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HUM-Fagkomiteen for humaniora

Imagining the West: Perceptions of the Western 'Other' in 19th-20th Century Eastern Europe and Turkey

Awarded: NOK 6.2 mill.

Ever since the Enlightenment, East and West have been the constituting elements of the most important single bipolarity in terms of which religious, national, and civilizational communities, major political and cultural projects/movements have been defini ng themselves and one another. While there has been a great deal of literature in the last four decades discussing the Western gaze upon the East (pioneered by Edward Said's Orientalism, and elevated to even higher scholarly standards by Larry Wolff's Inv enting Eastern Europe), the study of East European imageries of the West is still in its infancy. Our project, relying on broad international and transdisciplinary cooperation, is to improve the balance by launching a series of empirically solid case stud ies to analyze the perceptions and images of the West in about the last 150 years as they emerged from a various societal spheres (arts, literature, media, scholarly studies, and discourses of everyday life), in several countries of Eastern Europe and in Turkey. The project will generate new knowledge of the main tendencies, the historical-cultural forms, patterns, and significance of perceiving, understanding and explaining the "West" in Eastern Europe and Turkey through the modern era until today. We wi ll assess the impact of historical-geographical position within our study area upon variation in imagining the West. We will inquire into the variation in and internal linkages between perceptions/images generated in different societal fields by covering fiction, travelogues, scholarly literature, arts, modern media, political texts, and texts emerging from various walks of everyday life. We intend to analyze the interrelationship between political, social, and cultural projects of the time and the main tendencies of identity formation in terms of the East-West divide. Finally, we will explore the interrelationship between processes of "Western" and "Eastern" identity formation.

Funding scheme:

HUM-Fagkomiteen for humaniora