Hotels and Highways
The Construction of Modernization Theory in Cold War Turkey
Begüm Adalet



In June 1955, Conrad Hilton delivered a speech marking the grand opening of the Hilton Hotel in Istanbul. His remarks situated the new building—its construction, location, and architectural form—within a broader narrative of Turkey’s political trajectory and its contemporary geopolitical importance. The mogul drew a line of continuity between the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, and he praised their shared, “deep and very sound mistrust” of Russia, the “great northern neighbor,” just as company publications hyperbolically advertised the Istanbul Hilton as located “ten miles from the Iron Curtain.”1 The hotel, as Hilton and company envisioned it, was to be a strategic deployment in a broader ideological conflict with the Soviet Union, a conflict that was nonetheless fought out in material terms.

Speaking to the Rotary Club of Los Angeles the following year, Hilton explained that he saw his franchises as an effort to match the “Communist sprawl” at its own game, albeit in a “friendly, industrial way.”2 Proximity to the Iron Curtain motivated the chain’s outreach to Istanbul, Baghdad, and Berlin, while Cairo held “the key to Africa and the Middle East,” Japan to Asia, and India to the “great ‘neutral’ bloc.” West Berlin and Spain, meanwhile, were helping to “close the pincers over Europe.” Each hotel in his international chain, Hilton insisted, was to be a “first-hand laboratory” where local and foreign tourists “may inspect America and its ways at their leisure,” a site where the attitudes and psyches of locals deciding between conflicting visions of modernity could be directly manipulated and where new worldviews could be cultivated by the architects and entrepreneurs drafted into the service of American capitalist modernity.3

The early phases of the Cold War presented seemingly boundless opportunities for American entrepreneurs, experts, and policy makers to construct laboratories of the type envisioned by Hilton. It was in the global periphery, particularly on the terrain of developmental thought and practice, that some of the most important battles of the Cold War were fought.4 A seminal weapon in the American intellectual arsenal was modernization theory, which prevailed in both academic and policy circles and upheld a singular, evolutionary path towards development. Scholars and experts modeled the trajectory towards modernization after the American vision of economic growth, and they presumed that it would entail such turning points as urbanization, the rise of mass media, and increasing rates of literacy. But while they assumed that development along the lines of this model was inevitable, they paradoxically believed that this model was also one that had to be induced. Between Truman’s interpellation of “underdeveloped areas” in his 1949 speech announcing the Point Four program and Kennedy’s declaration of the 1960s as the “Development Decade,” foundations, private corporations, and foreign aid and technical assistance programs collaborated to showcase the boons of American modernization across the newly minted Third World.5 Their projects were to aid the containment of the Soviet Union and provide the formula for winning hearts and minds on the global periphery.

The Hilton enterprise envisioned Turkey on the front lines of the Cold War, evident in the country’s belonging to NATO, fighting in the Korean War, and hosting of American military bases and nuclear missiles along its northern and southern coasts. The Turkish government, in turn, participated fully in giving itself a vital location in this military and geopolitical cartography, frequently citing Soviet demands for free access to the Bosphorus in its requests for American economic, technical, and military assistance. The United States readily obliged over the years, as Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan funds enabled agricultural mechanization and the extension of a highway network across Turkey.6 These programs also jump-started the country’s tourism industry, providing, among other things, the funding for Hilton’s hotel and its showcase of capitalist enterprise. These tangible transformations in Turkey’s material and social landscape, along with the country’s program of economic and political liberalization between 1945 and 1960, captured the imagination of social scientists, such as Daniel Lerner and Dankwart Rustow, as they grappled with problems of modernization, inspiring a vision of Turkey as a model to be emulated, a case to be explained, and a laboratory in which to experiment.7

Hotels and Highways examines how Turkey served as both the template on which modernization theory was based and the object on which it was enacted. As an early participant in the American aid regime, Turkey was an important site that enabled the simultaneous construction and validation of postwar developmental thought and practice. It was a venue for fact-gathering, theory development, and experimentation but one that could also paradoxically serve as a ready-made model for the world, especially for its neighbors across the Middle East. The tensions and contradictions between these roles were manifested in the contentious and uncertain interactions between American and local actors and practices, even as they were glossed over by modernization theory’s triumphant certainties. These encounters lay bare the political implications of developmental laboratories, which were material and tangible sites that also served rhetorical and social functions, sanctioning certain ideas and practices of modernization and expertise while disavowing others.

