Americanism in Resimli Hayat as anti-West reaction. Possible?
Hey Zeynep! I really enjoyed your presentation, it was really comprehensive and interesting.
I was particularly interested in a phrase by Şevket Rado in the "about America" article, in which his fascination with America was explained on the basis of America's ability to follow a separate road than this of Western European Culture, and prosper. I was recently reading things around Kemal Atatürk's "Türk Tarih Tezi"(Turkish Historical Thesis) and the way his Anatolianism constituted an alternative historiography model to the Western one that placed Ancient Greece as the cradle of modern civilisation. Do you think that, amidst the political climate which encouraged Americanism, Rado's and also Celal Bayar's fascination with the US could have been also intensified by America's defiance towards West Europe?
First of all, thank you for listening and for your kind comments 🙂
In the 19th century, and later during the early years of the Republic of Turkey -until WWII- most of the Turkish intellectuals as well as politicians thought that the West, European countries such as France and Britain in particular, should have been followed in order to build a modern Turkish society. However, following WWII, another policy was adopted by Turkey. Even though western Europe was not ignored at all, the ideal example which would be followed by the Turkish community moved to more west, particularly to the USA. Therefore, I believe that it would be wrong to read the Americanism in Resimli Hayat as an anti-West reaction. A lot of material can be found in the magazine in relation to western Europe. For instance, various news about the Royal Family of the United Kingdom, translated literary works of British and French authors or many translated articles which were published in German, Swiss or French magazines were frequently published in Resimli Hayat. On the other hand, it is remarkable that the praise of the USA was much more visible and emphasized in the magazine.
In terms of politics, it is difficult to trace Rado's view on U.S. foreign policy in Resimli Hayat. To be honest, I am still working on my dissertation, so it might be interesting to think about your question while reading different materials. I am sorry that I couldn't answer this part of your question properly, but I hope my explanation above will provide some help.
Dear Zeynep, thank you for your interesting presentation, this is a fascinating topic.
My questions concern mostly design and photographs, all my apologies since these are not your main focus. I happen to be very curious about these postwar turkish magazines' design, could you maybe tell us a bit more about their structure, or show us some pictures of inner spreads? Were these as heavily photo-based as LIFE et al. or were they closer to illustrated journals? I have had the luck to come across a complete collection of interwar Yedigün and its design was relatively creative, with varied typefaces and photocompositions, would you say that that sort of "formula" was successfull and carried on into the postwar era?
Could you maybe also tell us a little more about the relations between Resimli Hayat and other turkish magazines with american and french magazines such as Paris-Match? You mention they translated a lot of articles. Do you think that was some sort of collaboration, or did Resimli Hayat bluntly "copy" (so to speak) western magazines? Would you say overall that turkish postwar magazines imitated or imported an american model, or was there a specific local format?
I seem to find that there were a lot of cinema-magazines, or newsmagazines which heavily featured cinema and celebrities, but that might be a biased impression since I haven't been able to find many ressources in english on the topic. Most accounts of turkish history of the press available in other languages than turkish sadly seem to completely ignore magazines and the popular press — recommendations would be more than welcome if you have any!
Similarly, would you have any idea wether the photographs in Resimli Hayat were purchased from international agencies? What would be according to you the proportion of foreign vs. nationally produced photographs in these publications?
Thanks again for your talk — I hope my questions are not too off-topic.
Thank you so much for your informative reply. Indeed, now that you provided me with more information about the magazine, it seems like an Anti-Western reaction is not to be read from Resimli Hayat. I am glad nevertheless that I gave you food for thought for your future examinations.
Thank you again,
Dear Laura, thank you for listening and for your kind comments ?
As you wrote, my main focus was different, and I am afraid that I don’t have enough material to answer some of your questions but I will try my best.
In fact, Resimli Hayat can be considered as the forerunner of a more photo-based, weekly magazine Hayat [Life]. In the last issue of Resimli Hayat, it was announced that after a short break the magazine would be published weekly with color photography under the name of Hayat. The existing literature on Hayat shows that its design was much more closer to Life. Therefore, in terms of design and composition, I believe Resimli Hayat can be considered more than an illustrated journal, maybe a pilot run for a more photo-based, western style magazine.
Through different sources, we know that Şevket Rado and also the editorial board of the magazine were following some foreign periodicals. These periodicals definitely inspired them in terms of design and content. But I haven’t done a detailed comparative analysis, therefore I don’t want to make a generalization through my limited corpus.
From the perspective of Translation Studies, I can recommend Ceyda Özmen’s work on a Turkish film magazine Yıldız [Star] https://www.academia.edu/40028116/BEYOND_THE_BOOK_The_Periodical_as_an_Excavation_Site_for_Translation_Studies . It was really interesting and inspiring.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to give the proportion of foreign vs. nationally produced photographs in Resimli Hayat. However, I see that on the copyright page of the magazine, in each issue, it was acknowledged that foreign photos were purchased from international agencies. In addition, Turkish photographers whose photographs had been published, were also credited.
I wish that I could provide more visual material from the inner spreads, but I had only photographed the pages that were related to my topic. Because of the current situation in Istanbul, I am not able to reach the archive right now. Yet, I will continue to work on Resimli Hayat in the next days, so it would be my pleasure to share more material in future.