Education About Asia: Online Archives

Internet Links to accompany the Teaching Resources Essay “Archive of Turkish Oral Narrative: An Introduction”

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Editor’s Note: See the print article in EAA vol. 18: 2 for more information about the archive and the links below.

1. “Alpamysh: Central Asian Identity under Russian Rule” http://tiny.cc/q7pc1w

In this extensive work written in 1989, HB Paksoy writes about Alpamysh, an ornate Turkish oral history (or dastan) set mostly in verse. Paksoy describes the importance of Alpamysh as a repository of Turkish history and culture and the struggle of Central Asians to preserve it in the wake of Soviet Russian occupation campaigns.

2. “The Stepdaughter and the Demons” http://tiny.cc/faqc1w

This short narrative shares several similarities with the story of Cinderella, though it is much darker in nature. A stepmother is very cruel to her stepdaughter. She has her husband remove her stepdaughter from their home and take her to an old wheat mill, where the stepdaughter is visited by three wealthy demons and the tale begins its twist.

3. “Benjamin Franklin and Nasreddin of Asia Minor” http://tiny.cc/ibqc1w

An excerpt from the book “The Bald Boy and The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” which draws a comparison between Benjamin Franklin and the thirteenth century Asia Minor figure Nasreddin. Both men are important figures to their respective cultures and teach future generations important morals and lessons through their stories.

4. “The Traditional Oglak Tartis among the Kirghiz of the Pamirs” http://tiny.cc/4dqc1w

The link describes a writer’s account of a Kirghiz wedding in 1984 and the “Oglak Tartis” game, also referred to as “Kok Boru,” played as part of the ceremony. Following Soviet occupation in 1979, the Kirghiz people of the Afghan Pamir fled to the Eastern part of Asia Minor under the auspices of the Turkish government. Readers will also learn of the importance of the wolf head symbol used as part of the game in Turkish culture.

5. “Happy Meleagris Gallopavo Day” http://tiny.cc/ucqc1w

A brief history about the bird “Meleagris Gallapavo” or as it is commonly known, the Turkey. Readers will learn about the origins of the bird, how it was introduced across continents, and how its name relates to the country of Turkey.

6. “Views of the ‘outlaw concept’ in comparative perspective: ‘The American West’ and the ‘Zeybeks in the Turk lands’” http://tiny.cc/bfqc1w

A 2003 presentation on outlaw culture and why it exists, including accounts of famous outlaws in history such as Cakircali Mehmet Efe of Western Asia Minor. There are similar conditions in the American West as there were in Western Turk lands such as government corruption, class imbalance, ineffective law enforcement, and the existence of an adventurer class of people.

7. “Turkish Shadow Puppet Theater: A Window on Turkey” http://tiny.cc/jtuf2w

A class resource designed to teach about Turkish shadow puppet theater and how to create your own shadow puppets. Karagoz and Hacivat are the two lead characters of the traditional Turkish shadow play, which shares similarities to European “Punch and Judy” in which the two characters’ interaction drives the plot.

8. “Two Altaic Games: ‘Chelik-Chomak’ and ‘Jirid Oyunu’” http://tiny.cc/7fqc1w

Detailed description of the games “Chelik-Chomak” and “Jirid Oyunu” including the equipments, rules, and procedures of both; as well as some historical background.

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