Bilge Karasu's animals : ethical and political encounters

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Bilkent University
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In his fiction and intellectual works Bilge Karasu (1930-1995) emphatically addresses the ethical and political problems that Critical Animal Studies have recently focused on in terms of human-animal relationships. In these works, the subject of animals is not a simple theme but rather a construction to investigate non-dominating meeting points between "the same" and "other". This thesis investigates how human "coexistence" with animals is conceived in Bilge Karasu's oeuvre. For this purpose I focus on the representation of animals in a selection of Bilge Karasu’s fictions, including Göçmüş Kediler Bahçesi, Kılavuz, Kısmet Büfesi, Narla İncire Gazel, Ne Kitapsız Ne Kedisiz. In analyzing the texts, Jacques Derrida's "animal question", which presented a new approach to Critical Animal Studies, was taken into account. The focus of this approach is the ethical and political problems brought about by "language" in human-animal relations. "Language", the focal point of human-animal separation, leads to the two main problems in human-animal relationships that complement each other. One cannot imagine animals in and of themselves because of the reductive nature of "language". Thus, the hurdle of “language” throws animals out of life and opens up endless ways of exploiting them. The questions this thesis focuses on in reading Bilge Karasu are as follows: Which ontological similarities and differences are emphasized between humans and animals in the texts? What effect does this predicted design have on the Karasu’s ethical vision? Which narrative strategies are followed as the result of this design? In brief, the conclusion reached at the end of this work is that the works of Bilge Karasu, a non-human-centered fictional world related to human-animal relations is established. In this world, man desires not to be set in contrast with animals but to lead a "side-by-side existence". The relations between human beings and animals are strikingly emphasized not through language but through face-to-face experience. Furthermore, in these texts, tools of literary representation such as symbols and metaphors that describe the encounters between the reader and animals have been transformed through postmodern narrative techniques.

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Bilge Karasu, Ethics, Human-Animal Distinction, Jacques Derrida, Ontology, Politics
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