Kutay Onayli


As a graduate student at Princeton’s Near Eastern Studies department, I will be pursuing research on cultural and intellectual exchange between speakers of Turkish and Greek in the final decades of the Ottoman Empire. I seek to map out the extent—and the specific forms—of such exchange, and as such, I am particularly interested in questions of Greco-Turkish bilingualism, translation, and cultural representation. In an era of growing nationalistic antagonism, how did the two communities attempt to read—and speak to, and speak about—one another? Can it be possible, for example, to chart an intellectual relationship or even kinship between ideologies such as the Megali Idea and Turanizm, both growing staples of late Ottoman intellectual and cultural life?

I have developed many of these interests while pursuing my undergraduate degree in Middle East Studies and Comparative Literature at Brown University. Throughout my undergraduate education, I focused on experiences of nationalism in the late Ottoman Empire, and in particular the Greek and Turkish formulations of, and reactions to, nationalist ideology. I wrote my B.A. thesis on the response of early Turkish literary postmodernist Bilge Karasu to such ideological formations, with Professor Vangelis Calotychos and Professor Elias Muhanna as my advisors. It was also at Brown that I was an assistant to Professor Beshara Doumani, and where I first undertook my study of Modern Greek, augmented by time spent in Athens and Thessaloniki, and of Persian.

Year of Study
Seventh Year
Home Department & Other Affiliations
Near Eastern Studies