Age of Prose

Disorienting Figures: The Sovereign and the Author in the Ottoman Age of Prose

(credit: Peter Zhaoyu Zhou)

A lecture by Veli N. Yashin (USC)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
3:30 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
UCLA

Modern literary developments in the Middle East are often studied as an aftereffect of the region's contentious political relationship with Europe. In Disorienting Figures: The Sovereign and the Author in the Ottoman Nineteenth Century, I situate such developments as the emergence of modern genres of prose in Arab and Turkish letters in their relation to late-Ottoman print culture and its public sphere whose advent impelled the elaboration of sovereignty as a political and aesthetic problem. Articulations of poetic subjectivity and literary authority, in the works of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq, Ibrahim and Muhammad al-Muwaylihi, Namık Kemal, and Beşir Fuad, figure as textual events that not simply inform, but give form to critical reconsiderations of Ottoman sovereignty. Approaching the literatures of the Arabic renaissance (al-Nahda) and the Ottoman reform (Tanzimat) from within the broader context of the material and discursive transformations of the Ottoman nineteenth-century and its emergent conceptions of justice and political community, Disorienting Figures thus contends that, at the ends of Ottoman Empire, "modern literature" emerges as a practice of political philology.

Veli N. Yashin is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He has earned his doctorate from Columbia University in Arabic and Comparative Literature, and he is the winner of the 2013 Horst Frenz Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association. Yashin's research and teaching focuses on modern Arabic and Turkish literatures and more broadly engages the theoretical implications of the complex entanglement between aesthetics and politics, between issues of cultural and political representation. His work has appeared in the Yearbook of Comparative Literature, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the Journal of Arabic Literature, and most recently in Middle Eastern Literatures. This talk will give an overview of his current book project, tentatively titled Disorienting Figures: The Sovereign and the Author in the Ottoman Nineteenth Century.


cnes@international.ucla.edu

Sponsor(s): Center for Near Eastern Studies