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James Ryan

PhD Candidate

James Ryan


A.M. University of Pennsylvania (2013)
B.A., University of Chicago (2008)

Research Interests

Ottoman and Republican Turkish History, Nationalism, Modernities, Modern Art and Literature, Political Thought and Ideology, Technological Modernization


Modern Middle East History, Middle Eastern Intellectual History, 20th Century Political Thought and Ideology in Europe 


Dissertation Title:

"Contesting Modernity: Culture, the Nation and its Discontents in the Turkish Republic, 1919-1950" (provisional title)

Brief Personal Statement

My primary research concerns the way in which the early Turkish republican state attempted to establish a model for a modern, ethnonationalist culture and the way socialist, religious, conservative and fascist groups and intellectuals contested this vision.  This is in part an effort to write a history of the development of political ideology in a new nation, but I also wish to stress a more comprehensive view of what counts as intellectual history so as to better understand the roles of intellectuals not classically considered as such, including poets, novelists and visual artists.  I am also very much interested in the technological modernization of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic, particularly how advances in public transit affected the experience of being a modern person.  This has manifested itself recently in a research project concerning the development of the tramway system in Istanbul.