"Being a Foreigner": Foreign Folklorists in Turkish Folklore History


MILLI FOLKLOR, vol.12, no.99, pp.63-76, 2013 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 99
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.63-76
  • Keywords: Foreign folklorists, oral culture, nationalism, method problems, the history of Turkish Folklore
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: No


Folklore is a scientific branch that comes out from Europe. Basically the first term folklore studies in Turkey, i.e. recognition and acceptance of the discipline, benefitted from European experience and guidance. This situation can be clearly seen in the first articles related to folklore term. In this article, the role of the foreign folklorists in Turkish folklore, how they benefitted from "being a foreigner" and what they changed in Turkish folklore through their studies are discussed. Considering large numbers of foreign folklorists, who study on Turkish folklore, are preferred to handle in chronological order. Thus, the studies of the folklorists extending from Ignac Kunos who conduct field works in Anatolia in the era of Ottoman State to Bela Bartok, Wolfram Eberhard and Warren S. Walker are investigated. The preference of selecting foreign folklorists according to chronological order is due to understand the changes and transformations more clearly in Turkish folklore history. Primarily, foreign folklorists helped Turkish researchers to increase their interest towards oral culture, in other words, to explore Turkish folklore. "The method problem" arising with the recognition of folklore discipline solved through translations of foreign folklorists' studies and sharing their experiences. From this study it is found out that foreign folklorists, working in different universities in Turkey, carried out researches based on "raw data and analysis" through realizing field works on Turkish folklore and analysing these data based on the theory and tendency of the interested period. It is determined that, the perception of foreign folklorists as the mediators for introducing Turkish culture and folklore to foreign countries become more clear in the last terms of Turkish folklore history.