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AATT Panel in Memory of Walter G. Andrews

Panel X-14, sponsored byAATT, 2023 Annual Meeting

On Saturday, November 4 at 5:30 pm

Panel Description
The AATT celebrates the new Walter Andrews (1939-2020) graduate student scholarship with this panel by bringing together graduate students and scholars of Ottoman Turkish Studies to discuss the methods, traditions, developments, and recent cutting-edge approaches to Ottoman texts. Apart from his groundbreaking work of more than 50 years, Walter Andrews taught and mentored a number of graduate students and worked with scholars from all over the world. His contributions, spanning from literature to history, performance arts to digital humanities, had always been based on original texts. He insisted on paying close attention to the intricate details in a text and letting them shape his arguments. The panelists will discuss their experiences of deciphering Ottoman texts, whether to incorporate them in their respective disciplines or translate them into Modern Turkish and/or English to make them available for a larger readership.
  • How are we to translate a poet’s wail for the impossible distance between himself and his beloved? Is it enough to call separation what makes the lover’s liver burn? Or are we to think of a more explicit way to translate all the meanings and implications of the Ottoman word firak, that implies a whole ecology of love within a poem? In this paper, I focus on poems that feature firak (separation) as their theme. I explore the same poem through three lenses, cultural history, the history of emotions, and history of philosophy, three approaches that Walter Andrews explored through his work. Andrews’s work not only recognized the social power of Ottoman poetry, its specificity and complexity, but also attempted to translate it in contemporary theoretical and scholarly terms. Taking cultural and historical explanation as central to any attempt of translation, I will discuss different approaches to making Ottoman poetry intelligible to contemporary readers, ranging from the literary translation to the cultural explanation, the study of emotions and the history of philosophical interpretations.
  • When people think of gender and sexuality studies within the frame of Ottoman literature, very prestigious works on Ottoman poetry come to mind immediately. However, there are also some relatively fewer studies on prose in terms of gender and sexuality. I desire to add another to this corpus of quantitatively few but qualitatively significant works on gender and sexuality in Ottoman prose literature. Therefore, in this paper, I closely examine the first seven stories in an anonymous manuscript collection of stories entitled Kitāb-ı Ḥikāyāt, registered under the catalog number 06 HK 4074 in the collection of Ankara Adnan Ötüken Provincial Public Library. I approach these stories from a gendered perspective by doing a close reading to reveal the literary representations of women in these narratives. While doing so, I will keep in mind that gender is a socially and historically constructed concept and focus on how gender, sexuality, age, social class, and political and legal status influence the representations of women created by an Ottoman male elite, which will also enable me to make a holistic analysis of different kinds of womanhood in Ottoman prose stories. Thus, I classify women in the narratives as old women, lesbian-like women, and female slaves. This paper aims to contribute to the studies of Ottoman literature by studying a hitherto unexamined miscellany containing prose stories in Ottoman Turkish by other scholars. It also seeks to contribute to gender and women studies by examining these narratives from a gendered perspective. Since Ottoman literary and cultural studies adopting gender analysis will help us understand the perceptions of gender in Ottoman society, tracing characters outside today’s heteronormative order will enable us to raise new questions about renegotiating meanings of gender and sexuality in pre-modern periods and add to our knowledge of gender history in the Ottoman context.
  • Fifteenth-century Ottoman theologians produced a great variety of works in differing genres including poetry. Mostly following the classical Persian literary conventions, the cases of such poems composed by medrese scholars could be found in early Ottoman bio-bibliographical dictionaries and poetry anthologies, along with lengthy anecdotal events relevant to the scholars’ life stories. In light of Walter Andrews’ rigorous analysis of the sixteenth-century cases of Neoplatonist imagery in Ottoman poetry, this paper will focus on the Graeco-Arabic/Neoplatonist philosophical references present in select number of couplets penned by Ottoman theologians, such as Ḫayālī, Ḥasan Çelebi, Eşrefzāde Rūmī, and Mü’eyyedzāde, by contextualizing their references through the doctrines in relevance to post-classical conventions of philosophy and theology.
  • In The Poet’s Tongues: Multilingualism in Literature (1970), Leonard Forster examines a multilingual love poem composed in Latin, Anglo-Saxon, and English from the fifteenth century. Such a poem, Forster argues “is not merely a tour de force by a talented linguist,” but rather “it presupposes a polyglot audience in England capable of appreciating it and does not stand alone” (17). Poems in more than one language known as macaronic, or in Arabic-Islamic literary terminology mulammaʿ (lit., polished or of various colors), were prevalent in the Islamicate world as well. Poets inserted a word, a phrase, or a full sentence from a different language than they normally composed their poetry in. They also composed poems with alternating hemistiches in two languages. In this paper, after providing a brief overview of macaronic poetry in the Islamicate literary traditions, I will discuss a number of poems composed in Turkish and Arabic by the janissary-turned-poet Māmayya al-Rūmī (d. 985–7/1577–9) with references to his contemporary poets.