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Questions of Literary Multilingualism in Turkish-German Literature (2022-)

Zita Balogh-Auer, Research Area 4: "Literary Currencies"
Doctoral Research Project

Questions of Literary Multilingualism in Turkish-German Literature (working title) is a dissertation realized within the framework of the project The Birth of Monolingualism from Multilingualism. The study investigates the different modes of multilingualism that have occurred throughout the 60 years of existence of Turkish-German literature. The point of departure is the close relationship between Turkish literature reflecting on Atatürk’s reforms and literary works written in Germany in the first decades of the recruitment agreement between Turkey and Germany. As a late standard language, modern Turkish went through a rapid process of language planning, including the adoption of the Latin script. This, along with Atatürk’s other reforms aimed at establishing a nation-based Turkey in the remaining territories of the former Ottoman Empire – a culturally and linguistically diverse entity – was vehemently criticized by Turkish authors. This critique was soon expanded and transformed by authors relocating to Germany in the first decades after 1961 and served as foundation for the multilingual Turkish-German literature of the following decades.

The aim of the project is to examine these complex literary interventions on prevailing currents at the intersection of different cultural policies and language plannings that occurred in different places at different times. As literary multilingualism is a product of canonization processes as much as of language and cultural policies in general, the project, among other things, aims to uncover how prestigious literary prizes like the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize shaped the understanding and creation of literary multilingualism while keeping an eye on the broader context of language hierarchies and language planning strategies.