Colloquium | Baris Kilicbay

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 - 12:00pm


Baris Kilicbay

Pleasures of Stereotypes: Nation, Melancholy and the Uncanny Migrant

My analysis revolves around the melancholy of the migrant through her ambiguous relationship with the lost motherland, and with national identification, and I argue that in the libidinal economy of national affect, the migrant body is required to absorb and encrypt the deficit that devolves from the nation’s own groundedness in supplementary displacement. By focusing on Karamuk, a Turkish-German film, I will have the opportunity to elaborate on my interest in stereotypes that the bulk of previous work on cinematic or literary production attempts to dismiss as “regressive” or “essentialist,” and celebrate “hybridity” as a strategy of resistance. I shall argue that if the figure of the victimized Turkish “guest worker” serves as a symptom of the loss that the nation is built upon, “pleasures of hybridity” is not in this sense a substitute for stereotyping inasmuch as the economy of Otherness does in fact make the “fantasy of origin” problematic. Stereotypes are therefore not only frozen and totalized images, but also a discourse whereby the migrant subject is performatively constructed against the myth of national homogeneity. In this talk I will show how Karamuk destabilizes the division of labor in the performance of the nation’s work of mourning through a productive relationship that it establishes with stereotypes.

Baris Kilicbay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at Abant Izzet Baysal University, Turkey and a visiting scholar in the Department of English at Upenn. He is currently working on a book length manuscript on stereotypes, national identification and melancholy in Turkish-German cinema.

Cinema Studies Program
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