Table Topics “Art and Exile in the City”
Ela Gezen’s (EUME-Fellow 2015/16) research and teaching focus on 20th century German and Turkish literature and culture, with emphases on literatures of migration, minority discourses, historical and theoretical accounts of transnationalism, and literary and cultural theory.
As a Cultural Studies scholar, she reads cultural texts (literary and non-literary) as responding to, intervening into, corroborating, and/or challenging official historiographies and public political discourses. Arguing against a one-sided notion of cultural transfer, her work focuses on Turkish writers and intellectuals who emigrated from Turkey to (West) Berlin – in the face of growing oppression and persecution of the Left – and their subsequent contributions to (and transformation of) Berlin-based cultural institutions and traditions, emphasizing the mutual interaction between Turkish and German cultural traditions. Refuting public-political discourses placing Turkish migrants at the margins of Germany, and casting them as outsiders, her work shows how these immigrants became active participants in German discourses on memory, history, and culture. At the WorldWeberCafé she looks forward to discuss the role of Turkish-German artists, writers, and intellectuals in the configuration (and transformation) of Berlin as global city and capital of Germany, paying particular attention to how they have represented, reflected upon and conceptualized the exilic condition –whether external or internal, forced or voluntary, experienced or imagined.