Department of Middle Eastern Studies
Department of Middle Eastern Studies

Lenin via Cavid: Rethinking Self-Determination

Thu, November 14, 2013 | Texas Union, Lone Star Room (3.208)

3:30 PM

presents Nergis Ertürk
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Texas Union – Lone Star Room (3.208)
3:30 PM
Ertürk's talk revisits Lenin's concept of self-determination by supplementing it with the work of one of his contemporaries, the Azerbaijani poet, playwright and critic Hüseyn Cavid (1882-1941). The Leninist concept of self-determination was decisive in mobilizing the support of the Russian Muslim East in the aftermath of the October Revolution. However, it encountered its limit when it posited an autonomous revolutionary subject and when it proposed a communist common which would be composed of discrete national units. Cavid's 1915 play Şeyx Sәnʿan (Sheik Senan) stages a very different revolutionary subject. In her talk, Ertürk suggests that Cavid supplements Lenin's concept of self-determination by paving the way for another conception of communism which would be grounded in alterity. Truly engaging Lenin's legacy and the legacy of multinational and plurlingual Soviet communism, she argues, entails moving beyond its identitarian politics.

Nergis Ertürk is the author of Grammatology and Literary Modernity in Turkey (Oxford University Press, 2011), the recipient of the 2012 Modern Language Association Prize for a First Book. Her work has also appeared in PMLA, Modernism/Modernity, boundary 2New Literary History, and Jadaliyya. During 2012-2013, she was a Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Postdoctoral Fellow for Transregional Research on Inter-Asian Contexts and Connections, and during 2014-2015, she will hold an American Council Learned Societies (ACLS) Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship. Ertürk is currently writing a book on the translation of communist thought and practice in the Muslim Caucasus.

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