EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 02 Feb 2022 | 17:00–18:30

Pseudo-Medicine and Modernity: Psychoanalysis, Mental Health and Illness in the Turkish Novel

Burcu Alkan (EUME Fellow 2021/22), Chair: Lamia Moghnieh (University of Copenhagen / EUME Fellow 2018-21)

This talk 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. It discusses 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. It looks at how psychoanalytical theory became a significant contact zone to discuss broader issues beyond psych-fields through two works as case studies: Matmazel Noraliya’nın Koltuğu (1949, The Armchair of Mademoiselle Noralia) by Peyami Safa (1800-1961) and Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü (1962, The Time Regulation Institute) by Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar (1901-1961).

Burcu Alkan received her PhD at the University of Manchester (2009). After having worked at various universities in Turkey, 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 co-edited a volume titled Turkish Literature as World Literature (with Çimen Günay-Erkol, 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. She 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 is a EUME Fellow.

The seminar takes place virtually via Zoom. Please register in advance via eume(at) to receive the login details.
Depending on approval by the speakers, the Berliner Seminar will be recorded. All audio recordings of the Berliner Seminar are available via SoundCloud.

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