2015-2016 CIRS GU-Q Faculty Fellow

Firat Oruc is the CIRS SFS-Q Faculty Fellow for the 2015-16 academic year. He is Assistant Professor of English and Humanities at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar. He received his Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University in 2010. His teaching specialties include contemporary global literature, 20th century Anglophone writing, literatures of the Middle East, and world cinema. Before joining SFS-Q, he taught in the Comparative Literary Studies program at Northwestern University (2011-2013) and the departments of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles (2010-2011). His scholarly interests center on the intersections of cultural globalization and transnationalism, postcolonial studies, world literature theory, and translation studies. His recent work has appeared in literary criticism journals such as English Language Notes, Criticism and Postcolonial Text. His current book project is a comparative study of world literature and institutions of translation in Turkey, Egypt, and Iran.

Project Summary: 

My project examines the connections between national identity and translation by investigating the construction of a state-sponsored world literature canon as a national “culture planning” project in Turkey. With the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk introduced a series of radical cultural reforms aimed to leave the Ottoman/Islamic past irrevocably behind. These measures promoted identification with Europe as “the universal civilization” while simultaneously emphasizing Turkish identity as the foundation for the new nation. One of the most significant Kemalist revolutions was dil devrimi, or “the language revolution,” which mandated that all “old, fossilized” Arabic and Persian words be abandoned completely and replaced by un-Turkish equivalents. In this project, I focus on the ways in which this architectonic language revolution shaped the translation of “World Classics” into modern Turkish in line with a strong commitment to the ideals of humanism and secularism.