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Accepted Paper:

How to be a Good Guest? Lloyd A. Fallers and American Ethnography in Cold War Turkey  
Ali Sipahi (Ozyegin University)

Paper short abstract:

Lloyd A Fallers was a leading Chicago University anthropologist specialized in East African legal and political systems. Almost completely forgotten today however is that he later chose Turkey as his second geographical area of study and worked on Turkish political and religious lifeworld from the early 1960s until he died in 1974.

Paper long abstract:

His illness and untimely death at a very young age prevented Fallers from publishing his findings based on two semesters of living and teaching in Konya and Ankara a year long ethnography in Edremit and several short visits. Apart from mainly unnoticed two articles and a book chapter Fallers Turkey work has so far remained untouched in the special collection archives of the University of Chicago Library. Based on his unpublished letters speeches and articles in the archives as well as my oral history interviews this paper unearths behind the scene politics of ethnography in Turkey in 1965-70 through the experiences of Fallers and his students. Fallers conducted fieldwork in exceptional times. The world turned upside down between his three month stay in Konya in fall of 1964 and his fieldwork in Edremit in 1968-69. At home Chicago University was shaken by student mobilization on the one hand and the discipline of anthropology was put on trial for its involvement in Western imperialist policies on the other. In his new field site Turkish American relationship almost suddenly retrogressed culturally from its golden age into an atmosphere of distrust while the Leftist movement powerfully came in sight in the university campuses and on the street with its strong anti-American dimension. In this conjecture Fallers struggled on many fronts. He with his students Meeker and Benedict strove against the Turkish bureaucracy for fieldwork permissions while also criticizing American policy in Turkey which he disputed with U S diplomats such as Komer. He wrote on the futility of Vietnam War yet disapproved the radical student movements. He was impressed by intellectualism of Turkish scholars but stood aloof from their Marxist tendencies. He was deeply sensitive about ethics of fieldwork however he never took seriously the discussions in anthropology about its relationship to imperialism In his non academic speeches he tried to accommodate his passion for modern science and his devoted Christianity. He was progressive and conservative patriotic and universalist modernist and traditionalist all at the same time Fallers story unfolds paradoxes and uncertainties of the Cold War era.

Panel P03b
Collaborations and Confrontations during the Cold War and Into the Future
  Session 1 Friday 10 June, 2022, -