East Meets West: The Problem of Identity in Orhan Pamuk's The White Castle and The Black Book

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Rosekrans, Taylor
This presentation examines a few of the main aspects of the work of Turkish Nobel Prize winning author Orhan Pamuk. Specifically, his novels The White Castle and The Black Book. Pamuk identifies himself as a citizen of Turkey, and his body of work reflects that. An examination of Turkey's political history presents dichotomies that linger on today such as the binaries of East and West. However, in this presentation, I will display how through uses of Foucauldian theory within his fiction Orhan Pamuk presents a way to overcome those dichotomies. Pamuk blends the East with the West, the past with the present, and the secular with the mystic. In the end he attempts to show that these perceived opposites are imagined binaries. This presentation will examine what Pamuk is attempting to accomplish in relation to the history of the Turkish Republic – directly descendant from the Ottoman Empire. This presentation will also touch briefly on the concept of collective or cultural memory, and if such a thing can be lost.