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Erdag Göknar, Associate Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Erdag Göknar

Erdağ Göknar is Associate Professor of Turkish in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University and former director of the Duke Middle East Studies Center. He is a scholar of literary and cultural studies and an award-winning translator whose research and publications focus on intersections of literature and politics in Turkey and the Middle East; specifically, on late Ottoman legacies in contemporary Turkish fiction, historiography, and popular culture.

He is the recipient of two NEA literature fellowships (translation), two Fulbright awards, and residential fellowships at the National Humanities Center and the Stanford Humanities Center.

His books include a monograph entitled Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel (Routledge, 2013); a co-edited volume, Mediterranean Passages: Readings from Dido to Derrida (UNC Press, 2008); and English-language translations of Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar’s A Mind at Peace (Archipelago Books, 2011); Orhan Pamuk’s My Name is Red (Knopf, 2010; 2001) and Atiq Rahimi’s Earth and Ashes (Harcourt, 2002). His current project focuses on cosmopolitanism, political violence and the Allied occupation of Istanbul after WWI.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  2235 Cranford Road, Durham, NC 27705
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:

Office Hours:

Fridays, 1-3 PM

Ph.D.University of Washington2004
M.A.University of Washington1998
MFAUniv. of Oregon1994
B.A.University of Michigan, Ann Arbor1988

Research Interests:

Current projects: Between Orient and Nation: The Modern Turkish Novel and Orhan Pamuk (in-progress), Colonial Encounter and Cultural Revolution: Narrative Identities of Ottoman Modernism and Turkism (in-progress), A Mind at Peace (translation of Tanpinar novel), Archipelago Books, NY, 2008, Mediterranean Passages from Dido to Derrida, co-editor, UNC Press, 2008

Primary focus on the legacies of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkist cultural revolution upon modern Turkey. Secondary focus on cultural translation and representations of Turks and Muslims, including regional understandings of Turkey and Islam in the Middle East and Eurasia. Theoretical focus on literature, colonialism, modernism, translation, and identity.

Areas of Interest:

Ottoman Empire/Turkey
Ottoman/Turkish relations with Europe
Narrative Identities
Muslim Nationalism


Literature • Identity • Representation • Cultural Translation • Ottoman Empire/Turkey

Current Ph.D. Students  

  • Johanna Schuster-Craig (German Studies)  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. Goknar, E, "The Novel in Turkish: From Narrative Tradition to Nobel Prize", in Cambridge History of Turkey: Turkey in the Modern World, edited by Kasaba, R, vol. IV (Fall, 2008), pp. 35-35, Cambridge University Press [catalogue.asp]  [abs]
  2. Goknar, E, "Orhan Pamuk and the ’Ottoman’ Theme", World Literature Today, vol. 80 no. 6 (November, 2006)
Bio: Erdağ Göknar is Assistant Professor of Turkish at Duke University and a literary translator. He holds a Ph.D. in Near and Middle Eastern studies (Turkish literature and culture) and an M.F.A. in creative writing. A Turkish-American scholar, he is currently a fellow at the National Humanities Center where he is writing a critical analysis of the Turkish novel and Orhan Pamuk. He is the recipient of two Fulbright awards, the Dublin IMPAC literary award (with Orhan Pamuk), and an NEA translation grant. His partner, Banu Gökarıksel, is professor of cultural geography at UNC and their son Levent Sa'y, is a toddler.

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