Recent intellectual histories have astutely underscored the central role that social scientific knowledge played in the ideological battles of the Cold War.8 Even sophisticated works that examine local instantiations of modernization theory, however, reduce it to an intangible discourse or “narrative strategy,” depicting it as a lens that guides or frames developmental projects.9 In many of these accounts, academics convene at Social Science Research Council conferences in Dobbs Ferry, at the MIT Center for International Studies in Cambridge, or at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica. Their theories are then passed on to officials in Washington, shipped abroad, and tested and implemented on the ground. If defects are found in overseas projects, scholars and experts reassemble to appraise their theoretical model, smooth out its edges, and perfect the prototype. Ironically, such narratives can reproduce the core assumption of the modernization theorists themselves, reinstating the West as the center of knowledge production.

Rather than emanating from the West and migrating to their venues of application, social scientific theories are themselves produced in particular but often uncertain encounters between actors engaged in transnational intellectual and policy networks. Put differently, theories do not hover above and independent from their destinations but rather are manufactured in material spaces where they can be worked out, refined, and given more definite form. Products of knowledge do not emerge out of secluded, disembodied scholarly practice; they are more akin to artifacts, whose fabrication requires the active construction of political alliances and material networks that they can inhabit and traverse. In these settings, the otherwise “abundant, complex, and heterogeneous” elements of the world are translated into “simpler objects that [researchers] can manipulate at leisure.”10 Researchers grow in size and strength relative to their objects of study, which are scaled down and simplified. But through the very acts of manipulation, simplification, and material fabrication, knowledge practices generate new realities and subjectivities on the ground, foreclosing some political possibilities while opening up novel sites of struggle.

The manufacturing of modernization theory rested on the construction and manipulation of architectural and infrastructural spaces. Experts built laboratories where they could scale down problems of geopolitics and development to a manageable size and where they could test and cultivate modern subjectivities. They identified the capacity for empathy, mobility, and hospitality as the primary indices of development, and they constructed microcosms where these attitudes could be measured but also incubated. In Turkey, the corresponding sites of theory construction included survey research, highways, and tourism landmarks such as the Istanbul Hilton Hotel, each of which is the subject of a chapter of this book. The survey interview was not only a method to measure modernization but also a site for its enactment; roads were not simply means to integrate the national economy but venues where subjects could develop “modern” relationships to machinery, time, and mobility; and hotels would not simply consolidate the tourism industry but refine the desired traits of impersonal and anonymous hospitality. Although these microcosms were intended to help the United States prevail in a Cold War fought over alternative models of development and expertise, they were offset by the resilience of recipient subjects as well as anxieties and hesitations on the part of practitioners. The confident modernity that Hilton and others hoped to project across the Third World concealed a persistent uncertainty, a nagging doubt, sometimes more explicit, sometimes less, that the project of shrinking the world to the manageable scale necessary for it to be successfully manipulated was a hopeless task.

The Turkish Model of Modernization

Hilton publications imagined Istanbul within striking distance of the Iron Curtain and spoke with authority about the politics, history, and aspirations of Turkey, noting that it “formerly was the focal point of all the Middle East” and was now becoming “definitely a European country, . . . making great strides in developing its economy and social structure close to Western thinking.”11 The postwar consolidation of American hegemony rested on the active construction of a geography of development, and especially of an “underdeveloped world,” as regions and countries were assigned specific roles and levels of achievement in the global political economy. In this mapping, Turkey was given—and Turkish officials and policy makers actively sought out—an important role. As a country consciously opting for a pro-Western orientation, as evidenced through its membership in the International Monetary Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the precursor to the World Bank), and regional defense agreements, such as the Baghdad Pact, Turkey presented a special opportunity for its Western allies and an ostensible prototype for its Middle Eastern neighbors alike.12

This was an opportunity that both Turkish and American policy makers sought to seize. In 1948, Turkey was included in the Marshall Plan, despite the fact that the country had entered World War II at the last possible moment, after having earlier signed a nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany and having refused British entreaties to join the Allies. European Recovery Program funds brought agricultural machinery and extended a highway network across the country; these projects were included within the Marshall Plan’s program of Americanizing the organization of production and consumption patterns across Western Europe.13 The Plan, as many historians have argued, was not simply an extension of American aid to devastated European countries but also a deliberate program of forestalling and defusing calls for a more assertive redistribution of wealth that might include social guarantees for national health care, full employment, universal education, and subsidized housing.14 American policy makers discouraged projects that might be seen as moving too far from market-oriented development, while they promoted an economic reconstruction program that produced “not the high standard of living in itself, but rather the technologies, procedures, and information about how to achieve ‘a little bit more well-being.’15

