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Sex, Love, and MigrationPostsocialism, Modernity, and Intimacy from Istanbul to the Arctic$
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Alexia Bloch

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501713149

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501713149.001.0001

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Magnificent Centuries and Economies of Desire

Magnificent Centuries and Economies of Desire

(p.34) 1 Magnificent Centuries and Economies of Desire
Sex, Love, and Migration

Alexia Bloch

Cornell University Press

This chapter traces encounters between Turks and people from the former Soviet Union, starting with a blockbuster telenovela featuring Hürrem, a passionate 16th century “Russian” woman who was in Süleyman the Magnificent’s harem, later becoming his wife. Emphasizing two periods, the 1920s “Islamic jazz age”, when hundreds of thousands of Russian speakers arrived in Istanbul as they fled the Russian Revolution, and a post-Soviet era when “Russians” are again highly visible as tourists and labor migrants, the chapter depicts a history of trade, mobility, and desire linking the former Soviet Union and Turkey. The chapter also analyzes politics of gender in a neoliberal Turkey defined by decades of secularism, a vibrant feminist movement, and a growing prevalence of Islamist ideals.

Keywords:   Turkey, former Soviet Union, telenovela, Süleyman the Magnificent, gender, desire, Russia, Islam, feminism, secularism

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