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Mustafa Aslan

 
 

Biographie

 


07/2019-10/2019 Sommerschule an der Dehkhoda Lexicon Institute & International Center for Persian Studies

seit 10/2018 

Doktorand des International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC), Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

2017-2018 

Masterstudium an der Central European University (CEU), Department of History. Abschluss: M.A. Comparative History

2015-2016 

Masterstudium an der Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculty of Arts. Abschluss: M.A. Cultural Studies

01/2012-07/2012  Auslandssemester an der Tilburg University, Niederlande
2008-2014 

Studium der Philosophie an der Bilkent University, Ankara. Abschluss: B.A.

 

Forschungsschwerpunkte

  • Geschichte und Politik des Anti-Westismus in der MENA-Region
  • Geistesgeschichten des modernen Iran und der Türkei
  • Islamismus im 20. Jahrhundert
  • Islamisches Denken
  • Islam und Moderne
 

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The Emergence of Anti-Westernism in Twentieth-Century Thought: A Comparative Study of Iran and Turkey

Over the passing decades of recent two centuries, anti-Westernism has been a pervasive, amorphous and, forceful phenomenon. Throughout this extensive period, it perpetuated through forms of sophisticated, intellectually fashioned ideas and critiques as well as social movements more radical in their perceptions of the putative West. Concurrently, these perceptions have also been diverse; at times, the West was viewed more as a geopolitical alliance and, at times, a community of values. Therefore, for academics, pundits and policymakers alike attaining a deep understanding of anti-Westernism and its historical origins has been a notoriously challenging enterprise. Firsthand experiences of European colonization, unsettling encounters with Western hegemony and global wave of top-down modernization engendered vast, totalizing forms of resentment in many regions such as Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and, even in Eastern Europe. The present dissertation, however, predicates its research specifically on the twentieth-century currents of Muslim resentments to the West in Iran and Turkey that are aligned with the quintessential appeal of political Islam in various ways. Particularly, it critically inquires the genealogies of these anti-Western currents through a comparative study of intellectual history. In this respect, it subjects the lives and writings of several intellectuals: Ahmad Fardid (1910-1994) and Jalal Al-e Ahmad (1923-1969), the two progenitors of the Gharbzadegi (Westoxification) discourse in Iran and Necip Fazıl Kısakürek (1904-1983), the most influential forerunner of Islamism in Turkey. Throughout this effort, this study aims to address the following interrelated research questions: how and why has anti-Westernism emerged and developed in Iran and Turkey during the long twentieth century? How this group of intellectuals contributed to these complex processes in their respective countries? What were some of the cardinal socio-historical dynamics in each country that informed their ideas? What are some major commonalities and divergences in their critiques of the West? What do these commonalities and divergences display in a comparative perspective? 

In my own scholarly attempt to answer these paramount questions, I intend to materialize two innovative aspects of research. First, the overwhelming majority of latent studies on this group of intellectuals cover their oeuvres in isolation and without making inter-regional/contextual analysis. On this account, this study takes on a comparative perspective, aiming to display continuities and discontinuities in ideas across two countries. Second, also the existing scholarship on these intellectuals offer limited insights to the juxtaposition of Iran and Turkey as two countries with commensurate historical experiences of top-down modernization and, ipso facto resentments on the discursive level. This particular element is also given careful consideration. As its lay methodology, this study employs source criticism in a comparative context. Complementarily, it also reflects on the two dominant theoretical approaches to anti-Westernism. First one of these approaches is the essentialist approach which underscores the essential differences in culture/values between Western and non-Western societies in its analysis of confrontation and resentment. The second one is the postcolonial approach which tailors its evaluation of anti-Westernism to the advent of European colonialism. Correspondingly, but beyond the peculiar assessments of these two approaches, this study sets to add novel insights to the scholarly discussion of anti-Westernism. To do so, it attempts to situate anti-Westernism as the mongrel offshoot of the long, complex and multi-layered historical negotiation of modernity and tradition. Lastly, this dissertation critically engages with a rich and diverse source base. As its primary sources, it analyses journals, pamphlets and published books. Some of these sources are the Islamist journal of Büyük Doğu (The Great Orient) edited by Necip Fazıl Kısakürek between 1943-1978 in Turkey, his seminal İdeolocya Örgüsü (The Weave of Ideologia) of 1968, the original pamphlet of Gharbzadegi (Westoxication) of 1962 written by Jalal Al-e Ahmad and many more.