Sabri Ege profile

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Sabri Ege

University of Westminster (2023)


Professor Tarik Sabry


Mediating Nostalgia: The Transnational Reception of Ottoman-themed Turkish TV Dramas in Pakistan


The transnational circulation of ideas and meanings has been one of the most significant developments of the media landscape in the last two decades, due to the increasing speed and scale of media and communication technologies. The resulting ‘mediascapes’ (Appadurai, 1990) re/shape our fundamental categories – such as ‘community’, ‘identity’ and ‘belonging’. Amidst this, Turkish TV dramas have become immensely popular cultural products over the last two decades, with millions of viewers from all over the world engaging with them to negotiate their modern identities and subjectivities, and to imagine their past and present in multiple ways (Al-Ghazzi and Kraidy, 2013; Kraidy and Al-Ghazzi, 2013; Özalpman, 2017; Yanardağoğlu and Karam, 2013). This PhD research will aim to ethnographically explore how Pakistani audiences of Ottoman-themed TV dramas in the Walled City neighborhood of Lahore engage, negotiate and contest with media texts of an Ottoman past, creating memory and nostalgia.

The Pakistani audience represents a particularly striking case, as the popular Ottoman-themed TV dramas have become one of the most popular forms of media consumption. For instance, Resurrection: Ertugrul, was dubbed in Urdu and aired on the official YouTube channel of PTV, the state broadcaster of Pakistan (Farooqi, 2020). The drama reached over 100 million viewers and was Pakistan’s most searched term in the search list of Google 2020's film-TV category. It has reached such a degree of popularity that Turkish historical dramas have been built on in mainstream political narratives and as a part of collective identity production by Pakistani political actors (Khan, 2020). Considering the importance of the phenomenon, by focusing on the popular TV drama, Resurrection: Ertugrul, my study examines how and why the memory and nostalgia of the Ottoman past are re/produced by Pakistani audiences and how fictionalized history through popular TV drama impacts the popular imagination.