Dr. Nazan Maksudyan | Researcher
Freie Universität Berlin
Einstein Guest Professor
Nazan Maksudyan is currently an Einstein guest professor at the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut at the Freie Universität Berlin and a research associate at the Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin). Her research mainly focuses on the history of children and youth in the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with special interest in gender, sexuality, education, humanitarianism, and non-Muslims. Among her publications are Ottoman Children & Youth During World War I (2019), “Control over Life, Control over Body: Female Suicide in Early Republican Turkey” (2016), Orphans and Destitute Children in the Late Ottoman Empire (2014), Women and the City, Women in the City (ed., 2014), Ottoman Children and Youth during WW1 (2019), Urban Neighborhood Formations (ed. with Hilal Alkan, 2020).
Soundscapes of Late Ottoman Cities
My project is a comparative social and cultural history of the soundscapes of late Ottoman cities. The aim is to configure the sensory and subjective aspects of sounds. I intend to give a sense as to how Ottoman soundscapes were shaped by the over present sound of the Muslim call to prayer, but also to a certain extent by the sounds other religions, by street vendors who dominated the street life with their commercial activities, by dogs, by fires and firefighters, and certainly by the new infrastructural and communication technologies of train, tram, telegraph, and steamship in the turn of the century. The research also extends to the criticisms and awareness of certain segments of the society regarding noise and anti-noise regulations. The project is particularly interested in the implications of gender, class, ethnicity, religion, and human-animal encounters in shaping the sonic lives of the cities.
The project aims to create new digital platforms of virtual arts for children & youth to be able to speak up and tell their own stories through novel and unorthodox mediums. The youth we are in contact with think that the virtual reality is the technology of the future, and are curious about new forms of storytelling that get them beyond the binaries of contemporary scientific thought and practice. The project also aims to create channels for Middle Eastern youth to engage with young people in Europe, and especially those in Berlin, through interregional connections built by the project partners.
Revolution is the Equality of Children and Adults”: Yaşar Kemal Interviews Street Children, 1975December 17, 2021
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Edition: Cambridge University Press
Collection: International Journal of Middle East Studies
In 1975, the world-famous novelist Yaşar Kemal (1923–2015) undertook a series of journalistic interviews with street children in Istanbul. The series, entitled “Children Are Human” (Çocuklar İnsandır), reflects the author's rebellious attitude as well as the revolutionary spirit of hope in the 1970s in Turkey. Kemal's ethnographic fieldwork with street children criticized the demotion of children to a less-than-human status when present among adults. He approached children's rights from a human rights angle, stressing the humanity of children and that children's rights are human rights. The methodological contribution of this research to the history of children and youth is its engagement with ethnography as historical source. His research provided children the opportunity to express their political subjectivities and their understanding of the major political questions of the time, specifically those of social justice, (in)equality, poverty, and ethnic violence encountered in their everyday interactions with politics in the country. Yaşar Kemal's fieldwork notes and transcribed interviews also bring to light immense injustices within an intersectional framework of age, class, ethnicity, and gender. The author emphasizes that children's political agency and their political protest is deeply rooted in their subordination and misery, but also in their dreams and hopes. Situating Yaşar Kemal's “Children Are Human” in the context of the 1970s in Turkey, I hope to contribute to childhood studies with regard to the political agency of children as well as to the history of public intellectuals and newspapers in Turkey and to progressive representations of urban marginalization.