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). She is a Board Member of the Association of Middle East Children and Youth Studies (AMECYS), Journal of Women's History, and Journal of European Studies.
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
"Great War and the State Orphanages (Darüleytam)"October 10, 2023
in Familie und Krieg: Erfahrung, Fürsorge und Leitbilder von der Antike bis in die Gegenwart, Alexander Denzler, Andreas Hartmann, Kathrin Kiefer, Markus Raasch (Hg.) (Farkfurt: Campus Verlag, 2023), 111-139.
The fall of a city: Refugees, exodus and exile in Ernest Hemingway’s Istanbul, 1922August 07, 2023
Edition: Journal of European Studies
Ernest Hemingway arrived in Istanbul on 30 September 1922 to cover the end of the Greek–Turkish War for the Toronto Star. From late October to mid-November 1922, Hemingway wrote 20 articles about the last days of the war and the re-constellation of political legitimacy in the region. There are four distinguishing features of Hemingway’s reports from Constantinople. First, they provided an eloquent depiction of the city, suggesting the charm and squalor of old ‘Constan’ for the young writer. The second was a clear expectation of a ‘second disaster’, which was assumed to be a replica of Smyrna. Hemingway clearly observed the fears of non-Muslims and foreigners in the city, who were panicking over possible new massacres and pillage. Third, Hemingway quickly realized that the exodus of people – the desperate flight of Christian refugees – and Turkification of the country would be his main subject. His repeated emphasis on refugees permanent loss of a home is reminiscent of Hannah Arendt’s famous essay ‘We Refugees’, as well as a precursor to Agamben’s point that refugees are reduced to ‘bare life’. Lastly, his prose relied on irony and cynicism, as a cover for his disappointment and shame for humanity and modern civilization. Juxtaposing his writing with contemporary local accounts, I intend to situate his witnessing into the larger historiography of ‘Armistice Istanbul’ and the homogenization policies of the winning Turkish nationalist leadership. Hemingway’s critique of (homogeneous) nation-state formation after the war and the favourable involvement of the Allied countries and humanitarian agencies in the mass production of refugees was quite exceptional and ahead of his times.
Erna Eckstein-Schlossmann’s exile years in Turkey, 1935–1950: a biographical and gendered approach to migration historyMay 23, 2023
Edition: Women's History Review
Erna Eckstein-Schlossmann (1895–1998) and Albert Eckstein (1891–1950), a pediatrician couple from Düsseldorf, had to hand in their official resignations after being declared as ‘Jews’ according to the laws of 1933 and 1935. Albert Eckstein accepted the offer of the Turkish government to become the head of the pediatric clinic of Ankara Hospital. Relying on a biographical approach and utilizing ego-documents, such as memoirs, letters, and travelogues at the Eckstein family archives, together with Turkish state archives, and Erna Eckstein-Schlossmann’s research publications, this paper conceptualizes Erna’s exile years in Turkey along gendered lines and provides an intersectional interpretation of migration. This microhistorical reconstruction acknowledges her agency and subjectivity as a high-skilled migrant woman; intertwines her life story with the larger dynamics of the migrant networks in Turkey; and brings it into dialogue with macro-level structural factors with regards to the war, the mass murder and the global movement of European Jews.
For the Holy War and Motherland: Ottoman State Orphanages (Darüleytams) in the Context of the First World War and the Armenian GenocideMarch 28, 2023
Special Issue "Kinder in Heimen", ed. by Anelia Kassabova, Sandra Maß (Hg.)
Edition: L’Homme. Europäische Zeitschrift für Feministische Geschichtswissenschaft 34/1 (2023): 39-59
Collection: Special Issue "Kinder in Heimen", ed. by Anelia Kassabova, Sandra Maß (Hg.)
Youth Cultures of Activism and PoliticsJanuary 26, 2023
The Oxford Handbook of the History of Youth Culture The Oxford Handbook of the History of Youth Culture
Collection: The Oxford Handbook of the History of Youth Culture The Oxford Handbook of the History of Youth Culture
Youth cultures’ engagement with activism and politics, through which young people attempt “to initiate and resist change in the social order,” has produced a sizable literature. A discussion of this topic traces this engagement and its changes over time. First, nationalist youth cultures of the early twentieth century stressed duty, responsibility, and idealism. Later, the anti-establishment youth cultures of the 1960s and 1970s aspired to change the world on a global scale. Anarchistic and nonconformist youth subcultures of the 1980s and 1990s cultivated apathy toward traditional politics. Finally, globally dissenting millennials focus their concerns on democratic governance, ecology, and global social justice.
Maksudyan, Nazan, 'Youth Cultures of Activism and Politics', in James Marten (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Youth Culture (online edn, Oxford Academic, 14 Apr. 2021), https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190920753.013.27,
Commemorating the First World War and Its Aftermath: Neo-Ottomanism, Gender, and the Politics of History in TurkeyDecember 14, 2022
Nazan Maksudyan , Hilal Alkan
Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe
Edition: Neo-Ottoman Imaginaries in Contemporary Turkey
Collection: Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe
This chapter discusses the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) neo-Ottomanist history politics with a focus on commemoration and memorialisation of the First World War and the “Independence War” in Turkey. These commemorations refer to a mythical Ottoman past that stresses Sunni-Muslim-Turkish imperial legacy and the prominence of Muslim faith, solidarity, and martyrdom. While they undermine the hero cult around Mustafa Kemal and pluralize heroism by including women (and other male warriors), the commemorations consciously omit the existence of non-Muslim soldiers and ethnic violence against non-Muslims. The chapter traces incorporation of mythical narratives of women warriors into the centennial memorialisation in order to explore the shift in the construction of masculinities and femininities. Although the recognition of women’s participation in the war effort is a step towards pluralisation, women’s heroic representations reflect the same neo-Ottomanist obsession with “Muslim martyrdom” that rests on a masculinist notion of heroism, and a homogeneous ethno-religious identity.
Maksudyan, N., Alkan, H. (2023). Commemorating the First World War and Its Aftermath: Neo-Ottomanism, Gender, and the Politics of History in Turkey. In: Raudvere, C., Onur, P. (eds) Neo-Ottoman Imaginaries in Contemporary Turkey. Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-08023-4_7
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.