Abstract: This article shows how the semiotics of a language, that is, what a language signifies, is a negotiated process observable by following online debates. Indeed, the adoption of new media seems to instigate, if not intensify and revitalize, these debates. I analyze an electronically mediated discussion group stating its goals as the maintenance, revitalization and standardization of Ladino (Judeo-Spanish). Employing theories from linguistic anthropology, I show how language ideologies map out the boundaries of what I call “Ladinoland” by insisting on particular meanings of Ladino. Group members assign the language these meanings through debates about Ladino’s glottonym, recursive boundary marking between Ladino native and novice users, and erasures of linguistic elements perceived to be non-standard.
Topics: Minorities, Main Topic: Other
Abstract: Osmanlı İmparatorluğu ve onun devamı olan Türkiye Cumhuriyeti azınlıklara hoşgörü örnekleri olarak gösterilegelmiştir. Hatta bugün bazı Türkler, geçmişte kalan Osmanlı kozmopolitizmine karşı nostaljik hisler beslemektedirler. Marcy Brink-Danan, geçmişe dair bu görüşleri sorgularken, Yahudilerin gözünde, günümüz İstanbul’unda hoşgörülen bir azınlık olarak yaşamanın ne anlama geldiğini mercek altına alıyor. Çoğunlukla “iyi azınlık” olarak tasvir edilen Türkiye’deki Yahudiler, bölgedeki uzun geçmişlerini kucaklarken, bir yandan da ayrımcılığa maruz kalıyorlar; kurumları, düzenli olarak tehdit ve saldırılara hedef oluyor. Brink-Danan Türkiye’yi bir hoşgörü diyarı olarak resmeden Türk popüler ideolojisindeki çelişki ve boşlukları keşfe çıkarak, Türk Yahudilerin kozmopolitizm ve yurtseverlik, hoşgörü ve şiddet, Yahudiler olarak farklılık ve Türkiye yurttaşları olarak aynılık arasındaki gerilimlerle nasıl başa çıktığını anlatıyor. Marcy Brink-Danan, Columbia Üniversitesi, Barnard Koleji, Antropoloji Bölümünden lisans, Stanford Üniversitesi Kültürel ve Sosyal Antropoloji Bölümünden yüksek lisans ve doktora derecelerini aldı. Avrupa ve çeperlerinde yurttaşlık, din ve laiklik ekseninde dilsel stratejiler üzerine çalışıyor. Araştırmalarını altı yıl Brown Üniversitesinde yürüten Brink-Danan, Kudüs’teki İbrani Üniversitesi, Antropoloji Bölümünde çalışmaktadır.
Abstract: In this article, I discuss the anthropological value of focusing on ontological processes in which seemingly local, native, or indigenous people are reclassified as foreigners. Building on theories of language and time, I show, through the ethnographic example of Jewish naming in Istanbul, how names come to signify foreignness. I also explore naming as a process through which the subjects of reclassification themselves understand present-day ontologies as historically informed and context dependent. By studying moments of categorical reassignment, I detail the social semiotic processes that drive the classification of signs as indices of belonging or exclusion. Anthropologists increasingly study military, juridical, and economic ontologies that reorder, relocate, and restrict human (and nonhuman) groups. I illuminate a quieter space, that of naming, through which classifications are made and undone.
Abstract: If, as is widely argued, we live in a cosmopolitan moment, the processes of cosmopolitanization are sometimes fraught with danger. Describing contexts in which cosmopolitanism is censored, this article considers recursive erasures of difference in Turkish-Jewish architecture, bodily marking, and language that highlight this sense of dangerous cosmopolitanism. This scenario complicates the popular notion that cosmopolitanism requires public nomination of difference; instead, cosmopolitanism is sometimes observable only by accounting for knowledge of what should be kept private. Without a fundamental examination of the production and interpretation of knowledge of difference, reckonings of lived cosmopolitanism are incomplete.
Topics: Diaspora, Jewish-Muslim Relations, Ethnography, Jewish Identity, Main Topic: Identity and Community
Abstract: Turkey is famed for a history of tolerance toward minorities, and there is a growing nostalgia for the “Ottoman mosaic.” In this richly detailed study, Marcy Brink-Danan examines what it means for Jews to live as a tolerated minority in contemporary Istanbul. Often portrayed as the “good minority,” Jews in Turkey celebrate their long history in the region, yet they are subject to discrimination and their institutions are regularly threatened and periodically attacked. Brink-Danan explores the contradictions and gaps in the popular ideology of Turkey as a land of tolerance, describing how Turkish Jews manage the tensions between cosmopolitanism and patriotism, difference as Jews and sameness as Turkish citizens, tolerance and violence.
Abstract: This article describes how the election and investiture of a chief rabbi in 2002 created a unique space for Turkish Jews to debate the meaning of democracy. I document current Turkish Jewish discourses about democracy by combining ethnographic observations of the election season with an analysis of the production and reception of local narratives (speeches, news articles, and interviews) about the process. I then analyze the election and inauguration as a “politics of presence” in which democracy is seen not only as a practice through which to debate ideas but a discursive move to represent collective difference in the public sphere. As such, this article contributes to discussions about the performative nature of minority politics and how these alternative discursive spheres relate to the broader contexts in which they occur.