In Turkey, the Marshall Plan–funded highway network largely superseded a proposed land reform bill of 1945, intended to eliminate landlessness among the peasantry by redistributing the properties of absentee landlords to the tenants and sharecroppers who worked on them.16 Rather than implement land reform, as had been done in Japan, postwar American assistance allocated agricultural machinery and built highways, which ultimately benefited large landowners. The transfer of highway equipment and expertise also prefigured Truman’s 1949 Point Four Program and its goal to “help the free peoples of the world, through their own efforts, to produce more food, more clothing, more materials for housing, and more mechanical power to lighten their burdens.”17 Programs like the highway initiative helped crystallize the postwar role of development in the relationship between the United States and the global periphery. Technical knowhow would henceforth manage the “difference between extraordinary levels of affluence for some and modest levels of living for the majority of the world, rather than [offering] the effective means of addressing those differences.”18 In the words of Paul Hoffman, who oversaw the Marshall Plan between his term as the president of the Studebaker Company and the first administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, European recovery had provided a training ground for American policy makers, who “developed the essential instruments of a successful policy in the arena of world politics.”19

Turkey’s role in the creation of this postwar world order went beyond its role as an early laboratory of development. It proved to be a staunch ally of the Western bloc over the years, joining the British embargo of nationalized Iranian oil in 1952; voting against Algerian demands in the United Nations in 1954; supporting Britain, France, and Israel during the Suez Crisis in 1956; nearly declaring war on Syria in 1957; and allowing the United States to use its bases during the intervention in Lebanon in 1958.20 Outside of the Middle East, Turkey’s alignment with the Western bloc included its defense of European and American interests at the Asian-African Conference in Bandung in 1955; its participation, at the behest of the United States, was grudging at best, not least because North American observers repeatedly referred to it as a “meeting of the colored races,” a status from which Turkish statesmen believed they were exempt.21 For Western policy makers, Turkey could be deployed as a disciplinary force at the margins of the metropole. For academics and experts, it could also be evoked as a model to be emulated across the same margins.

Turkey’s status as a prototypical case in the postwar social scientific imaginary was in part a legacy of the Ottoman and Kemalist reforms that characterized its landscape. During the Tanzimat period (1839–76), the struggling empire undertook centralization, bureaucratization, and the establishment of new schools, while the reign of Abdulhamid II (1876–1909) saw an attempt to embark on a modernization project that was explicitly modeled after Germany. After the establishment of the Republic in 1923, subsequent Turkish state-building projects mirrored these earlier attempts, now identifying modernization with Enlightenment-style secularism and the imposition of political and social reform in a top-down fashion. The bureaucratic elite, led by Kemal Ataturk, the self-appointed father of all Turks, implemented changes in the script, scales, calendar, and education system, breaking with Islamic code in favor of the Swiss-inspired Civil Code of 1926. Over the subsequent decades, the principle of secularism would be enforced by the state, proliferated by “Kemalist” devotees, and protected under the aegis of the army in its self-designated role as the sentinel of laïcité.

The configuration of Turkey as a model for modernization theory drew on these legacies. But it crystallized in 1950 with the implementation of the country’s first multiparty elections, leading to a decade of government by the Democrat Party (DP) under Adnan Menderes between 1950 and 1960. Ataturk’s Republican People’s Party, now led by Ismet Inönü, waited its turn in opposition. The DP, backed by small merchants, urban petty bourgeoisie, and commercial farmers, had a populist appeal from its conception in 1946, exemplified in its support for the expansion of religious liberties, private enterprise, and foreign investment.22 During his government, Menderes was in basic agreement with the recommendations of American advisors, who denounced railway-led industrialization projects and encouraged agricultural mechanization and the extension of a highway network.23

Seemingly a success story of simultaneous economic and political liberalization, Turkey thus surfaced at once as a “model ally” and the archetype of modernization theory for Cold Warriors in the United States. Still, its labeling as a model for its Middle Eastern neighbors was hardly an innocent discovery. It was just as much an effort to discredit the ways in which these neighbors had already embarked on their own political and economic trajectories, drawing on a plethora of alternative modernizing ideologies that were available across the region, such as pan-Arabism, political Islam, and socialism, among others.24 American scholars, policy makers, and pundits rediscovered Turkey as a putative regional template in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings of 2011; in doing so, they effaced the history and political effects of previous American theories and projects. The Turkish model was equally attractive for those who prescribed “moderation” for Islamist parties and those who sought the continuation of neoliberal policies in post-Mubarak Egypt.25 The enthusiasts of the template were silent about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s escalating persecution of leftist, primarily Kurdish activists, journalists, and students during the same period and about the highly unequal effects of his neoliberalization program, which resulted in high rates of unemployment and workplace deaths.26 The government’s heavy-handed response to the 2013 Gezi Park protests and the 2016 military coup attempt have once again led political scientists to use the country as a test case for their theories of “competitive authoritarianism,” but neither these reversals nor these erasures are new to the discipline’s record of engagement with Turkey.27

