Announcing the 2017-2018 Badzin Fellow

August 8, 2017

CHGS is pleased to welcome Moritz Meutzner as the 2017-2018 Badzin Fellow.  Meutzner is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch.  He will be spending the year furthering his research.  

Meutzner's dissertation project examines the history of German-Jewish exile in Turkey during the 1930s and 1940s, focusing on the case of the literary scholar Erich Auerbach (1892 –1957) and his involvement in the circle of German-Jewish and Turkish scholars in Istanbul. The German-Jewish philologist Erich Auerbach fled from Nazi Germany to Istanbul in 1936, where he worked as a professor at Istanbul University and wrote his opus magnum Mimesis–Dargestellte Wirklichkeit in der abendländischen Literatur (1946) during the years of WWII, before he moved to the U.S. in 1947. Intervening in a discourse on Auerbach that emphasizes the place of exile within his renowned work, Meutzner's project stresses the radical encounter of the “Jewish” and the “non-Jewish” in Istanbul during the 1930s and 1940s and explores the implications of this encounter for the study of Holocaust memory today. While Auerbach’s Mimesis is generally regarded as capturing the dynamics of Western culture at the very moment of its destruction in Europe, and thus became a “site” of Holocaust memory itself, Meutzner's project turns towards a multidirectional understanding of Holocaust history and examines the cultural and institutional transfer between the German-Jewish émigré circle around Auerbach and the network of Turkish and international scholars. Using the case of Erich Auerbach as a lens for a broader investigation of intellectual production and exchange in Istanbul, Meutzner turns to models of German-Jewish transnational history in order to examine this exchange as a reciprocal process beyond static notions of exile and ask how this perspective can contribute to further understandings of the complex conflation of Holocaust and (post)colonial memory, as it is discussed since the transcultural turn in memory studies.