14. Juli 2010 – Einladung zum Torgespräch: Prof. Esra Akcan, “Translated!” Towards Another Cosmopolitan Ethics in German-Turkish Relations

Einladung zum Torgespräch
am Mittwoch, 14. Juli 2010 um 19.30 Uhr
im Max Liebermann Haus, Berlin-Mitte, Pariser Platz 7

Translated! Towards Another Cosmopolitan Ethics in German-Turkish Relations

Ein Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Esra Akcan in englischer Sprache im Rahmen der Rudolf-Arnheim-Professur

In a globalizing world where due acknowledgment of former cross-cultural relations encourages us to rethink the received norms of modernism, it is all the more necessary to develop theories that can effectively analyze both the tensions and potentials of intertwined histories. This talk will suggest a theory of translation to carry out such an aspiration, rather than the indistinct concepts of the hybrid and transculturation, or the passive metaphors of the import and transfer, and it will focus on the history of exchanges that transformed the residential culture in Germany and Turkey in the twentieth century. I will juxtapose the architectural works of a Turkish traveller in Berlin (Sedad Eldem), a German immigrant in Istanbul (Bruno Taut), and an “international architect” of Turkish immigrants? housing in Berlin (Alvaro Siza), in order to develop a taxonomy of different experiences pertaining to the hitherto “other” in a given place and moment. It is through translation that a country opens itself to what was hitherto foreign, modifies and enriches its political institutions and cultural forms, while simultaneously negotiating its local norms with those of the other. Historically, translation practices have not been removed from the geographical distribution of power, and they can hardly be considered neutral and fair exchanges. I hence define translation as a contested contact zone for cultural dialogue, where geopolitical tensions are exposed, reconciled or opposed, and one where the possibility of a new cosmopolitan ethics emerges or gets foreclosed.

Esra Akcan is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Arnheim-Professor at Humboldt University for Summer 2010. She received her architecture degree from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, and her Ph.D. and postdoctoral degrees from Columbia University in New York. Akcan received numerous awards and fellowships from the Graham Foundation, Getty Research Institute, Canadian Center for Architecture, Columbia University, Carter Manny, Mellon Foundation, DAAD, KRESS/ARIT.