American Association for Turkic Teachers Names Award After Prof. Walter G. Andrews

Submitted by Rick Aguilar on

Founded in 1985 as the American Association for Teachers of Turkish, American Association for Teachers of Turkic Languages (AATT) is the major association that supports research on pedagogy of teaching Turkic languages. During this year's Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association's Annual meeting at the MESA conference, AATT announced that its Ottoman Turkish Translation Award is being named after Prof. Walter G. Andrews.

We have lost Prof. Walter G. Andrews on May 31. Professor Walter G. Andrews was among the founders of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington. His work has been foundational for the study of Ottoman Turkish literature and literary culture and his translations from Ottoman and Turkish poetry makes this literary tradition reach wider public. He was also among the founders of the AATT. The President of AATT Feride Hatiboğlu expressed that the award will continue to commemorate Prof. Andrews's contributions to the field of Ottoman and Turkish Studies.

NELC is thankful to AATT for honoring our beloved late Prof. Walter Andrews. Here is the announcement that was composed and presented by Beyza Lorenz (NELC-UCLA) during the OTSA annual meeting on October 10, 2020:

The Walter G. Andrews Ottoman Turkish Translation award is an annual award granted to the best translation of an Ottoman archival/historical or literary work into English. We would like to note that this year the award has a new name to memorialize the extraordinary contributions of the late Professor of Ottoman and Turkish Studies Walter G. Andrews, whom we have lost in May 2020. 

Professor Andrews was a founding faculty member of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Washington. In more than 60 years, he contributed to the field with numerous articles and books including, An Introduction to Ottoman Poetry (1976), Poetry’s Voice, Society’s Song: Ottoman Lyric Poetry (1985), Ottoman Lyric Poetry: An Anthology, and The Age of Beloveds: Love and the Beloved in Early-Modern Ottoman and European Culture and Society (2005). In his colleague, Selim Kuru’s words, “Walter’s love for Turkey and Ottoman literary cultures was deep and all-encompassing, and his enthusiasm for his work was contagious. He was a meticulous researcher with high standards and a deep understanding, and an empathetic, dedicated, and encouraging teacher.”

The Walter G. Andrews OTTA prize is administered by the AATT Executive Board. The entries are judged by a panel of academicians and experts representing a diverse disciplinary background. This year’s committee consisted of, in alphabetical order, Benjamin Fortna (University of Arizona), Şükrü Hanioğlu (Princeton University), Nilüfer Hatemi (Princeton University), Gregory Key, (Binghamton University), and myself under the direction of our chair, Nilüfer Hatemi.

For this year’s award, the committee has used several criteria to select the best translation. Among those criteria are the rhetorical style, the degree of difficulty of the original/source work, the period and genre, fidelity to the original, and the importance of the work as a representative sample to be introduced to an English-speaking audience.

The translation by Caleb Shelburne of Harvard University earned the highest points with a translation titled “The Education of Women” and received the Walter G. Andrews Ottoman Turkish Translation Award.