2023/ 2024

Burcu Alkan

From Pseudo-Medicine to Freudo-Marxism: The Impact of Psychoanalysis on the Twentieth Century Turkish Novel

Previous Fellowships: 2022/ 2023, 2021/ 2022

Burcu Alkan received her PhD at the University of Manchester (2009). Her thesis was published as Promethean Encounters: Representation of the Intellectual in the Modern Turkish Novel of the 1970s (2018). After having worked at various universities, she took up a post as senior research fellow at Justus Liebig University on a fellowship supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2017-2020). She specialises in comparative literature with a focus on the modern Turkish novel. She is the co-editor of a two-volume reference work: Dictionary of Literary Biography: Turkish Novelists Since 1960 (2013 & 2016). She also co-edited a volume titled Turkish Literature as World Literature (2021), which locates Turkish literature in the world literary scene as a source of influence and challenges the conventions in world and Turkish literary studies. Alkan is currently working within the field of medical humanities with an interest in the relationship between literature and psychiatry, sciences of the mind, and mental health. In the academic year 2021/22, she was EUME Fellow and continues to be affiliated with EUME in the academic years 2022-24.

From Pseudo-Medicine to Freudo-Marxism: The Impact of Psychoanalysis on the Twentieth Century Turkish Novel

This project examines the impact of psychoanalysis as an epistemological field on the modern Turkish novelistic imagination and investigates the transcultural manifestation of psychoanalytical theory in the Turkish literary intellectual sphere. It seeks to go beyond the “psychology of literature” or “literary psychology” approaches towards a new interdisciplinary understanding of literature and psychiatry from the vantage point of the fields of medical humanities and transcultural psychiatry.
The study begins with the introduction of psychoanalytical discourse into the medical field in Turkey and explores the ways in which it evolves, corresponding to the global developments, as an ideational theme in the Turkish novel. The project thus investigates how psychoanalytical theory became a significant contact zone to discuss broader issues beyond psych-fields. Several works are chosen as case studies in order to discuss “the transcultural impact of psychoanalysis on the modern Turkish novel from pseudo-medicine to Freudo-Marxism,” such as those of Peyami Safa (1800-1961), Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901-1961), Attilâ İlhan (1925-2005), and Leyla Erbil (1931-2013).