Erdag Göknar

Associate Professor in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

External address: 
225 Franklin Center, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
2204 Erwin Road, Rm. 225, Box 90414, Durham, NC 27708-0414
(919) 660-3151

My research focuses on the intersection of politics and culture in the Middle East; specifically, the late Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. I am interested in exploring questions of Turkish and Muslim representation in literature, historiography, and popular culture/media. This includes examining tensions between city and nation at the nexus of representational and political power. My work has focused the political critiques of state ideology embedded in literary and historical tropes in the work of authors like Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and on the critical role played by writers in representations of political violence such as cultural revolution, military coups and colonial occupation (a recent project addresses the Occupation of Istanbul after WWI). More generally, I am interested in political imaginaries that emerge out of cultural productions. Areas of additional focus include world literature, the global city, and cultural translation.


Primary focus on the legacies of the Ottoman Empire and the Kemalist cultural revolution upon modern Turkey and the Middle East. Secondary focus on cultural translation and representational politics of Turks and Muslims, including regional understandings of Turkey and Islam. Theoretical focus on literature and politics, gender and orientalism, colonialism and nationalism, Islam and modernism, translation and identity.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Washington 2004

  • M.A., University of Washington 1998

  • B.A., University of Michigan at Ann Arbor 1988

Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies awarded by University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies Title VI awarded by University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2017

Submitted, P. Occupied Istanbul: From Trauma to Trope in Turkish Culture. Ed. JWU consideration. Routledge, 2013.

Göknar, E. Conversations With Orhan Pamuk. University of Mississippi Press, 2013.

Göknar, E, Cooke, M, and Parker, G. Mediterranean Passages from Delos to Derrida. UNC Press, 2008.

Goknar, E. Earth and Ashes. Harcourt (New York), September 2002.

Goknar, E. My Name is Red. Knopf (New York), September 2001.

"The Novel in Turkish: From Narrative Tradition to Nobel Prize". Ed. R Kasaba. Cambridge University Press.

Goknar, E. ""The Turkish Novel: Modernity, Modernism, and Postmodernism"." Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Novel. 2013.

Göknar, E. ""Occulted Texts: Pamuk’s Untranslated Novels"." Global Perspectives on Orhan Pamuk: Existentialism and Politics. Ed. Afridi and Buyze. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Göknar, E. ""Reading Occupied Istanbul: From Historical Trauma to Literary Trope"." Ed. E Stephens. Culture, Theory and Critique (2013). (Academic Article)


Goknar, E. "Secular Blasphemies: Orhan Pamuk and the Turkish Novel." NOVEL-A FORUM ON FICTION 45.2 (2012): 301-326. Full Text

Goknar, E. ""The White Castle" and the Ottoman Legacy." Ed. T Halman. Journal of Turkish Literature (January 2011).

Goknar, E. ""From Steppe to Sea: The Blue Anatolia Literary Movement"." Ed. M Kalpakli. Turkish Studies Journal Special Issue Festschrift for Walter Andrews (2010).

Erturk, N. "Grammatology and Turkish Literary Modernity." (August 2009). (Review)

Behramoglu, A. "I’ve Learned Some Things.." (2007). (Review)

Goknar, E. ""Orhan Pamuk and the ’Ottoman’ Theme"." World Literature Today 80 (November 2006).

Goknar, E. ""My Name is Re(a)d: Translating Authority, Authoring Translation"." Ed. S Wade. Translation Review (2005).


Goknar, E. "Peer-Review: "The Black Book and the Despair of Rereading"." Comparative Literature (2012).

Goknar, E. "Peer-Review: "A.H. Tanpinar on Science, Literature, History and Cultural Change"." Journal of Levantine Studies (March 2011).

Tanpinar, AH, and translator, EG. "Revised paperback and Kindle reissue of A Mind at Peace." Ed. J Schoolman. (March 2011): 500-500.

Rahimi, A, and translator, EG. "Reissue of Earth and Ashes." (2010).

Goknar, E. "Peer-Review: "Orhan Pamuk’s _Snow_ as a Russian Novel"." Slavic & East European Journal (2010).

Pamuk, O, and translator, EG. ""Monsieur Flaubert, C’est Moi!"." Standpoint and Threepenny Review (August 2009).

Tanpinar, AH, and translator, EG. "A Mind at Peace (novel)." Ed. J Schoolman. (January 2009): 500-500.