Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

‘Non-Istanbulites’ of Istanbul: Quest for a place in Istanbul in the Turkish novel since the 1960s

This research focuses on a historical/social analysis of a selected corpus of novels from modern Turkish literature which have the common theme of migration from Anatolian towns and villages to Istanbul, and the immigrants’ struggle in this city against various exclusion mechanisms.

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My research focuses on a historical/social analysis of a selected corpus of novels from modern Turkish literature which have the common theme of migration from Anatolian towns and villages to Istanbul, and the immigrants’ struggle in this city against various exclusion mechanisms. These novels reflect different aspects of the immigration experience under varying historical and social circumstances while the thread tying them together in this corpus is their stance of addressing the issue from the immigrants’ perspective. 

The theoretical framework of the research is based on literary theory and urban sociology. The former explicates the rationale of reading the novels in their relationship with the historical/social conditions, referring to literary theorists such as Terry Eagleton, Pierre Macherey and Fredric Jameson. The latter renders possible an overview of the rural to urban migration experience and its consequences in Turkey using the works of urban theorists such as Henri Lefebvre and David Harvey with a special attention to the concept of right to the city, as well as the research focusing on the Turkish experience by scholars such as İlhan Tekeli, Uğur Tanyeli and Ayşe Öncü.

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