Turkish Popular Cinema: National Claims, Transnational Flows

By Sarah Harris.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In researching competing claims for a national cinema, this paper works to illuminate the unities and dispersions underlying the ontological notion of a cohesive “imagined community.” The mid-90s resurgence of an economically viable Turkish popular cinema will be compared with Turkish art-cinema’s claim for the national, and particular attention will be placed on the methodological moves that each claim is making. Debates on Turkey’s political, economic and cultural positioning amidst various global flows appears in discourse about and within Turkish popular cinema. Emphasizing the use of the art-object in media historiography and incorporating analyses of two films, Vizontele (Yilmaz Erdogan, 2001) and Masked Gang: Iraq (Murat Aslan, 2007), this research problematizes binaries that saturate popular discourse on Turkish culture and cinema, such as the divide between national and transnational, tradition and modernity, and art verses popular culture. In investigating popular cinema as both a subject and object of discourse, we might better understand what old fissures and contradictions this new national claim is bringing to the surface through its dual-ambivalence towards both ends of the cultural map.

Keywords: Turkish Popular Cinema, Turkish Art Cinema, Global Media, National Cinema, Transnational Cinema, Film Co-productions, Cultural Policy

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp.77-88. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 815.314KB).

Sarah Harris

Graduate Student, Film and Media Studies Department, University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA

After receiving her B.A. in International Studies and Radio, Television and Film at Northwestern University, Sarah taught in public schools in New York City and Chicago. While exploring connections between media, technology and pedagogy, she completed her Master’s Degree in Educational Studies at the University of Illinois-chicago in 2007, and is currently a second-year MA/PhD student in the Department of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Some of her research interests include the reiterations of national and transnational cinema discourse, the politics of documentary filmmaking, and intersections of media performance, spatiality and the body. She is also studying global feminisms and development paradigms in the contexts of Middle Eastern media and politics. She recently traveled to Istanbul to produce films and conduct research on popular media and national identity, and plans to return to Turkey in 2009 to continue her work on local reception studies.


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