IR SEMINAR- Umur Baždaž

Author: CASE
Time: 17:30
Location: CASE 127


05 March  2020 –THURSDAY

CASE 127 -17:30


Speaker  : Umur Baždaž – Koç University

Title       :  Between Kant and Herder: Gökalp on the Aesthetic Origins of Nationhood

Time       : 17:30-19:00

Place      : CASE 127

Date       : 05 March 2020 -Thursday

Abstract: Ziya Gökalp’s political thought seems to fit neatly into the category of German "romantic nationalism" thanks to his emphasis on common language and culture. However, he chose Kant’s Third Critique as the starting point for his account of the aesthetic origins of nationhood. This is quite puzzling, since Kant views aesthetic experience merely as a “disinterested pleasure” divorced from practical action and theoretical knowledge. This Kantian approach sharply contrasts with the later German Romantics, who sought to revive a pre-Socratic vision of art that would re-unite science and poetry by disclosing a new truth / mythology (i.e. a comprehensive, total vision of the cosmos). For instance, Schelling tasks the artistic genius with composing a “great heroic poem” to usher in a new age in which “truth again becomes fable and fable truth”. The objective of this paper is to resolve this puzzle by explaining Gökalp’s innovative inflection of Kantian aesthetics along collectivistic and solidaristic lines. He is attracted to Kant's aesthetics because of its strict separation of truth and beauty (unlike the German romantics). Such separation allows Gökalp to give the scientifically trained, Westernized elites exclusive authority over the truth-claims concerning the top-down reorganization of the modern Turkish society. In this way, he philosophically substantiates his own distinctive version of nationalism that combines populism and expert rule in a surprising manner that significantly differs from the contemporary anti-intellectualistic populisms.