TitleTrans-imperial mediations of the 'Turk'
NameSohrawardy, Ameer (author), Levao, Ronald (chair), Miller, Jacqueline (internal member), Bartels, Emily (internal member), Vitkus, Daniel (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectLiteratures in English,
Turks in literature,
Mediation in literature,
DescriptionMy dissertation will examine the role of the trans-imperial mediator in facilitating literary and cultural interactions between England and the Ottoman Empire in the early modern period. I define „trans-imperial mediator‟ to mean those travelers who shuttled between England and the Ottoman Empire, on behalf of their employers, for trade, intelligence-gathering, or diplomatic exchange. I argue that these mediators fashioned depictions of the Turk in response to their own trans-imperial anxieties. They imagined themselves to be aliens among the Ottoman subjects whom they encountered daily, despite sharing more in common with these Ottomans than the countrymen to whom they addressed their writing. At the same time, they felt equally uncertain about the prospects of returning home and being accepted as Englishmen, despite their assertions to the contrary. The identity that they created for themselves - Englishmen who were distinctly different from „the Turk‟ - must be understood as a response to their multiple identities and complex obligations. I argue that the „Turk‟ that these mediators introduced to English audiences must also be read as a composite creation – an imaginative response to the obligations of serving English interests while trying to live among the Ottomans. English playwrights recognized the creative opportunities allowed by dramatizing the polyvalent figure of the trans-imperial mediator to fashion their own types of Turks. Dramatists recognized the unique conjunctions between the vilified trans-imperial mediator and the Turk by using the play space to „recover‟ the imagined voice of the mediator and interrogate what anxieties occasioned the creation of particular types of Turk. English dramatists also introduced the figure of the trans-imperial mediator to a sympathetic audience – those discontented Englishmen who imagined escaping from the limiting social and economic conditions at home. Through lending the trans-imperial mediator a voice of his/her own, English „Turk‟ plays can be interpreted anew as interpretive paradigms for understanding how mediation functioned literarily in non-fiction accounts. Once we consider the shared investments that linked English trans-imperial mediators to their fictionalized counterparts, we may better understand why particular images of the 'Turk‟ must be interpreted through a web of domestic anxieties.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Ameer Sohrawardy
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.