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Senior Research Seminar: Professor Tone Bringa (University of Bergen)

When Feb 07, 2020
from 04:15 PM to 06:00 PM
Where Edmund Leach Room, Department of Social Anthropology Free School Lane, Cambridge
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Professor Tone Bringa (University of Bergen)

To know one's grandfather's name: Bosniak Turks between kin and state

The early 20th century saw hundreds of thousands of people migrating  from the Balkans eastwards to Turkey (and the late Ottoman Empire). This massive movement of people, its causes and effects on sending and receiving country, has -contrary to the migation of people from Turkey into Western Europe - received relatively little attention among scholars and has only recently become a topic of research, mainly by historians. 

In this presentation I offer some early reflections on my ongoing research among the decendants of some of these migrants who identify themselves as Bosniaks. Based on initial fieldwork in a Bosniak speaking village and an Istanbul neighbourhood, I trace the migration stories of some families, and their connections with the old homeland. I suggest that the war in Bosnia in the 1990s triggered passed down memories of flight and suffering and reignited individual connections and affects of kindredness with Bosnia. In the decades since the war ended these connections have, however, become increasingly state driven -and sponsored. Enganging with the concepts of “Ottoman half-lives” (Peter Loizos) and “home-building” (Ghassan Hage), this presentation will explore this changing relationship between historically shaped individual stories of belonging and the new forms of institutionalized relations and ideas of kindredness with Bosnia that have come into play in the 21st century.  

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