Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Annual Nugent Lecture (2016-2017)

March 23, 2017

5:30 - 9:00
Conference Room B
Donald Gordon Centre

Selcuk Esenbel (Bogazici University, Istanbul)
Annual Nugent Lecture

"Between Modern Universalism, New Traditionalism, and Alternative Modernity: Global Perspectives on Japan and Turkey’s Quest for Modernity in an American century."

This essay is an experiment to trace the concepts of modern universalism, new traditionalism, and alternative modernity in Japan, Turkey, and China as the home of the non-European “early modern” and “modern” in historiography and contemporary politics in an American century. The essay ventures to look at the intellectual history of twentieth century in Ottoman/Turkish and Japanese history with brief references to  historiography on China: by taking  a journey through three settings: the academic debate on modernity and the early modern in historiography, contemporary local political and intellectual history, and entanglements of historiographic discourse to the global strategy  of the United States and the American academy’s debates on  “Non-Western” experiences of the modern history. I hope to point out to striking similarities and differences between Japan and Turkey’s positioning in historiographic explanations about the trajectory of modernity in both countries but also to show the engagement of local and global politics in the birth of intellectual and political use of historical images, concepts, and information concerning modern universal models, new traditionalism, alternative modernity and the connections to global hegemony in the post-war period through the framework of the American academy and global strategy of the United States.