America, Turkey, and the Middle East

Episode 386

Download the podcast
Feed | iTunes | GooglePlay | SoundCloud

Turkey is a country that most Americans know little about, and yet the United States has played an extraordinary role in the making of modern Turkey. In this podcast, we explore this disparity of awareness and the role of the US in the history of the Middle East through the lens of an American journalist's slow realization of her own subjectivity and the myriad ways in which the US and Turkey have been intertwined. In this conversation with Suzy Hansen about her award-winning book "Notes on a Foreign Country," we critically examine the formation of journalistic and scholarly expertise, and we discuss reactions of readers and reviewers to Hansen's work.

Stream via SoundCloud 

Contributor Bios

Suzy Hansen’s first book Notes on a Foreign Country was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. She lives in Istanbul.
Chris Gratien is Assistant Professor of History at University of Virginia, where he teaches classes on global environmental history and the Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region of the former Ottoman Empire from the 1850s until the 1950s.


Episode No. 386
Release Date: 15 October 2018
Recording Location: Cihangir, Istanbul
Audio editing by Chris Gratien
Music: Intro by Zé Trigueiros
Special thanks to our friends at Muhtelif
Bibliography courtesy of Suzy Hansen


Photo credit: Gabby Laurent

Select Bibliography

James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

Eric Bennett, Workshops of Empire: Stegner, Engle, and American Creative Writing During the Cold War

Abdelrahman Munif, Cities of Salt

Neni Panourgia, Dangerous Citizens: The Greek Left and the Terror of the State

Hemant Shah, The Politics of Modernization: Daniel Lerner, Mass Media, and the Passing of Traditional Society

Kamila Shamsie, “The Storytellers of Empire,” Guernica

Magdalena Zaborowska, James Baldwin’s Turkish Decade


Ottoman History Podcast is a noncommerical website intended for educational use. Anyone is welcome to use and reproduce our content with proper attribution under the terms of noncommercial fair use within the classroom setting or on other educational websites. All third-party content is used either with express permission or under the terms of fair use. Our page and podcasts contain no advertising and our website receives no revenue. All donations received are used solely for the purposes of covering our expenses. Unauthorized commercial use of our material is strictly prohibited, as it violates not only our noncommercial commitment but also the rights of third-party content owners.

We make efforts to completely cite all secondary sources employed in the making of our episodes and properly attribute third-party content such as images from the web. If you feel that your material has been improperly used or incorrectly attributed on our site, please do not hesitate to contact us.