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

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. ""Reading the Unreadable Ottoman: Victoria Holbrook’s The Unreadable Shores of Love"." Journal of Turkish Literature (2004). (Review)

Goknar, E. "My name is Re(a)d: Authoring translation,translating authority." TRANSLATION REVIEW 68 (2004): 52-60.

Goknar, E. "Ottoman past and Turkish future: Ambivalence in A.H. Tanpinar's 'Those Outside the Scene'." SOUTH ATLANTIC QUARTERLY 102.2-3 (2003): 661-661.


Goknar, E. ""The Novel in Turkish: From Narrative Tradition to Nobel Prize"." Ed. R Kasaba. IV (2008): 35-35.

Goknar, E. ""A Vote Against ’Clash of Civilizations’"." The Durham Herald Sun (October 2006).

Pamuk, O, and translator, EG. "Revised reissue of My Name is Red." Ed. L Walther.: 500-500.