Prof. Dr. Nazan Maksudyan | Chercheuse

Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: maksudyan  ( at ) Tél: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700

Institution principale : Centre Marc Bloch | Position : Chercheuse | Discipline : Histoire |


Senior researcher et responsable de l'équipe de recherche du Centre Marc Bloch dans le projet de recherche financé par UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), "Ottoman Auralities and the Eastern Mediterranean : Sound, Media and Power, 1789-1914" (OTTOMAN AURALITIES ; (remplacé) ERC Starting Grant 2021 ; Principal Investigator : Peter McMurray, Université de Cambridge). Elle est membre du conseil d'administration dans le Journal of Women's History, Journal of European Studies, et First World War Studies.

De 2019 à 2022, Maksudyan a été professeur invité Einstein au Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut de la Freie Universität Berlin. Elle a été boursière "Europe in the Middle East - The Middle East in Europe" (EUME) en 2009 et 2010 au Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin et boursière postdoctorale Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung au Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient en 2010 - 2011 et en 2016 et 2018. De 2013 à 2016, elle a été professeur d'histoire à Istanbul et a obtenu son titre d'habilitation en 2015.

Ses recherches portent principalement sur l'histoire sociale et culturelle de la fin de l'Empire ottoman et de la Turquie moderne (18e-20e siècles), avec un intérêt particulier pour les enfants et les jeunes, le genre, la sexualité, l'exil et migration, sound studies, et l'histoire des sciences. Parmi ses publications,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).

Les paysages sonores des villes ottomanes

Mon projet est une histoire sociale et culturelle comparative des paysages sonores des villes ottomanes. L'objectif est de configurer les aspects sensoriels et subjectifs des sons. J'entends donner une idée de la manière dont les paysages sonores ottomans ont été façonnés par le son trop présent de l'appel musulman à la prière, mais aussi, dans une certaine mesure, par les sons d'autres religions, par les vendeurs de rue qui dominaient la vie de la rue avec leurs activités commerciales, par les chiens, par les incendies et les pompiers, et certainement par les nouvelles technologies d'infrastructure et de communication du train, du tram, du télégraphe et du bateau à vapeur au début du siècle. La recherche s'étend également aux critiques et à la sensibilisation de certains segments de la société concernant le bruit et les réglementations antibruit. Le projet s'intéresse particulièrement aux implications du sexe, de la classe sociale, de l'ethnicité, de la religion et des rencontres entre l'homme et l'animal dans le façonnement de la vie sonore des villes.

Refuge in Research: Walter Ruben’s Exile and Internment in Turkey

15 mai 2024

Nazan Maksudyan

Edition: Springer Link

Abstract This paper follows the plight of Walter Ruben (1899– 1982), an Indologist who had begun his career in Frankfurt am Main and later became one of the leading Indologists of the German Democratic Republic. In mid-1930s, he escaped Nazi persecution by seeking exile in Turkey. Relying on archival research in the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the Prime Ministry’s Republican Archives (BCA) in Istanbul, the Turkish press, and oral historical sources, together with the publications of Ruben during his Ankara years, I bring to light Ruben’s life trajectory during his exile and internment with a balanced analysis of his ‘production of knowledge’ as a scholar at risk. The scholarly pressure and difficulties Ruben faced as an endangered scholar hired by a single-party authoritarian state delineate the precariousness and vulnerabilities of life as an exile academic. His original research and writing during his forced internment in Kırşehir, on the other hand, marks another dimension of his exile years, namely his endless effort to look for a real refuge within his intellectual production.

Pages 101-128 of "Academics in a Century of Displacement" which contains sections of a lot of other CMB Assoiates such as Leyla Dakhli, Pascale Laborier, Frank Wolff, Isabella Löhr

Afterlives of Ottoman Orphans in Germany during World War I: Microhistorical and Biographical Approaches to Technology, Expertise, and Labor in Turkey

01 mai 2024

Nazan Maksudyan


This article applies a (micro)biographical approach to the life stories of two Ottoman orphans sent to Germany to receive vocational training during World War I, Ali and İsmail Dağlı. Coupling family archives, oral and visual sources with state documentation, I elaborate on the post-Ottoman afterlives of German know-how, education, and capital in the social and economic history of Turkey. Biographies of Dağlı brothers show that the successors of both empires restored former channels of circulation of expertise, technology, and labor. Especially seen in the context of Jewish emigration, the life and work history of the brothers elucidate the positive reception of their German education, the importance of their position as “cultural intermediaries,” and the extent of Turkish-German business entanglements.

‘Sound-Writing’ Technologies and Early Field Recordings in the Ottoman Empire

04 avril 2024

Nazan Maksudyan

Edition: DergiPark Akademik


The history of early sound recording technologies in the Ottoman Empire has been studied mainly from the perspectives of music production, comparative musicology, and ethnomusicology. In fact, while hundreds of commercial and musical cylinders were being produced in Istanbul, Beirut, and elsewhere, European anthropologists, ethnologists, linguists, orientalists, etc. were traveling throughout the Balkans, Anatolia, and the Caucasus collecting audio data for scientific purposes. In order to contribute to the Ottoman history of science and technology from the perspectives of sound studies and auditory history, I focus on the first field recordings in the Ottoman Empire, namely during Paul Kretschmer's (1866-1956) study trip to Lesbos in 1901 and Felix von Luschan's (1854-1924) research in Zincirli (Sendschirli, Aintab) in 1902. Thus, this paper aims to fill a research gap within Ottoman Studies with regard to non-musical recordings and the impact of sound reproduction technologies on the history of the (colonial) sciences, especially anthropology, ethnology and linguistics.

