#029 – A Transnational History of Kemalism

with Nathalie Clayer, Fabio Giomi, and Emmanuel Szurek



Cover of Munir Šahinović-Ekremov’s Turska, – danas i sjutra. Prosjek kroz život jedne države [Turkey today and tomorrow. Outline of a State’s life], 1939.


Kemalism as a political category has been used widely and often ambigously throughout the history of the Turkish Republic in the public discourse as well as in historiography. In this episode, we discuss Kemalism from an innovative transnational perspective. The making of Kemalism was embedded in hybridity and circulations involving other regions of the post-Ottoman space. Practices of governance, material objects, new conceptions of the body and gender roles, and scientific debates created a convergence of Islam and modernity which was influenced by external reference but also attracted observers from surrounding countries such as Albania, Yugoslavia and Egypt.



Nathalie Clayer (center) is a professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

Fabio Giomi (right) is a researcher at the French National Research Council (CNRS).

Emmanuel Szurek (left) is an associate professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

Nathalie, Fabio, and Emmanuel are members of the Center for Turkish, Ottoman, Balkan and Central Asian Studies (CETOBaC). They are the editors of Kemalism. Transnational Politics in the Post-Ottoman World. London: Bloomsbury, 2018.

Table of contents:

Introduction: Transationalizing Kemalism: a Refractive Relationship, by Nathalie Clayer, Fabio Giomi, Emmanuel Szurek
Chapter 1: Kemalism and the Adoption of the Civil Code in Albania (1926-1929), by Nathalie Clayer
Chapter 2: Kemalism Between the Borders: Conflicts Over the New Turkish Alphabet in Bulgaria, by Anna M. Mirkova
Chapter 3: From Ottoman to Latin Script in Cyprus. A Local, a British Colonial and a Turkish National History, by Béatrice Hendrich
Chapter 4: Transnational History in a Hat: Egypt and Kemalism in the Interwar Years, by Wilson Chacko Jacob
Chapter 5: Seduced by Gender Corporatism: Muslim Cultural Entrepreneurs and Kemalist Turkey in Interwar Yugoslavia, Fabio Giomi
Chapter 6: Reframing the Orientalist Gaze in the Material Culture of Kemalist Turkey: The Formation of an “Aesthetic Nationalism”, by Ece Zerman
Chapter 7: The Man Sick of Europe. A Transnational History of Kemalist Science, by Emmanuel Szurek


To cite this episode:  Clayer, Nathalie; Giomi, Fabio; Szurek Emmanuel; Guidi, Andreas (2019): A transnational history of Kemalism. The Southeast Passage #029, 09.06.2019, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/clayer-giomi-szurek-transnational-history-kemalism



“Yanık Ömer”, performed by Bayan Safiye


Further reading:

Adak, Sevgi. 2014. ‘Women in the Post-Ottoman Public Sphere: Anti-Veiling Campaigns and the Gendered Reshaping of Urban Space in Early Republican Turkey’. Pp. 36–67 in Women and the City, Women in the City: A Gendered Perspective to Ottoman Urban History, edited by N. Maksudyan. New York: Berghahn Books.

Aytürk, İlker. 2009. ‘H. F. Kvergic and the Sun-Language Theory’. Zeitschrift Der Deutschen Morgenlaendischen Gesellschaft 1(159):23–44.

Aytürk, İlker. 2015. ‘Post-Post-Kemalizm: Yeni Bir Paradigmayı Beklerken’. Birikim (319):34–48.

Bozarslan, Hamit. 2004. Histoire De La Turquie Contemporaine. Paris: Éd. La Découverte.

Georgeon, François and İskender Gökalp, eds. 1987. Kémalisme et Monde Musulman. Paris: Fondation de la Maison des sciences de l’homme.

Hanioğlu, M. Şükrü. 2011. Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Müller, Bertrand and Christian Jacob. 2009. ‘Les Lieux de Savoir : Un Entretien Avec Christian Jacob’. Geneses 76(3):116–36.

Parla, Taha and Andrew Davison. 2004. Corporatist Ideology in Kemalist Turkey. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Zürcher, Erik Jan. 2004. Turkey: A Modern History. 3rd ed. London ; New York: I.B. Tauris.


“Kemalist Turkey Hails Fascist Italy!” Cumhuriyet headline on the occasion of Prime Minister Ismet Inönü’s official visit to Rome (22 May 1932).


Cover of the Italian translation of Mustafa Kemal’s biography by Dagobert von Mikusch, a German journalist, firstly published in 1929.





The Southeast Passage
The Southeast Passage
#029 – A Transnational History of Kemalism