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American Developmental Thought in Turkey during the Cold War

Ottoman Studies Lecture Series

Thursday, February 23, 12:30 p.m.

The Hagop Kevorkian Center, 255 Sullivan Street

This talk proposes that we consider modernization theory as a transnational practice, one that was not simply developed by American intellectuals, but was instead produced through specific and often uncertain encounters across multiple sites of contestation. As one of the first beneficiaries of Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan funds, Turkey was an important venue in which postwar developmental thought and practice were tested and prefigured. American funds and expertise enabled agricultural mechanization, social scientific research, and the extension of roads and hotels across the country over the years. These material and social transformations captured the imagination of American social scientists, such as Dankwart Rustow and Daniel Lerner, as they grappled with problems of development.

Begüm Adalet is an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow at the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University. She holds a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a BA from Swarthmore College, all in Political Science. Dr. Adalet’s work has appeared in Comparative Studies in Society and History and the International Journal of Middle East Studies, among others. She is currently working on a book project titled Modernizing Measures: American Developmental Thought in Turkey during the Cold War.