Is the Turk a White Man?: Race and Modernity in the Making of Turkish Identity

Is the Turk a White Man?: Race and Modernity in the Making of Turkish Identity

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In 1909, the US Circuit Court in Cincinnati set out to decide "whether a Turkish citizen shall be naturalized as a white person"; the New York Times article on the decision, discussing the question of Turks' whiteness, was cheekily entitled "Is the Turk a White Man?" Within a few decades, having understood the importance of this question for their modernization efforts, Turkish elites had already started a fantastic scientific mobilization to position the Turks in world history as the generators of Western civilization, the creators of human language, and the forgotten source of white racial stock. In this book, Murat Ergin examines how race figures into Turkish modernization in a process of interaction between global racial discourses and local responses.