Sharing an Exotic Meal as a Trigger of Intercultural Dialogue. Guest post by Mine Krause.
Elif Shafak’s novel The Bastard of Istanbul (Turkish title: Baba ve Piç) tells the captivating story of a Turkish and an American-Armenian-Turkish patchwork family, both female dominated. Coming from very different cultural backgrounds, the characters’ mentalities often seem incompatible. The religious Banu lives under the same roof as her atheist sister Zeliha and their Kemalist mother Gülsüm… and yet they somehow get along and even love each other in this household full of contradictory world views. The serious issues dealt with in this novel are numerous: the role of collective amnesia and individual memory, patriarchy and women’s rights, incest, identity. Among these topics is also the relationship between food experiences and intercultural dialogue.
It might seem trivial but eating habits tell us a lot about other cultures and identities. After all, “we are what we eat,” as the slogan says. When it comes to the search for identity, the universal language of food can indeed play an essential part.
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Mine Krause graduated with a double Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Universities of Bayreuth (Germany) and Pau (France) in 2009. She has worked as an assistant in the Literature and Linguistics departments of Bayreuth, Ankara, and Granada.
Being of Turkish-German origin, she has meanwhile specialized on Turkish literature. Her first article in this field appeared in the Journal of Turkish Literature and dealt with the culinary language of Elif Shafak’s novel Baba ve Piç. At the 22nd METU British Novelists Conference on Zadie Smith’s work in Ankara, she presented a comparative approach on in-between-identities in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth and Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul. Her three articles “Tasting Interculturality: Culinary Visions of America in Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul” (delivered as keynote at an international symposium in Shanghai), “From Separating to Uniting Hyphen: Hyphenated Identities in Gish Jen’s and Elif Shafak’s Novels” and “Intercultural Concepts of Identity” (co-written with Shen Weiwei) were published in 2019 in the 8th volume of Literature and Interculturality (1): Concepts, Applications, Interactions.
Mine Krause’s article “Screaming Silence of Female Characters in Ayfer Tunç’s novel Dünya Ağrısı” on feminist issues was published in Monograf Journal 7. She writes book reviews and also regularly interviews Turkish writers, among them Sema Kaygusuz, Ece Temelkuran, Mehmet Eroğlu and Latife Tekin, for the Turkish literary magazine Artful Living. Her doctoral thesis on scandal and angst in the works of Albee, Pinter, Ionesco, and Genet was published by Peter Lang.
Forthcoming are publications on Elif Shafak’s novel Honour and an article on honor cultures and face cultures co-written with Dr. Yan Sun, as well as a book entitled Honor, Face and Crime, co-written with Prof. Dr. Michael Steppat and Dr. Yan Sun. Via her Turkish Literature Blog and Twitter, Mine Krause has direct contact to Turkish writers. Since 2013, she has been a member of a research cluster on Interculturality and Literature at the Universities of Bayreuth and Shanghai.