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The National FrameArt and State Violence in Turkey and Germany$
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Banu Karaca

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780823290208

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823290208.001.0001

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The Politics of Art and Censorship

The Politics of Art and Censorship

(p.153) 5 The Politics of Art and Censorship
The National Frame

Banu Karaca

Fordham University Press

Chapter 5 traces how art deemed outside of the state’s civilizing discourse is met with censorship. It expands the definition of censorship beyond explicit bans and suppressions of artworks by the state, as such bans have become technically speaking difficult to enforce and somewhat unnecessary. Instead, it highlights processes of (partial) silencing, including incentives for self-censorship and delegitimization as well as modes of foreclosure that authoritatively frame the production and reception of art. At the center of the chapter are the attempts to censor the exhibitions Regarding Terror, thematizing media perceptions of the Red Army Faction (Berlin, 2005), and Freekick (Istanbul, 2005), mainly featuring works on the “Kurdish question” and other instances of state violence. Under the shadow of the “global war on terror” and each country’s historical challenges with “security politics,” critics of both exhibitions construed arts and politics as incommensurable. Outlining how freedom of expression is circumscribed by official memory regimes in Turkey and Germany, the chapter analyzes different modes of censorship and the variety of actors engaged in it. It highlights that silencing efforts use the argument of the autonomy of art not to shield art from political intervention but to suppress political expression through the arts.

Keywords:   art and politics, arts censorship, censorship, freedom of expression, “global war on terror”, “Kurdish question”, memory regimes, Red Army Faction (RAF), silencing, terrorism

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