COMPARATIVE LITERATURE IN THE CONTEXT OF TRANSFORMATION OF PHILOLOGY

Abstract

Author(s): Cuneyt ARSLAN

Faced with the need to redefine the concepts of self and identity due to modernization trend in the 20th century, the modern subject has begun to transform all elements of the human space towards this new intellectual climate. The revolutionary turns of scientific and intellectual developments in various fields have radically altered the standpoints of philologies on the language of the research object. In this context there is a strong demand to come up with a new broader definition of the language as well as other concepts such as text and discourse which are being understood in the classical philologies not merely as means communication, expression or transmission. Philologies that study a certain (foreign) language and literature have been renewed both in terms of their method and form through the inclusion of the language-thought principle treated with an enlightened rational mentality as well as some modern elements (pluralism, relativity, subjectivity, etc.) and restructured cultural factor. In this study, we intend to examine how the modern paradigm of language-thought-culture affects foreign philologies from the last century to the present day and how comparative or intercultural literature emerged in this process from being just an approach and becoming an independent discipline interact with philologies worldwide and especially in our country. While using comparison and data collection methods to examine factual and historical developments this study shows that on the one hand the academic units in the West have made the necessary updates and definitions in this respect. On the other hand, the English philology departments in Turkey, especially in private and foundation universities have ensured this transformation in Turkey while the rest of the philologies do not rank in the forefront of comparative literature there. This research also discusses whether comparative literature should be evaluated as a science field or as a method of literary studies.

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