When Cold War modernization theorists and policy makers praised Turkey’s seeming pliability as an ally, they treated its postwar transition to multiparty politics as consistent with earlier reform projects. In doing so, they knowingly concealed its undemocratic manifestations.28 Among the forgotten facts of Turkey’s political history was its ambivalent status during the interwar period and many of its elites’ sympathies for Nazi Germany.29 Also unmentioned were the ferocious nationalism of the “reformist” state, which deemed indispensable the creation of a unified and homogeneous Turkish, Muslim, yet laic bourgeoisie. The measures taken in this direction were the expulsion of Greek communities and the massacre of Armenians and Alevi Kurds in the early twentieth century as well as the establishment of Varlık Vergisi, a capital tax targeting non-Muslims between November 1942 and March 1944, and the government-sanctioned anti-Greek pogroms of 1955.30 Social scientists’ subsequent condoning of the 1960 military coup, which led to the overthrow and hanging of Menderes and three cabinet members, was also consistent with the contradictions and amnesias of Cold War modernization.31 The persistent erasure of such episodes from narratives of the “successful” Turkish model is a testament to the simultaneously material and ideological work undertaken by modernization theory.

Modernization Theory in Action

Following the recent applications of science and technology studies to the social sciences, we can trace the demanding work that is entailed in the crafting of knowledge claims and their material effects.32 Social scientific theories and attendant methodologies not only measure, encode, or describe but also engender the phenomena they seek to explain, such as the economy, objectivity, probability, public opinion, madness, or the “modern fact.”33 Modernizers brought with them a positivist orientation towards the construction of knowledge: they assumed that the world existed out there, independent of themselves, as a collection of facts to be apprehended and investigated.34 Knowing this world rendered it controllable—an urgency which ran counter to their insistence on objectivity but a sign that they remained “within the basic trope of modernity.”35 They described the changes they observed as modernization, and by labeling it as such, they contributed to the transformation of their objects of inquiry.

In acting upon and bringing order to the material and social landscape, the modernizers collected and calculated information that otherwise existed separately. The construction of developmental thought was predicated on the mobilization of an array of material equipment, such as Voice of America–funded questionnaires, Ford Foundation–funded maps, and meticulously kept reports about Marshall Plan allocations—“technologies of distance” that tallied, arranged, and organized that which they claimed to merely represent.36 Such documents facilitated attempts to gather information about the locals and to render that data mobile, stable, and combinable in the name of universal knowledge.37 They delineated particular places, practices, and individuals as modern while labeling others as backward and provincial. Survey respondents who were too timid to articulate their opinions were coded as traditional subjects. Delays in reports to Marshall Plan headquarters marked the local experts as indolent at the same time that their zest for large-scale developmental projects was seen as a testament to their impatience; such outlooks proved too slow and too hasty, alternately, for the temporal and behavioral comportments associated with modernization. Just as experts’ maps assigned regions of the country to designated grades within a developmental scheme, local interlocutors were ascribed a location in a developmental hierarchy premised on the achievement of modern subjectivity.

The set of claims rallied by modernization theorists not only pertained to the developmental trajectory of Turkey but also generated a series of assumptions about modern psyches and postures. The different laboratory experiments were intended to occasion the enactment of modern subjectivities, on either side of the Atlantic, including those who conducted social scientific surveys and those who responded to them, those who were responsible for the allocation of road-building machinery and those who were to learn the maintenance of the machines, and those who designed the hotels and those who were to inhabit them within conventions of hospitality. Recipients of roads, hotels, and surveys were to cultivate mobility in physical and imaginary terms: if they could not literally undertake travel, they should be able to psychically accommodate the vision of self-chosen, voluntary movement. The modern self was expected to travel, imagine, and imagine travel. Modern subjects were also to know how to travel well, to wait in line for public transportation, and to lodge in aesthetically appealing, hygienic, and comfortable facilities. Ease of travel would occasion the emergence of new conceptions of time measurement and encourage territorial unification, an important concern to local politicians grappling with the assimilation of Kurdish populations. But given the unequal distribution of machines and roads and their use in managing the movement of unruly subjects, their ostensibly universalizing modernity in fact operated through class differentiations and ethnic hierarchies.

