Archive for the ‘Erkan's readings’ Category

Agamben’s “What is an Apparatus?”

In Erkan's readings on November 28, 2009 at 12:15

I have meaning to read Giorgio Agamben for a long while. Prof. Agamben has become a trendy personality in philosophical circles and I was curious about him, naturally. and I admit I am ashamed, I should have read him before. Anyway, I had bought Homo sacer among some other of his books but did not have time to start. Recently, I got his essayistic “What Is an Apparatus?” and Other Essays and actually read it. It is an 80-page book with three essays. He has a style very easy to read. And what is more he writes about apparatus, contemporary and friendship all of which consists major scholarly themes to follow for me. Some may know my probably most successful publication ever done is about the idea of Assemblage (“This article shows how, in recent works of cultural analysis, the concept of ‘assemblage‘ has been been derived from key sources of theory and put to work to provide a structure-like surrogate to express certain prominent values of a assemblage………”) co-authored with George E. Marcus. And the idea of assemblage is directly related to Foucault’s Apparatus that Prof. Agamben focuses on.Anthropos today: Reflections on modern equipment is recent treatment of how Foucauldian concepts of apparatus and assemblage interplay.
Similary, the notion of contemporary is a hot topic in anthropological circles at least. Prof. Rabinow has been working on it for a while: Marking Time: on the anthropology of the contemporary

Well, don’t expect any scholarly discussions about the recent literature. Prof. Agamben does not care or just ignores all that new stuff. He goes back to Foucauldian or Ancient Greek texts and discusses in an essayistic tone and without making a difference between apparatus and assemblage as Foucault himself did, I could not know how this can be helpful at all. Honestly, discussion itself is not exciting, too. Sometimes, some big philosophers go back to an ancient text and discusses to vehemently that we actually get something new. But not in this book… I still plan to read his major books. I take this essayistic book as an exception…

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol. A disappointment

In Erkan's readings on November 8, 2009 at 11:05

I have finished reading Dan Brown’s last novel, The Lost Symbol, a few days ago. Maybe to be begin with, I must tell you that this is not a novel but a script for a planned blockbuster. Maybe if one takes it as a script, disappointment would be lesser. After the Da Vinci Code, this is a very frustrating one for the fans like me. Some quick notes:
1. Character formations in the novel are extremely weak, shallow. Robert Langdon is a reactionary guy. He first reacts to whatever told him, then he is surprised and accepts. Same pattern throughout the novel.
2. After the Da Vinci Code, Mr. Brown might have decided not to touch culturally and religiously sensitive issues. This book will not bring much reaction from the Church etc.
3. The novel looks likes a “sponsored post” (!). As if funded by freemasonry establishment. I have no problem with freemasonry, just that the novel should have gone beyond mere propaganda.
4. Well, despite all, if the narrative brought about exciting revelations like it did in the previous novel, it would still be satisfactory for me. But I wasn’t particularly excited with turning points in the novel… Read the rest of this entry »

Museum of Innocence is out in English…

In Erkan's readings, Turkish Society on October 26, 2009 at 17:29
Museum of Innocence

Museum of Innocence

last updated: 19 Dec 2009: 10:30

I have read the novel, The Museum of Innocence,  in Turkish last year. In strictly literary terms, this is his weakest novel. However, a very different sort of project intended here. An actual museum has been built in Istanbul and will be opened soon. This book  is a novel-catalogue that actual museum and a great documentary of a particular section of Istanbul’s everyday life. Another intervention to the lives of republican Turkish elites. In the mean time, I have a plan to assign the first 100 pages to my first year students which has a very rich account of approaches to relations, sex and gender roles which are still valid in contemporary Turkish lives.

I was not in love with the literary level of narratives particularly but towards the end I fell in love and in the last pages  I remember feeling sad and crying… Thank you Orhan Pamuk. You do enrich our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

News for the bookworms, Nobel and Man Booker winners announced

In Attractions: football, cinema, music, Documents, Erkan's readings on October 9, 2009 at 08:41

herta mueller

Mueller, whose mother was sent to a Soviet work camp for five years and who herself was harassed by the Romanian Securitate secret police after refusing to be an informer, made her debut in 1982 with a collection of short stories.

Romanian-born writer wins Nobel literature prize

Romanian-born German writer Herta Mueller, who charted the hardships and humiliations of Nicolae Ceausescu’s brutal regime, has won the 2009 Nobel literature prize.

