Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2014

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Germanic Languages and Literatures

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Representations of Memory in Texts by Turkish-German Authors


Jocelyn Aksin

Doctor of Philosophy in German

Washington University in St. Louis, 2014

Professor Paul Michael Lützeler, Chair

This dissertation examines how memory processes are represented in novels by Zafer Þenocak, Aras Ören, Feridun Zaimoðlu, and Emine Sevgi Özdamar. In particular, it is concerned with the representation of memories of Turkey. These four authors are representative of different generations within the Turkish-German population, and therefore have differing degrees of proximity to Turkey. Özdamar and Ören arrived in Germany as part of the first wave of Turkish migrants in the 1960s, and both spent their formative years in Turkey. Þenocak immigrated to Germany with his family at the age of eight, and Zaimoðlu's family settled in Germany when he was an infant. Although these authors engage with memories of Turkey differently in their texts, some similarities in their processes do emerge: Özdamar and Ören both present memory as an inherently visual process that is intrinsically bound up with images. Photographs and film feature prominently in this process, and both authors even go so far as to suggest that human processes of memory function according to the vocabulary of film; that is to say, memories can be frozen, sped up, or rewound like a film. By contrast, Þenocak and Zaimoðlu pay almost no attention to the visual element, focusing instead on how cultural hybridity allows for borrowing between different memory cultures and cultural traditions. By looking at the Turkish past through the lens of German memory culture (Þenocak), and by utilizing elements of German Romanticism to investigate questions of cultural hybridity and belonging (Zaimoðlu), these authors' representations of memory provide insight into how memory can be productive in an age of increased globalization and cultural mobility.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Paul M Lutzeler

Committee Members

Matt Erlin, Ignacio Infante, Jennifer Kapczynski, Tabea Linhard, Erin McGlothlin


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