Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Comparative Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



This dissertation examines Anglophone postcolonial literatures and modern Turkish literature through their representations of the idea of empire and the nation-state. By employing a comparative framework that brings together Anglophone postcolonial literatures and modern Turkish literature, this project strives to relocate the focus of postcolonial discourse from the colonizer-colonized divide to a broader frame of uneven power relations, both past and present. In doing so, it examines paradigms such as the independence struggle, the nation-state, and modernization that are vital to an understanding not only of the imperial past but also of the global present. The Anglophone postcolonial canon and that of modern Turkish literature bear similarities in their representations of political and social structures of empire and the nation-state, while they differ strikingly in their approach to the cultural heritage of empire after the realization of the nation-state. This difference leads us to question the role of the cultural re-imagination of empire in the creation of national belonging and culture in each case. The different attitudes adopted by the two sides influence not only their relationship with an imperial past but also how they position themselves in the globalized world. By focusing on a representative range of Anglophone postcolonial novels – by Raja Rao, V.S. Naipaul, Chimamanda Adichie, and Nuruddin Farah – in juxtaposition with canonical Turkish novels by Halide Edib, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, Adalet Agaoglu and Orhan Pamuk, I argue that, despite Turkey’s history as a former imperial center itself, these two literary traditions overlap in their representation of political and social structures of the imperial past vis-à-vis the nation-state.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

J. Dillon Brown

Committee Members

Miriam Bailin, Nancy Berg, Rebecca Copeland, Michael Lutzeler


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