Mueller wins Nobel literary prize

Romanian-born German author Herta Mueller is announced as the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel

Mantel named UK fiction prize winner

Author Hilary Mantel is named this year’s winner of the UK’s Man Booker Prize for her historical novel Wolf Hall.
And some goodies around the web. Enjoy your Friday! I have work to do until the evening departmental meeting:)

As Erkan finishes his military service in 5 days…

In Erkan in the military service, Erkan's readings on September 12, 2009 at 14:39

Erkan as a soldier is best at reading. 152 days, 27 books
Thanks to one of my favorite Facebook application, Book Tracker, you can see what I have read while I was in the army. The list is at the end of this post.
Here is the playlist;I would like to listen in the loudest volume possible when I arrive Istanbul on Thursday morning:

I know, I know my musical taste is not particularly agreable for most, but that’s all right. I am fine:)

Read the rest of this entry »

Prof. Jenny White’s new novel out soon!

In Erkan's readings on March 12, 2009 at 18:52

 Prof. Jenny White who specializes on Turkey and with whom I had the honor to meet also writes historical novels that take place in the late Ottoman period. Her new novel

The Abyssinian Proof: A Kamil Pasha Novel

will be released on March 16, the second in the Kamil Pasha series and the third episode, The Winter Thief, is scheduled to be published in February 2010. Congratulations Jenny!


the Guardian’s 1000 novels…

In Erkan's readings on February 7, 2009 at 15:49

Oh boy, the Guardian now has another 1000 list: 1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list

It was easier to finish up 1000 films list:) I am starting another novel by Haruki Murakami:  A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel

This is not in the list. But i have read two of his novels that made it the list: "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" and "Norwegian Wood".

R.I.P.: John Updike

In Erkan's readings on February 1, 2009 at 14:51

John Updike in 1955 Photo Credit: the Guardian

I have relatively recently discovered John Updike. His Rabbit character in Rabbit, Run was particularly influential for me. May he rest in peace…

John Updike, novelist, man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce, and life’s adventures, is dead… more»

John Updike dies at 76 Prolific chronicler of the loves and losses of small-town America dies after battle with lung cancer Martin Amis: Another plane of intimacy Editorial: In praise of … John Updike Obituary: John Updike

VIA TurcoPundit :

John Updike, novelist, man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce, and life’s adventures, is dead… APNYTTelegraphGuardianNYTLondon TimesWPNew YorkerLA TimesGuardianTPMBoston GlobeLondon TimesNational PostWSJLA TimesGuardianForbesSF ChronSlateGuardianPhilly InqTLSIndependent

Read the rest of this entry »

Henry Jenkins: Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

In Erkan's readings on January 15, 2009 at 18:16

Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (Revised with a New Afterword) by Henry Jenkins 

This book has been my top recommended book for a while. I finally got the book and will start reading…

Rest and peace in Houston

In Attractions: football, cinema, music, Erkan as a dissertation writer, Erkan's habitus, Erkan's readings on December 14, 2008 at 22:13


After all, what I do need is some rest and this is what I do after my first post-defense days. Now it sinks in well, that I finished up my long educational life and I achieved what I intended to do at the end of high school. I had secretly changed my study topic a year before the nationwide university entrance took place and despite my parents’ agony, I had chosen to study in social sciences. In my 15th year of studentship in academia, I now have a PhD degree in anthropology… My parents are also happy in the end…

Oh boy this place is excellent. I probably had my biggest steak in Taste of Texas thanks to Ertan and Ebru who insisted to go there….

My analogy for Houston, but particularly for Rice Campus in these pre-Christmas days is "rest home for old people". It is such a restful, peaceful environment. I can see how I am getting relieved of tension I had accumulated in the last six months… I could have a more hectic life here but I choose to have it like this. Another phase of hectic life in Istanbul will begin soon. I need rest.

In the mean time, I go to campus every day and I work on my revisions in the temporary campus Ebru stays in now. Ebru’s defense is scheduled to be in April and I believe she can easily meet the deadlines. Chris (Kelty) used the analogy of "videogame" for the 800 hundred-page text I had produced. Like in a video game it is hard to progress when you are a beginner, but as you learn to play, you progress quickly… Now I am working on the text to make it more readable and understandable. In the beginning, it seemed to be hard work, but now I actually enjoy it. Working on a text that has already been accepted as a valid PhD dissertation. I am going to finish up most of the work before I leave for Istanbul. I have enough time and peace of mind to do that.

A typical day starts with me and Ebru buying a cup of coffee from the newly opened pavillion the campus. If Ertan can make it, he meets us in the evening. Or I meet with some other friends but I must single out Julie (Kutac) who is a great host and company. She has had some good news this week and I am very happy about that.

Well, what else? In peace, I read Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
Watching a few movies I could not see back in Istanbul. Such as Grindhouse Presents, Death Proof
or Vicky Cristina Barcelona – another enjoyable Woody Allen movie and of course my belly grows due to my obsession with all-American food places.


IHOP vs Hooters? I always prefer IHOP!