Panel discussion with: Murat Belge, Alexander Etkind, Wendy Doniger, Stephen Marshall
Murat Belge was born in Ankara in 1943. He studied English language and literature at Istanbul University, graduating in 1966 and continuing as an assistant at the same university, where he also received his Ph.D. He became a docent in 1980 and a professor in 1997. He left academia in 1982 after the formation of the Turkish Council of Higher Education, which supervises Turkish universities, and started teaching again at a foundation university in 1995. He is now the head of the Comparative Literature Department at Bilgi University. Murat Belge was one of the founders of the left-wing journals Halkın Dostları (Friends of the People, 1970) and Birikim (Accumulation, 1975). He wrote for the newspapers Demokrat and Cumhuriyet. In 1984 he became the head of the journal Yeni Gündem (New Agenda) and İletişim (Communication) publishing house. He has translated authors such as William Faulkner, James Joyce, Patrick White, and Charles Dickens into Turkish. He was arrested during the military coup of 12 March 1971. He is a member of the international board of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly.
Alexander Etkind is Reader in Russian Literature and Cultural History at Cambridge University. Before coming to Cambridge in 2005, he taught at the European University at Saint Petersburg. He was also a resident fellow at Harvard, Princeton, and the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin. He is the author of Eros of the Impossible: The History of Psychoanalysis in Russia (1996) and the forthcoming Internal Colonization: Russia’s Imperial Experience (September 2011). He also directs the European research project Memory at War: Cultural Dynamics in Poland, Russia, and Ukraine (www.memoryatwar.org).
Wendy Doniger is Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago’s Divinity School, Department of South Asian Literature and Civilization, and Committee on Social Thought. Much of her work is focused on translating, interpreting, and comparing elements of Hinduism through modern contexts of gender, sexuality, and identity. Doniger is the author, translator, and editor of almost thirty books, published in part under the name of Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, among them Siva: The Erotic Ascetic (1973), The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology (1976), Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts (1980), Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities (1986), Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India (1999), The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth (1998), The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade (2000), and Hinduism: An Alternative History (2009). She has translated many Sanskrit texts, including the Rig Veda, Laws of Manu, and Kamasutra. The Woman Who Pretended To Be Who She Was (2005) is about the mythology of self-imitation in ancient India, Shakespeare, medieval Celtic, German, and French romances, and Hollywood films. Her current works in progress include a novel, Horses for Lovers, Dogs for Husbands, and the Norton Anthology of Hinduism.
Stephen Marshall is assistant professor in the Department of American Studies and the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Trained in political theory and Government at Harvard University, Stephen Marshall’s interests include African American political thought, politics of the black diaspora, critical race theory, democratic theory, and the politics of literature. He is the author of The City on the Hill From Below: The Crisis of Prophetic Black Politics (2011), a study of the political theory of David Walker, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison. His current project is an examination of the ongoing legacies of mastery within post-slavery liberal democracies.
Mischa Gabowitsch was born in Moscow in 1977. He studied at Oxford University, the Ecole normale supérieure (Paris) and the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris, where he defended his dissertation on late 20th century Russian nationalism and its opponents in 2007. He was the first Albert Einstein Fellow at the Einstein Forum and, from 2007 to 2010, a Cotsen Post-Doctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Sociology at Princeton University’s Society of Fellows in Liberal Arts. He has edited the journals Neprikosnovenny zapas: Debates on Politics and Culture (Moscow) and Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Research (Saint Petersburg). In addition to publishing numerous articles and translations, he edited a collection of articles (in Russian) entitled The Memory of the War 60 Years Later: Russia, Germany, Europe (Moscow 2005).