Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationhood in Russia and Turkey, 1950-2010

Vortrag, OI Istanbul

Lectures Series in the Winter & Summer 2014:

This is a presentation about what it meant to be Soviet, Russian, and Turkish in the twentieth century, and how that definition radically changed at the turn of the twenty-first century. Soviet Union's inscription of ethnic origins in personal identification documents and Turkey's prohibition on the public use of minority languages, all put in place in the early twentieth century, underpinned the definition of nationhood in these countries. Despite many challenges from political and societal actors since the 1950s, these policies did not change for many decades, until around the turn of the twenty-first century, when Russia removed ethnicity from the internal passport in 1997 and Turkish public television began to broadcast in minority languages in 2004, to be followed by other radical reforms. How did such tremendous changes occur?

Assist. Prof. Dr. Şener Aktürk
Şener Aktürk is an Assistant Professor at Koç University in Istanbul. Born in Izmit, Turkey, he received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2009-2010, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, and a visiting lecturer in the Department of Government, both at Harvard University. His book, Regimes of Ethnicity and Nationhood in Germany, Russia, and Turkey was published by Cambridge University Press and received the 2013 Joseph Rothschild book prize.