Sir Jack Goody spent the last years of his singularly creative career concerned with the turbulent relations between the West and the East. At this time when populists in Western countries complain loudly of the pains of “globalization” deriving from China and India, and others, the relations with one of the most important countries of the “East”, Turkey, become critical. After having been intimately involved with Europe as a quintessential “Oriental” power for many long centuries, Turkey experienced a profound “cultural revolution” in the 1920’s in the direction of secularism and an “imagined” Western vocation. Now the tide appears to be turning back towards an “imagined” Ottoman past. What are the major issues? How much is myth and where is history? Are the values of liberal democracy, human rights and civil liberties compatible with the “Orient”? Are these liberties “universal values” or are they fragile plants that can only survive in some “European” climes? How does the US “War on Terror” and the “Clash of Civilizations” affect the issue?
Source: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Link (1 May 2017)