This project is a comparative study of cultural reforms, linguistic renewal and literary renaissance movements in three imperial traditions, caught between the East-West divide: Russia, Turkey and Japan. It looks at the negotiated cultural models in modernization and westernization processes and argues that their shared historical experience resulted in a common intellectual vocabulary and narrative models shared by otherwise extremely diverse cultures.

The project aims to develop a comparative model, drawing a polycentric and plural map of literary modernity. In three subprojects, this project investigates structural similarities in 1. Questions and concepts in literary criticism; 2. Translational practices and translated works from Europe, and 3. Narrative logic and typologies in fiction. It is the first comparative multilingual study of the non-Western literary modernities to bring these specific traditions together. It contests Eurocentric models of literary history which interprets these cases as failures or late emulations. It challenges an overemphasis on single national traditions or on postcolonial approaches, and limited body of studied texts and analysis techniques in the study of the non-West. The project follows a multi-method research strategy to conduct historical and literary comparisons between the emerging national literary systems, combining qualitative and quantitative methods in order to map transnational networks of narrative strategies, conceptual systems and translation practices. It brings new directions in Digital Humanities, expanding it to non-Western and multilingual comparative research. Finally, it makes a much-needed contribution to the current literary corpus by making unknown and untranslated texts available and accessible.

It is also the first ERC project in literary theory and comparative literature granted in Turkey.

Project start date is September 2021.

Short Biography

Özen Nergis Dolcerocca is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Koç University, Istanbul. She received her doctoral degree in Comparative Literature from NYU in 2016. She completed her higher education in Istanbul, Marburg and Paris before joining the doctoral program at NYU in 2008. Her work focuses on comparative modernisms, narrative theory, literatures of the Near East, literary theory and digital humanities. She is the special editor for the Tanpinar issue in Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. She currently serves as an executive council member in the MLA West Asia West Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures Forum and chairs the ACLA Owen Aldridge Prize Committee.