ISAR 2019 - 2020 Summer Semester Closing Conference

19 September 2020

Which West? About the Occidentalism Discussions in Turkey

ISAR Foundation 2019-2020 Summer term closing conference was held under the title, “Which West? Occidentalism in Turkey " by Alim Arlı. Taking the problems of Orientalism and Occidentalism in their conceptual and historical context, Arlı explained how the East-West crisis in Turkey has occupied an important place in our intellectual and social memory which has multiple dimensions leading to profound historical spheres. Arlı emphasized how in the political discourse on the one hand there is a nationalism that is anti-western and on the other there is another that emulates the West and actually harbors an internalized orientalism. He argued that occidentalism functioned as a kind of "mirror" in moments of political impasse and that, ultimately, with its rhetoric and place in popular culture, it did not arrive at any place very different from orientalism. Building on this point, Arlı underlined that the framework we call orientalism or occidentalism should be handled carefully by considering the contexts of time, space and subject.