Prof. Dr. Nazan Maksudyan | Researcher
Centre Marc Bloch
Nazan Maksudyan is Senior Researcher and head of the Centre Marc Bloch research team in the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded research project, “Ottoman Auralities and the Eastern Mediterranean: Sound, Media and Power, 1789-1914” (OTTOMAN AURALITIES; (replaced) ERC Starting Grant 2021; Principal Investigator: Dr. Peter McMurray, University of Cambridge). From 2019 to 2022, Maksudyan was an Einstein guest professor in the Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut at the Freie Universität Berlin. She was a »Europe in the Middle East – The Middle East in Europe« (EUME) Fellow in 2009 and 2010 at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin and an Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung Postdoctoral Fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (Berlin) in 2010 – 2011 and in 2016 and 2018. From 2013 to 2016, she worked as a professor of history in Istanbul and received her habilitation degree in 2015.
Her research mainly focuses on the social and cultural history of the late Ottoman Empire (18th–20th centuries) and modern Turkey, with special interest in children and youth, gender, sexuality, and the history of sciences. Among her publications are Ottoman Children & Youth During World War I (Syracuse UP, 2019), Orphans and Destitute Children in the Late Ottoman Empire (Syracuse UP, 2014), Women and the City, Women in the City (ed., Berghahn, 2014), Urban Neighborhood Formations (ed. with Hilal Alkan, Routledge, 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.
Racial Anthropology in Turkey and Transnational Entanglements in the Making of Scientific Knowledge: Seniha Tunakan’s Academic Trajectory, 1930s–1970sJune 15, 2022
International Journal of Middle East Studies 54 (1)
Edition: Cambridge University Press
Collection: International Journal of Middle East Studies 54 (1)
This article situates the trajectory of the academic life of Seniha Tunakan (1908–2000) within the development of anthropology as a scientific discipline in Turkey and its transnational connections to Europe during the interwar period and up until the second half of the 20th century. Relying on the archives of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the archive of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amtes in Germany, and the Prime Ministry's Republican Archives in Turkey, it focuses on the doctoral studies of Seniha Tunakan in Germany and her life as a female PhD researcher in the capital of the Third Reich, as well as her entire research career after her return to Turkey. Through Tunakan's career, the article also provides an analysis of the perpetuation of German race science in the Turkish context, shedding light upon the success of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Anthropologie, menschliche Erblehre und Eugenik (Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics) and its transnational impact.
Embracing Embodiedness, Desire and Failure: Women’s Fluid Gender Performances in Sevgi Soysal’s Oeuvre from the 1960s.May 09, 2022
Nazan Maksudyan , Burcu Alkan
Journal of European Studies
Collection: Journal of European Studies
The ‘women’s liberation’ of the global 1960s did not entail a full range of women’s rights, feminist politics and sexual freedoms in Turkey. On the contrary, the Turkish 1960s were characterised by a patriarchal heteronormative order that imprisoned women in a passive and essentially asexual identity and denied them control over their bodies. In Turkey, women’s emancipation was postponed. At the same time, the 1960s offered a juncture of literary renewal in women’s writing and representation, embracing the dictum ‘the personal is political’. This article focuses on three works by Sevgi Soysal (1936–1976), a key name of this period whose writing is concerned with the problematisation of what Judith Butler calls ‘the compulsory order of sex/gender/desire’. Relying on queer theory, we examine how Soysal’s Tutkulu Perçem (The Passionate Forelock, 1962), Tante Rosa (Aunt Rosa, 1968) and Yürümek (Walking, 1970) represent female characters’ growing awareness of their rich spectrum of gender performances, as they embrace their desires, transformations and confusions. In this way, Soysal’s works not only take the female body ‘out of the closet’ but also explore its multitude of desires and fluid possibilities.
Maksudyan, Nazan, and Burcu Alkan. “Embracing Embodiedness, Desire and Failure: Women’s Fluid Gender Performances in Sevgi Soysal’s Oeuvre from the 1960s.” Journal of European Studies, (May 2022). https://doi.org/10.1177/00472441221090705.
Encounter and Memory in Ottoman Soundscapes: An Audiovisual Album of Street Vendors’ CriesApril 01, 2022
Nazan Maksudyan, "Συνάντηση και μνήμη σε οθωμανικά ηχοτοπία: ένα οπτικοακουστικό άμλπουμ των φωνών των πλανόδιων πωλητών", μτφρ. Κατερίνα Στάθη, Τα Ιστορικά, τχ. 74, Απρ. 2022, σ. 32-60.
Nazan Maksudyan, “Encounter and Memory in Ottoman Soundscapes: An Audiovisual Album of Street Vendors’ Cries”, trans. by Katerina Stathi, Historica 74 (April 2022), 32-60 [in Greek].
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.