- The Society for Near Eastern Studies in Japan
- オリエント (ISSN:00305219)
- vol.50, no.1, pp.128-155, 2007
Circassian place-names in the district of Uzunyayla (Kayseri, Turkey) are to be analysed in terms of an anthropological approach to landscape. Circassians were forced to migrate to Anatolia by Russia's military conquest of the North Caucasus in the mid-19<sup>th</sup> century. Uzunyayla, with 73 Circassian villages, is one of the principal locations where these refugees' eventually settled down and strove to reconstruct their homeland.<br>A landscape emerges at points where geography and human intentions meet. Place-names are the medium by which people inscribe history on natural environments and read history from them. S. Küchler (1993)'s "landscape <i>of</i> memory" is a landscape composed of a number of landmarks that record human actions. At the same time, she proposes to work on "landscape <i>as</i> memory", i. e. a process by which history is re-negotiated on each occasion that events associated with these landmarks are recalled.<br>In Uzunyayla, a "landscape <i>of</i> memory" can be observed in the use of Circassian place-names that make a connection between the Circassians' homeland and their new "home". Most Circassian villages are named after families known as "lords". This practice tells a story that Circassians followed powerful leaders who struggled against each other. Such a landscape is part of Circassians' efforts to maintain an ethnic identity and territory in the face of the state's nationalist policy.<br>The fact that the great majority of these village names are contested means that the process of making a "home" is yet to be completed. Villages are given different names in a competition for prestige, and different village names are often supported by different types of resources. The history of the Circassians' settling in Uzunyayla is constantly re-shaped as different village names accompanying different foundation stories are set off one against another. In this "landscape <i>as</i> memory", the production of history is open to dialogue.