"Is the Turk a White Man?"

Race and Modernity in the Making of Turkish Identity

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In 1909, the US Circuit Court in Cincinnati set out to decide “whether a Turkish citizen shall be naturalized as a white person”; the New York Times article on the decision, discussing the question of Turks’ whiteness, was cheekily entitled “Is the Turk a White Man?” Within a few decades, having understood the importance of this question for their modernization efforts, Turkish elites had already started a fantastic scientific mobilization to position the Turks in world history as the generators of Western civilization, the creators of human language, and the forgotten source of white racial stock. In this book, Murat Ergin examines how race figures into Turkish modernization in a process of interaction between global racial discourses and local responses.
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Biographical Note

Murat Ergin, Ph.D. (2005), University of Minnesota, is Associate Professor of Sociology at Koç University. His research interests include nationalism, race, ethnicity, cultural boundaries, and death.

Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1: WHY THIS BOOK SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN WRITTEN
Race and the Turkish Case
Why Care About the Turkish Case?
The West = Theory; The Rest = “Mere” Case
Cases and National Boundaries

CHAPTER 2: THE REPUBLICAN CONVERSION NARRATIVE
Rewriting History

CHAPTER 3: ENCOUNTERS WITH THE “WEST”
Becoming White
The Ghosts of the Past: Ottoman Modernization and Encounters with the West
The Ottoman Interest in Race
Ziya Gökalp: The Official Ideologue of the Republic?
The Formation of the “Terrible Turk”: Western Perceptions
The Problem of Periodization

CHAPTER 4: RACE IN EARLY REPUBLICAN TURKEY
Racial Vocabularies
Mermaids, Fish, Humans: The Taxonomic Discourse
Biometric Mobilization to Protect and Improve the Race
Anthropometric Mobilization to “Discover” the Turkish Race

CHAPTER 5: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS AND RACIAL DISCOURSES
Intellectual Exchange and Historical Contingency
The University Reform and Émigré Scholars
Conflicting Loyalties: Expertise in the Service of Local and Universal Agendas
Afet İnan and Eugène Pittard: Personal Interaction in Search of Anthropometric Essences

CHAPTER 6: RACE IN CONTEMPORARY TURKEY
Race, and Ethnicity, and Nation
Race in Contemporary Turkey

CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX

Readership

All interested in the history of Turkey and contemporary Turkish society, and anyone concerned with race and modernization.

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