I am an author and scholar, a professor at Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies (formerly professor of anthropology at Boston University), specializing in contemporary Turkish culture, politics and society. I have published three scholarly books on contemporary Turkey: Money Makes us Relatives; Islamist Mobilization in Turkey; and Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks. I’ve also published three novels in the Kamil Pasha series: The Sultan’s Seal, The Abyssinian Proof , and The Winter Thief. For more information about my books and some background history, check out my website: www.jennywhite.net
This blog began as a species of field notes — a record of what I thought was important — as I spent the year 2008 in Turkey on a research grant. I was looking into political issues, nationalism and Islam in particular as these were developing in Turkey. When I returned to Boston, I continued my mission to keep track of — and track down — interesting and important events and insights about contemporary Turkey.
Since in the recent government purges, the archives of major newspapers have been erased, you might be able to search using the Categories list to find information contained in news articles, particularly between 2008 and 2015, even if the link is gone. I made a habit of linking to Turkish online news articles, but also summarizing them in English. Since 2015, I have moved on to different projects that take a great deal of my time, begun to Tweet (@WhiteJennyB), and moved to Sweden, so posting on this site has lagged somewhat, but I still post occasionally and I believe the site will continue to be useful for readers.
I try to be balanced (never an easy task in an ideologically divided country like Turkey) and, when the occasion presents itself, to look at the light side of things as well. I give my own reflections as someone who has been coming to – and often living in — Turkey since the mid-1970s.
Istanbul is a city where the past is right there beneath your nose as you walk about the streets. My main fictional character, Kamil Pasha, was a prosecutor/magistrate in the nineteenth century secular Ottoman court of Beyoglu, the foreigners’ section of Istanbul. He went to school in Istanbul, grew up there, worked and loved there (and in my mind and that of my readers still does).
Old Turkey and new, my impressions and thoughts.