If the American model of development was to appear universally attainable, experts had to create the conditions for its replication across the world. Modernization theory was packaged as abstract and singular, as though it could be unmoored from the local networks, material arrangements, and political histories that enabled its production and dissemination. This erasure of the materiality of knowledge production should be thought of as an “accomplishment”; in John Law’s terms, it was one that secured the coherence of concepts such as modernization into given items.38 But we can try to dislodge the certitude of that accomplishment by unraveling the image of a “Great Divide between the universal knowledge of the Westerners and the local knowledge of everyone else,” by weaving back together the strands that have heretofore separated.39

Local Passage Points

The diverse array of travelers embroiled in the weaving of modernization theory included survey researchers, diplomats, businessmen, engineers, and architects—all itinerants within transnational circuits of intellectual and imperial production. Although these figures seemingly agreed on the premises of their theories and projects, they furtively contested their specificities. Their travels testify to the porosity of the boundaries between the foreign and the domestic, a recurring revelation found in transnational histories of US–Middle East relations.40 Recent histories of international development have also looked “beyond the metropolitan centers of the West” in order to show how projects on the ground “shape the ideas from which they emerged.”41 David Engerman, Nathan Citino, Nicole Sackley, and others have recovered the ways in which local practices and regional ideologies have been constitutive of development.42 I engage with this work to show that the making of modernization theory was by no means a unidirectional process, precisely because of a material necessity to enroll and translate the interests of Turkish scholars and policy makers.43 Intermediary figures positioned themselves as “obligatory passage points” through which flows of information and knowledge traversed the Atlantic.44 The characters whose itineraries are traced in the following chapters were such passage points; they include social scientists Dankwart Rustow, Kemal Karpat, Nermin Abadan, and Frederick Frey as well as technical experts such as Vecdi Diker, Harold Hilts, Gordon Bunshaft, and Sedad Hakkı Eldem. They all had to be rallied in order for modernization theory to gain traction.

The otherwise obscure role of such intermediary figures can be illustrated with the example of Mahmut Makal, who was a rural schoolteacher educated in the Kemalist Village Institutes. The Institutes were founded in 1940 with the aim to modernize the peasantry and to propagate Kemalism across rural areas.45 Makal’s account of his experiences across Anatolia, ranging from social norms and food shortages to timekeeping practices he observed, captured the imagination of American and European social scientists, who nonetheless counseled caution to his Western audiences. They drew on Makal’s writings to distill the elements of earlier, especially Kemalist projects of modernization, and they expurgated parts that were not to their liking. In his preface to the annotated English edition, historian Lewis Thomas suggested that Makal’s “rationalist and liberal assumptions will make it all too easy for European readers to fall with him into the fallacy that we must set to work to shed light in this darkness, to fill the vacuum of ignorance with the blessings of modern knowledge.”46 Thomas’s wary position was in line with the editorial interjections offered by anthropologist Paul Stirling. Where Makal proclaimed that “a woman’s voice is taboo” in villages, Stirling interposed in a footnote that “as often, the author exaggerates.” In response to Makal’s observation that “there is no aspect of village life so confused as that of marriage,” Stirling reprimanded: “The confusion exists largely in the author’s mind, and results from applying a Western ideal of marriage, itself altered by his own deeper attitudes.”47

Portions of Makal’s text that detracted from the vision of the Turkish model of modernization were excised, written away as the aspirations of an individual who benefited from “modern education” and reacted to his own village as a “citizen of twentieth-century Western civilization.”48 Makal thus confirmed the self-fashioning of western scholars as sympathetic observers, more willing to “understand” their objects of inquiry. The assignation of biased, convoluted thinking to this particular mediator enabled the modernizers’ own claim to objectivity. Makal figured prominently in debates about new directions not only in the Turkish social sciences but also in the work of American scholars of Turkey and modernization, such as Walter Weiker, Frank Tachau, Richard Robinson, and Herbert Hyman.49 Sociologist Daniel Lerner used the popularity of Makal’s book as both fodder and material proof for his own categories of tradition and modernization: “That there now exists in Turkey a market of over 50,000 people able to buy the book . . . is a datum which suggests that economic participation via cash, and psychocultural participation via literacy, have grown together in significant measure.”50 The fact that his later text—The Fable of Development, which chastised the shortcomings of the Turkish government’s developmental projects—remains untranslated is indicative of the simultaneous enrollment and erasure of obligatory passage points.51

Local interlocutors—docile collaborators, silent skeptics, and unruly resistors alike—were active, if fickle, participants in the crafting of modernization theory. Their involvement and resistance were necessarily curtailed by an imbalanced political context marked by US aid and geopolitical ascendance. But as we will see in chapters 1 and 2, members of the political science faculty at Ankara University were not the subservient recipients of recent developments in American social science: they adapted its categories and methodologies, and they remade their premises. The engineers and architects who are the subjects of chapters 3 through 5 were the target of modernizing schemes in methods of record keeping, roadbuilding, and time management. Yet vernacular practices of expertise and competing visions of development persisted, leading to moments of “disconnect and mistranslation” that were constitutive of modernization across its sites of articulation and instantiation.52 Finally, the recipients of academic and infrastructural projects, such as survey respondents, university students, and rural populations, remained recalcitrant, attesting to the resignification and redeployment of modernization’s temporalities and associated spatial practices. Theories of modernization and attendant developmental projects were not only selectively appropriated and indigenized but produced in the very details of encounters and ultimately used in unforeseen and at times contradictory ways.


