James Ryan

Ph.D. Candidate

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



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


Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet (Advisor)
Eve Troutt Powell
Warren Breckman
Mustafa Aksakal (Georgetown)

Dissertation Title:

"The Republic of Others: Opponents of Kemalism in Turkey's Single Party Era, 1919-1950"


Brief Personal Statement:

My dissertation is an exploration of opposition movements in Turkey from the end of World War I up until the first parliamentary victory of a sanctioned opposition party in 1950. It examines the writing and lives of several prominent figures in the cultural and intellectual life of the Turkish Republic who held views that conflicted with the development of Kemalism, a state ideology that centered on principles of aggressive modernization and ethno-nationalist identity. It investigates critiques of the Kemalist state from Marxist, conservative, liberal and fascist perspectives and places them in the larger context of a widening global ideological gulf that would characterize the Second World War. It argues that the at-times toxic polarization of politics in Turkey during the war and the incubation of multiparty politics in the early Cold War environment exacted a significant cost on the development of a truly organic political opposition at a critical turning point in Turkish republican history. Research for this dissertation has been carried out in Turkey, Hungary and the United States, and has been supported by a Dissertation Writing Award from the Institute for Turkish Studies (2016). 

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 interest has lead to a project on the development of the tramway system in Istanbul and the way in which public transit affected the development of the public sphere in Turkey. This project has resulted in two publications, a review essay in Mobility in History and a research article in The Journal of Urban History.
Research Interests: 

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

Selected Publications: 
"'Unveiling' the Tramway: The Intimate Public Sphere in Late Ottoman and Republican Istanbul" Journal of Urban History (Online First, April 2016)
URL: http://juh.sagepub.com/content/early/2016/04/09/0096144216641070.abstract

Review of Gruber, Christiane; Haugbolle, Sune, eds., Visual Culture in the Modern Middle East: Rhetoric of the Image. H-AMCA, H-Net Reviews. May, 2015.
URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=43951

Dissertation Review. Onur İşçi "Russophobic Neutrality: Turkish Diplomacy 1936-1945" dissertationreviews.org, December 4, 2014, http://dissertationreviews.org/archives/10815

Review. Hale Yılmaz, Becoming Turkish: Nationalist Reforms and Cultural Negotiations in Early Republican Turkey, 1919-1945, Middle East Journal Vol. 68, No. 3, Summer 2014 pp. 480-481.

"Technology, Modernity and the State: Approaches to the History of Transit in Istanbul" Mobility in History Vol. 6, No. 1 January 2015, pp. 113-119

Courses Taught: 

HIST 206 Strangers in a Strange Land: Travel Narratives in World History, Summer 2014

HIST 232-401 Women in the Middle East: A Modern History, Spring 2017