Given the current research program under the title of “Silk Road Studies in Memory of Gunnar Jarring”, our field of activities has been expanded from Central Asian Studies in the present-day sense of this expression to studies devoted to a broader geo-cultural sphere, including Turkey and the Turkic world as a whole. Our affiliation to research environments in Stockholm as well as Istanbul, which I have written about earlier on this blog, will henceforth be reflected in the name of the program, which changes to the “Stockholm-Istanbul Program for Central Asian and Turkic Studies”; SIPCATS.
Last year, as I was still Director of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, we published a book on renewed history writing among Turkic populations in the post-Soviet era, with contributions by scholars invited to participate in our former SIPCAS program.
A more recent book written in Swedish for a wider academic and non-academic audience is a collection of essays in Turkic cultural history with comments on contemporary sociopolitical conditions.
More information about these two publications can be obtained from the links noted below:
You are also most welcome to join us on our new Facebook pages , one for the SIPCATS program in general and the other devoted to our ongoing digitization project for materials from the Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collection at SRII/Istanbul.
Report by Research Assistant Azize Güneş
Almost 2 years after the Gezi demonstrations the political meaning and symbolism surrounding Gezi is still an object of interest and study in and outside of Turkey. On 4-5 May, 2015, the Nordic network MICS (for studies on Migration, Identity, Communication, and Security) held its third workshop in a series of four. This time the focus was on communication, new media and the 2013 Gezi protests in Istanbul. During the two-day workshop we discussed such issues as: What did Gezi mean? How much did it influence Turkish politics? Was it expected? What is the effect of new media and communication today? And what is the true depth of this type of mass communication and mass mobilization?
The workshop participants consisted of experienced researchers and young scholars from a wide range of disciplines. Thanks to the variety of interests and expertise, the Gezi phenomenon was approached from a number of different angles. Many presentations touched upon political strategies and the rhetoric developed by not only the government but also the protestors, the effects of which were polarization and alienation on both sides.
The workshop participants looked at the political and historical discourse of Turkey and the region in order to find answers to the question as to how such a large and heterogeneous mass of people could gather and become visible in the quest for one common and diffuse goal and what the significance of the Gezi protests really was. One crucial aspect in this regard was the claim and reclaim on public space online as well as offline. The right to use public space such as streets and the Internet has been considerably limited by the Turkish government since the Gezi protests.
See http://www.micsnetwork.org/ for more information about this workshop and other activities within the MICS Network.
Sweden was once a European super power – militarily and politically. This is not the case any more. The decline started already in the early 1700s. However, in other respects, Sweden has remained an active member of the international community, not only with regard to negotiations and agreements but also in terms of physical imprints in a great many places around the world.
This is the theme of the 135th volume (2015) of Ymer, annual of The Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography, under the title of Sverige utanför – svensk makt och dess spår i utlandet (‘Sweden beyond its borders – Swedish power and its traces abroad’).
One such Swedish trace abroad is SRII/Istanbul, which is described in the annual as a “meeting-place” and a “Nordic campus” in the heart of Eurasia. The chapter on Svenska Forskningsinstitutet i Istanbul – en mötesplats i Eurasiens mitt can be read in full from this blog.