1. Conrad Hilton, “The City of the Golden Horn,” June 1955, box 16, folder: Turkey-Istanbul, Records of the Hilton Hotels International, Hospitality Industry Archives, Massad Family Library Research Center, University of Houston, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management (hereafter cited as HHI); “Expansion in Turkey,” Hilton Items 15, no. 8 (January 1952): 5. See also Annabel Wharton, Building the Cold War: Hilton International Hotels and Modern Architecture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001).

2. Conrad Hilton, “Towards a Foreign Policy for Hotels” (speech, Los Angeles Rotary Club, July 27, 1956), box 6, HHI.

3. Hilton, “City of the Golden Horn,” June 1955, box 16, folder: Turkey-Istanbul, HHI.

4. Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

5. On the making of the Third World, see Vijay Prashad, The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (New York: New Press, 2007). For an earlier periodization, see L. S. Stravrianos, Global Rift: The Third World Comes of Age (New York: William Morrow, 1981).

6. Between 1948 and 1952, Turkey received $100 million from Truman Doctrine funds, $349 million from Marshall Plan funds, and an estimated $587 million in military aid (some of which was used for highway construction).

7. Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society: Modernizing the Middle East (Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1958); Robert Ward and Dankwart Rustow, eds., Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1964).

8. Nils Gilman, Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003); Michael Latham, Modernization as Ideology: American Social Science and “Nation Building” in the Kennedy Era (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000); S. M. Amadae, Rationalizing Capitalist Democracy: The Cold War Origins of Rational Choice Liberalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003); David Milne, America’s Rasputin: Walt Rostow and the Vietnam War (New York: Hill and Wang, 2008); David Ekbladh, The Great American Mission: Modernization and the Construction of an American World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010); Hemant Shah, The Production of Modernization: Daniel Lerner, Mass Media, and the Passing of Traditional Society (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011).

9. Nick Cullather, The Hungry World: America’s Cold War Battle Against Poverty in Asia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010), p. 183.

10. Michel Callon, Pierre Lascoumes, and Yannick Barthe, Acting in an Uncertain World: An Essay on Technical Democracy, trans. Graham Burchell (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009), pp. 58–59. For this account, I also draw on Bruno Latour, The Pasteurization of France (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988); and Timothy Mitchell, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil (New York: Verso, 2013).

11. “Expansion in Turkey,” Hilton Items 15, no. 8 (January 1952): 5.

12. Turkey joined the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 1947, and signed the Baghdad Pact with Iraq in 1955. Following the coup in 1958, Iraq left the Pact, which became the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) with the inclusion of Pakistan, Iran, and Britain. The United States was not an official member but encouraged the organization’s role in protecting the “Northern Tier.”

13. William Hitchcock, “The Marshall Plan and the Creation of the West,” in Cambridge History of the Cold War, eds. Melvyn Leffler and Odd Arne Westad (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

14. Bradford De Long and Barry Eichengreen argue that Marshall Plan “conditionality” pushed European political economy “in a direction that left its post–World War II ‘mixed economies’ with more ‘market’ and less ‘controls’ in the mix” and can thus be seen as a successful structural adjustment program. “The Marshall Plan: History’s Most Successful Structural Adjustment Program” (working paper no. 3899, National Bureau of Economic Research, 1991).

15. Victoria de Grazia, Irresistible Empire: America’s Advance Through Twentieth-Century Europe (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), p. 349.

16. Keyder and Pamuk have pointed out that between 1947 and 1972, about 8 percent of cultivated land was redistributed, with only two-thousandths of this having been private land. Çağlar Keyder and Şevket Pamuk, “1945 Çiftçiyi Topraklandırma Kanunu Üzerine Tezler” [Theses on the 1945 law for providing land to farmers], Yapıt (Ocak 1984): 52–64. All translations from Turkish are mine, unless otherwise noted.

17. Harry S. Truman, “Inaugural Speech,” January 20, 1949,

18. Mitchell, Carbon Democracy, p. 121.

19. Cited in Westad, Global Cold War, p. 25. On Hoffman’s role as president of the Ford Foundation in the 1950s and his approach to philanthropy as an “imaginative weapon in the Cold War,” see Zachary Lockman, Field Notes: The Making of Middle East Studies in the United States (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2016), p. 114.

