rethinking german - turkish cinema

Third German Studies Workshop, 26-27 March 2010

Department of Germanic Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Organizer: Sabine Hake

The past twenty years have seen the emergence of German-Turkish cinema as an integral part of postunification German cinema and transnational European cinema. Today Fatih Akin is considered one of the most innovative German directors, whereas Thomas Arslan, Yilmaz Arslan, Yüksel Yavuz, Ayse Polat, and Seyhan Derin provide new filmic perspectives on the problems of first-, second-, and third-generation immigrants. In the same way that filmmakers, by playing with genre conventions and aesthetic registers, have moved beyond the early focus on guest workers and victim narratives, scholars have shifted toward an analysis of the hybrid identities mapped out by what is alternately called migrant cinema, diasporic cinema or accented cinema. But while the conventions of a “cinema of duty” have been left behind in favor of the “pleasures of hybridity,” analyses still focus primarily on questions of identity, whether defined as ethnic, multiethnic, or postethnic. Similarly, despite the radical expansion of space and subjectivity, the filmic scenarios of mobility, displacement, and belonging continue to be framed in the binary terms of alterity or in-betweenness. And while German-Turkish cinema has played a central role in the reconceptualization of European cinema, including its modes of production and exhibition, scholarly debates are still dominated by narrative and thematic analyses.

In this two-day workshop, we want to take stock of more than thirty years of German-Turkish filmmaking, reassess some of the concepts that have informed critical engagement with these films, and identify topics and areas for future research.
One of its goals is to open up the scholarship on Turkish-German film toward cultural studies readings, reception studies, performance theories, institutional histories, formal analyses, and comparative perspectives and to explore new ways of theorizing European cinema beyond the established models of national cinema and art cinema.

All events (except for the 3/25 talk by Barbara Mennel) will take place at the AT&T Conference Center, Room 108.

For further information, please contact Sabine Hake at

Workshop Program

Thursday 3/25/2010

5-6 PM Plenary Speaker Barbara Mennel, Associate Professor of German, University of Florida: “Cosmopolitan Affect and Turkish-German Cinema” (BUR 337)

Friday 3/26/2010

8:30-9:00 Welcoming Remarks Sabine Hake and Peter Hess (Chair, Department of Germanic Studies)

Remapping German-Turkish Cinema

9:00-9:30 AM Brent Peterson (Lawrence University): “Integration For Beginners: Constructing A Multicultural Family on German Television”

9:30-10:00 AM Brad Prager (University of Missouri–Columbia): “Only the Wounded Honor Fights: Züli Aladag’s Wut (2006) and the Drama of the Turkish-German Perpetrator”

10:00-10:30 AM Erol Boran (University of Toronto): “Charwoman—Bond-Girl—Prostitute: Nursel Köse and the Challenge of Ethnic Boundaries”

10:30-11:00 AM Marco Abel (University of Nebraska): “Realism Beyond Identity: The Cinema of Thomas Arslan”

11:00-12:00 Plenary Discussion (Moderator Bernd Moeller, UT Austin)

12-2 PM Lunch Break

Other Contexts and Other Media

2:00-2:30 PM Angelica Fenner (University of Toronto): “The Virtues and Vicissitudes of Silence: “Listening Relations and Historical Memory in Diasporic Documentary”

2:30-3:00 PM Nilgun Bayraktar (University of California at Berkeley): “Re-tracing Migratory Routes Along the Danube: Kutlug Ataman’s Multi-screen Installation Kuba

3:00-3:30 PM Savaş Arslan (Bahçeşehir University Istanbul): “Against die Bridge: Kurdish-Turkish-German Cinema?”

3:30-4:00 PM Özkan Ezli (University of Constance): “Global Images of Humanity between Equality and Similarity: Fatih Akin’s The Edge of Heaven compared with Alejandro Gonzáles Inárritu’s Babel

4:00-5:00 PM Plenary Discussion (Moderator Robert Shandley, Texas A&M University)

3/27 Saturday

The Case of Fatih Akin
9:00-9:30 AM Mine Eren (Randolph-Macon College): “German Cinema’s Fascination with the ‘Fallen’ Turkish Woman: Why Can’t It End?”

9:30-10:00 AM Kerry Dunne (University of Wollongong): “Side by SIde: Performing Cultural Hybridity in Fatih Akin’s Edge of Heaven

10:00-10:30 AM Roger Hillman (Australian National University): “Akin’s The Edge of Heaven and the Ever Widening Periphery”

10:30-11:00 AM Karolin Machtans (Cambridge University): “Perception and Marketing of Fatih Akın in the German Feuilleton and in Scholarly Film Critiques”

11:00-12:00 Plenary Discussion (Moderator Sonia Seeman, Butler School of Music, UT Austin)

12-2 PM Lunch Break

Reception and Spectatorship
2:00-2:30 PM Ayça Tunç, PhD Student (University of London): “The Reception of Turkish-German Filmmakers in the Turkish Press”

2:30-3:00 PM Randall Halle (University of Pittsburgh): “Karli-Kino, Maxximum Distribution, and Turkish Language Film Programming: First Evaluations of a Qualitative Audience Analysis”

3:00-4:00 PM Deniz Göktürk (University of California at Berkeley): “Immobile Features: Framing Place in a Mediated World”

4:00-5:00 PM Plenary Discussion (Moderator: Erica Carter)