On gazel, ethno-geography and desire: Two talks and a short article by Selim S. Kuru

Submitted by Selim S. Kuru on
Selim Kuru during his talk at the Istanbul Research Institute

Prof. Selim Kuru, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization gave two talks in December 2019. First one, in December 12, organized by Neuerwienerdiwan in collaboration with the Universität Wien- Institut für Orientalistik in Vienna, was a conversation with Erhan Altan on gazel poetry in Ottoman Empire. Kuru stressed the obsessive gazel-writing among Ottoman elite and intellectuals in the early modern era and discussed the possibilities of expression the gazel form might have provided Ottoman intellectuals and the possible reasons behind this literary act in the early modern Ottoman Empire.

The second talk, titled “’Hariç ez-akl-ı beşer İstanbul’: Enderunlu Fazıl'ın İstanbul’u [‘Istanbul beyond human reason’: Istanbul according to Fazil of Enderun]” was organized by Istanbul Research Institute in relation to the exhibition “Hafıza-i Beşer: Osmanlı Yazmalarından Hikâyeler/Memories of Human Kind: Stories from the Ottoman Manuscripts (October 18 2019 - July 25 2020)” that featured samples from the Institute’s rich manuscript collections. Kuru discussed an ethno-geographical verse-narrative about the beautiful young men of the world by late 18th century Ottoman poet Fazil of Enderun with a focus on close reading of Ottoman Turkish texts. Both talks were in Turkish.

The "Memories of Human Kind" exhibition is organized by Mehmet Kentel (PhD, Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, 2018) Research Manager of Projects for the Istanbul Research Institute. Kuru, a member of the Advisory Board of the exhibition, consulted and wrote pieces for the section “Love and sexuality in Ottoman literature”. An extended version of Kuru’s comments on one text preserved in a miscellany is published in the Yıllık: Annual of Istanbul Studies under the title "A Radical Discourse of Desire."