20. Baskın Oran, ed., Türk Dış Politikası: Kurtuluş Savaşından Bugüne Olgular, Belgeler, Yorumlar, Cilt 1: 1919–1980 [Turkish foreign policy: Events, documents, interpretations from the War of Independence to today] (Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2001), pp. 495–96.

21. Robert Vitalis, “The Midnight Ride of Kwame Nkrumah and Other Fables of Bandung (Ban-doong),” Humanity 4, no. 2 (2013).

22. Reşat Kasaba, “Populism and Democracy in Turkey, 1946–1961,” in Rules and Rights in the Middle East: Democracy, Law, and Society, eds. Ellis Goldberg, Reşat Kasaba, and Joel Migdal (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993).

23. Max Thornburg, Turkey: An Economic Appraisal (New York: The Twentieth Century Fund, 1949).

24. See Ilham Khuri-Makdisi, The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 18601914 (Oakland: University of California Press, 2010); Keith David Watenpaugh, Being Modern in the Middle East: Revolution, Nationalism, Colonialism, and the Arab Middle Class (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2012); Marwa Elshakry, Reading Darwin in Arabic, 1860–1950 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013); Nathan Citino, “The ‘Crush’ of Ideologies: The United States, the Arab World, and Cold War Modernization,” Cold War History 12, no. 1 (2012); and Jeffrey James Byrne, “Our Own Special Brand of Socialism: Algeria and the Contest of Modernities in the 1960s,” Diplomatic History 33, no. 3 (2009), among others.

25. Cihan Tuğal discusses the shortcomings of the model but treats it only as a phenomenon of the 2000s. See The Fall of the Turkish Model: How the Arab Uprisings Brought Down Islamic Liberalism (New York: Verso, 2016).

26. For recent critics, see Ismet Akça, Ahmet Bekmen, and Barış Ozden, eds., Turkey Reframed: Constituting Neoliberal Hegemony (London: Pluto Press, 2014); Erdem Yörük, “Welfare Provision as Political Containment: The Politics of Social Assistance and the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey,” Politics & Society 40, no. 517 (2012): 517–47.

27. Kadir Yıldırım and Marc Lynch, “Is There Still Hope for Turkish Democracy?,” POMEPS Studies 22: Contemporary Turkish Politics (December 7, 2016); Jason Brownlee, “Why Turkey’s Authoritarian Descent Shakes Up Democratic Theory,” Washington Post, March 23, 2016,; Berk Esen and Sebnem Gümüsçü, “Rising Competitive Authoritarianism in Turkey,” Third World Quarterly 37, no. 9 (2016): 1581–606.

28. Richard Robinson, “The Lessons of Turkey,” Middle East Journal 5, no. 4 (1951); George McGhee, “Turkey Joins the West,” Foreign Affairs 32, no. 4 (July 1954): 617–30.

29. On Turkey’s continuing diplomatic, cultural, and commercial relations with Germany—for instance, in the form of chrome shipments well into 1944—see John Vanderlippe, The Politics of Turkish Democracy: Ismet Inönü and the Formation of the Multi-Party System, 19381950 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005).

30. Those who could not pay the capital tax were sent to labor camps in eastern Turkey. Asım Karaömerlioğlu, “Turkey’s ‘Return’ to Multi-Party Politics: A Social Interpretation,” East European Quarterly 40, no. 1 (2006): 97. Between 1912 and 1927, the Christian population of Anatolia decreased from 20 to 3 percent. Soner Çağaptay, “Reconfiguring the Turkish Nation in the 1930s,” Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 8, no. 2 (2002): 68.

31. Daniel Lerner and Richard Robinson, “Swords and Ploughshares: The Turkish Army as a Modernizing Force,” World Politics 13, no. 1 (October 1960): 19–44; Dankwart Rustow, “Ataturk as Founder of a State,” Daedalus 97, no. 3 (Summer 1968); Walter Weiker, The Turkish Revolution, 19601961: Aspects of Military Politics (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1963).

32. Nadia Abu El-Haj, Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001); Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Technopolitics, Modernity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002); Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2005); Michel Callon, “What Does It Mean to Say That Economics Is Performative?” (working papers series 5, Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation, 2006); Donald Mackenzie, Fabian Muniesa, and Lucia Siu, eds., Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007).

33. Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (New York: Vintage, 1988); Ian Hacking, The Taming of Chance (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, “The Image of Objectivity,” Representations 40 (Autumn 1992); Mary Poovey, A History of the Modern Fact: Problems of Knowledge in the Sciences of Wealth and Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998).

