1st Workshop of Explore Narratives

The first workshop of Explore Narratives on “The Power of Narratives and Visual Culture in Transnational Cooperation: Exploring Turkish-German Relations in Political Life and Everyday Culture” will be held on Wednesday, 19 July 2023 in Duisburg/Germany.

Preliminary Program

The Power of Narratives and Visual Culture in Transnational Cooperation: Exploring Turkish-German Relations in Political Life and Everyday Culture

19 July 2023
Venue: Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University of Duisburg-Essen

Rationale and background of the workshop

The idea for this authors’ workshop is based on a joint research project between the European Institute at Istanbul Bilgi University and the Centre for Global Cooperation Research, funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and TÜBITAK. The group of scholars (Katja Freistein, Frank Gadinger, Deniz Güneş Yardımcı, Mustafa Gökcan Kosen, Christine Unrau) share an research interest in developing conceptual and methodological ideas on visual culture, narrative analysis and emotions in world politics. The empirical focus of the project is the relationship between Turkey and Germany from a transnational perspective.

The starting observation is that the relationship between Turkey and German has been mainly analyzed in social science research (e.g. foreign policy analysis) through a narrow focus on politicalelites and in the context of the EU or broader geopolitical concerns. These studies often claim that the relationship has transformed from a befriended to a rather pragmatic mode of cooperation and can be characterized as a form of “distant neighbors” (the original title of the research proposal), particular in the ritualized meetings between German and Turkish political leaders (Merkel, Scholz, Erdoğan). Our project aims at challenging or at least supplementing this dominant narrative by broadening the empirical scope from political elites to the much larger variety of political and cultural actors (civil society movements, political activists, scientists, filmmakers, novelists, musicians, artists etc.) from both countries in their European and transnational context.

Our main argument is that these actors, operating in often very loose transnational networks (e.g. environmental activism, film festivals), have developed and established practices and creative techniques in transnational cooperation and thereby overcome the nationalist-driven narratives of a distant relationship. In short, the state of affairs in German-Turkish relations is much more complex and, to some extent, much more promising than a focus on bilateral official relations would suggest.

The project follows the conceptual idea that narratives and visual culture play a significant role in building group identities, (de-)legitimizing narrow political realities and regaining voice in political discourses. The contributors of the workshop are encouraged to show in various empirical examples that political and cultural actors around the Turkish-German relationship have developed transnational and culturally hybrid identities and work with narratives and visual culture to stabilize these fragile relations and communities across borders. Like populists, these actors develop (visual) narratives and draw on (pop-)cultural repertoires to create resonance with their critical audience. Particularly in situations of crisis or exception, such as the recent, devastating earthquake in Turkey or the respective elections, transnational ties within civil society become more visible and can be studied systematically as instances of solidarity or cooperation.

To this end, the workshop brings together scholars from various disciplines – political science, sociology, and cultural studies – for an exchange based on the participants’ work in progress around various conceptual approaches and empirical cases. The aim of this workshop is to foster an interdisciplinary conversation on the role of narratives and visual culture in cases of transnational cooperation in the everyday.

Wednesday, 19 July 2023

Frank Gadinger and Deniz Güneş Yardımcı

10:30-11:30 PANEL 1: Methodological Approaches on Political Narratives and Visuality
Chair: Mustafa Gökcan Kösen

Visual Culture and Narrative Analysis: Studying Turkish-German Relations in Political Life and Everyday Culture
Frank Gadinger/Deniz Güneş Yardımcı

Visual Narrative Analysis: Images and Political Storytelling
Katja Freistein/Frank Gadinger/Christine Unrau

Transnational Environmental Activism and the Search for a Common Ground
Hande Paker

Plenary Discussion

11:30-12:30 Coffee Break

12:00-13:00 PANEL 2: Contemporary Political Narratives: Populist Discourses, Polarization of
Societies and Radicalisation Tendencies

Chair: Deniz Güneş Yardımcı

Fostering Radicalisation among Co-Radicalized Youth Groups in Europe: The Role of Expressive Cultures among Nativist and Self-Identified Muslim Youth
Ayhan Kaya

Turkey in Changing German Political Narrative: Between Rule-Based Democracy, Democracy-Emphasised Foreign Policy and Geopolitics
Yaşar Aydın

Racism, Football and News Media: The Case of Turkish-German Football Players
Melis Öneren Özbek

Plenary Discussion

13:00-14:00 Lunch Break @Home Duisburg

14:00-15:00 PANEL 3: Diaspora Politics, New Migration Movements and Transnational

Chair: Frank Gadinger

Layers of Bonds: An Emotional Landscape of Turkish German Narratives
Mustafa Gökcan Kösen

Transnational Belonging in the City: New Wave Turkish Migrants in Berlin
Ceren Kulkul

Multilingual Landscapes and the Concept of Belonging
Hacı-Halil Uslucan

Plenary Discussion

15:00-15:30 Coffee Break

15:30-16:30 PANEL 4: Diversity, Arts and Transnational Belongings
Chair: Katja Freistein

Transnational Aesthetics, Transnational Narratives: Cultural Hybridity in Turkish German Cinema
Deniz Güneş Yardımcı

Classical Music Concerts as a Means of Mobilization for Civil Society – The Case of Pianist Fazil Say
Serkan Topal

Between White Turkishness and Migration – Identity Struggles in the Recent Wave of Artist Migration between Turkey and Germany
Idil Atasoy

Plenary Discussion

18:00 Workshop Dinner at “Enoteca La Trattoria” (Friedrich-Wilhelm-Platz 2, 47051 Duisburg; optional, costs are not covered by organizers.

*All times indicated in the programme are CEST.

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