34. Lisa Wedeen, “Scientific Knowledge, Liberalism, and Empire: American Political Science in the Modern Middle East,” in Middle East Studies for the New Millennium: Infrastructures of Knowledge, eds. Shami Seteney and Cynthia Miller-Idris (New York: Social Science Research Council, 2016).

35. Richard Rottenburg, Far-Fetched Facts: A Parable of Development Aid, trans. Allison Brown and Tom Lampert (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009), p. 74.

36. Theodore Porter, Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996). There is a growing literature on the relationship between such technologies and their deployment in governance. On maps, see James Scott, Seeing like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998); Manu Goswami, Producing India: From Colonial Economy to National Space, Chicago Studies in Practices of Meaning (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004); and Patrick Joyce, The Rule of Freedom: Liberalism and the Modern City (London: Verso, 2003). On surveys, see Sarah Igo, The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007); Matthew Hull, “Democratic Technologies of Speech: From World War II America to Postcolonial Delhi,” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 20, no. 2 (2010): 257–82; John Law, “Seeing like a Survey,” Cultural Sociology 3, no. 2 (2009): 239–56; and Michael Savage, Identities and Social Change in Britain since 1940: The Politics of Method (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010). On bureaucratic documents, see Miles Ogborn, Indian Ink: Script and Print in the Making of the English East India Company (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2007); Ilana Feldman, Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917–1967 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008); and Matthew Hull, Government of Paper: The Materiality of Bureaucracy in Urban Pakistan (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012).

37. Bruno Latour, Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987), p. 223.

38. John Law, After Method: Mess in Social Science Research (New York: Routledge, 2004), pp. 20–21.

39. Latour, Science in Action, p. 216.

40. See Melani McAlister, Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and US Interests in the Middle East since 1945 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); Robert Vitalis, America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006); Ussama Makdisi, Artillery of Heaven: American Missionaries and the Failed Conversion of the Middle East (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009); Keith Feldman, A Shadow Over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015); Alex Lubin, Geographies of Liberation: The Making of an Afro-Arab Imaginary (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014); Anne McClintock, “Paranoid Empire: Specters from Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib,” Small Axe 13, no. 1 (2009): 50–74; Toby Jones, Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011); Cyrus Schayegh, “Iran’s Karaj Dam Affair: Emerging Mass Consumerism, the Politics of Promise, and the Cold War in the Third World,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 54, no. 3 (2012): 612–43; and others.

41. Joseph Morgan Hodge, “Writing the History of Development (Part 2: Longer, Deeper, Wider),” Humanity 7, no. 1 (2016): 125; David Engerman and Corinna Unger, “Introduction: Towards a Global History of Modernization,” Diplomatic History 33, no. 3 (June 2009): 380.

42. David Engerman, Modernization from the Other Shore: American Intellectuals and the Romance of Russian Development (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003); Nicole Sackley, “Village Models: Etawah, India, and the Making and Remaking of Development in the Early Cold War,” Diplomatic History 37, no. 4 (2013); Nathan Citino, Envisioning the Arab Future: Modernization in US-Arab Relations, 19451967 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

43. Michel Callon, “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St. Brieuc Bay,” in Power, Action, Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge?, ed. John Law (New York: Routledge, 1986).

44. Latour, Science in Action.

45. See Asım Karaömerlioğlu, “The Village Institutes Experience in Turkey,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 25, no. 1 (1998) for an excellent account.

46. Lewis Thomas, foreword to A Village in Anatolia, by Mahmut Makal, ed. Paul Stirling, trans. Wyndham Deedes (London: Vallentine, Mitchell, 1954), p. xiv.

47. Mahmut Makal, A Village in Anatolia, ed. Paul Stirling, trans. Wyndham Deedes (London: Vallentine, Mitchell, 1954), pp. 69, 121.

48. Richard Robinson to Walter S. Rogers, March 20, 1954, in Robinson, Letters from Turkey, reprinted for the Peace Corps by permission of the Institute for Current World Affairs (Istanbul: Robert College, 1965).

49. Metin And, “Toplumbilimci Makal” [Makal the social scientist], Forum 3, no. 28 (1955).

50. Lerner, Passing, p. 122. For a comparison of the two authors’ depictions of certain aspects of “traditional” life, such as the use of clocks as mere “decorative” devices, see Makal, A Village in Anatolia, p. 58; and Lerner, p. 39.

51. Mahmut Makal, Kalkınma Masalı (Istanbul: Varlık, 1960). On the erasure of passage points, see Johanna Bockman and Gil Eyal, “Eastern Europe as a Laboratory for Economic Knowledge: The Transnational Roots of Neoliberalism,” American Journal of Sociology 108, no. 2 (September 2002).

52. Anna Tsing, Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005).