Encounter and Memory in Ottoman Soundscapes: An Audiovisual Album of Street Vendors’ Cries

01 avril 2024

Nazan Maksudyan

This paper focuses on the sonic presence of street vendors’ in nineteenth century Ottoman soundscapes through a unique and extraordinary audiovisual media object: an album of photos and musical transcriptions of street vendors’ cries in Western staff notation. My research is conceived as a sonic history tracing several encounters of vendors with passersby on the streets, as I emphasize that sound should be analyzed as a relationship between a listener and something listened to. The paper analyzes different listening habits and subjectivities along the lines of religion, class, language, ethnicity, gender and other categories of difference. I stress the way cultural difference, especially intra-imperial difference, emerges in an urban soundscape like Istanbul. I use the term, then, in the plural, as “soundscapes”, taking into account multiple sensory experiences of a diversity of peoples. Relying on Ottoman archival material, literature in different Ottoman languages, ego-documents, travelogues, scientific writings, newspapers, letters, diaries, legal documents, musical notes, court records, I analyze four encounters and relations that itinerant sellers’ cries delineate: migration (how rural migrants listened to Ottoman urbanites, and vice versa); multilingualism and diversity; human-nonhuman encounters; and the audibility of gender. Lastly, I touch upon the romantic fascination with the practice of itinerant merchants, due to their imagined “oriental” character, originality, and anticipated extinction.

Mediatized Witnessing, Spectacles of Pain, and Reenacting Suffering: The Armenian Genocide and Humanitarian Cinema

29 décembre 2023

Nazan Maksudyan


Focusing on the conception, production, distribution (and disappearance) of Ravished Armenia (1919) and Alice in Hungerland (1921), two silent films on the Armenian Genocide from a gendered perspective, this chapter combines media history (“technologies of witnessing”) with the history of global humanitarianism. These two oldest movies on the genocide were shot with the initiative of the Near East Relief in order to raise donations and international awareness through the reenactment of suffering, sensationalization of violence, and victimized Armenian bodies. Both films enjoyed a short-lived fame and revenue, followed by disappearance and subsequent oblivion. The early humanitarian cinematic representation of the Armenian genocide sheds light on the ferocious mediatization and marketing strategies of humanitarian agencies, specifically as to how they targeted the corporal bodies of their lead orphan actresses, Arshalouys Mardigian and Esther Razon, through extensive bodily interventions, enormous workload, and reenactment of suffering.

Children at the Margins of Labour Migration in Füruzan’s Works after Germany

27 décembre 2023

Nazan Maksudyan

In 1975, novelist and short story writer Füruzan came to West Berlin following the invitation of the German Academic Exchange Service and spent the next five years on and off in Berlin until 1980. Following her travels, she published her journalistic essays/memoirs Yeni Konuklar (1977) and Ev sahipleri (1981), her children’s book Vom rotgesprenkelten Spatzen (1980), and her novel Berlin’in Nar Çiçeği (1988). While she gained a transregional perspective on issues concerning labour migration and class during her time in Germany, her works resulting from it introduced these subjects to her readership in Turkey. Her Yeni Konuklar and Ev sahipleri in particular provide a significant amount of data on the subject of labour migration to Germany, while her Vom rotgesprenkelten Spatzen and Berlin’in Nar Çiçeği elaborate upon the inherent large cultural shifts on both sides resulting from labour migration. This article examines the works Füruzan produced following her stay in Germany in the 1970s. It discusses the ways in which she presents the perspectives of the children as previously underexplored material on issues concerning global labour mobility. It looks at how children’s experiences reveal a more complicated reality in regards to social and cultural integration with an emphasis on the difficulties that they face and go unnoticed. Moreover, it also argues for the distinct potentialities of integration rendered possible through the relationship between the immigrant children and the elderly Germans due to a shared experience of marginalisation.

"Great War and the State Orphanages (Darüleytam)"

10 octobre 2023

Nazan Maksudyan

Edition: Campus Verlag

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, 1922

07 août 2023

Nazan Maksudyan


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.

Link to the article

Erna Eckstein-Schlossmann’s exile years in Turkey, 1935–1950: a biographical and gendered approach to migration history

23 mai 2023

Nazan Maksudyan


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.

Link to the article

For the Holy War and Motherland: Ottoman State Orphanages (Darüleytams) in the Context of the First World War and the Armenian Genocide

28 mars 2023

Nazan Maksudyan

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 Politics

26 janvier 2023

Nazan Maksudyan

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),,

Commemorating the First World War and Its Aftermath: Neo-Ottomanism, Gender, and the Politics of History in Turkey

14 décembre 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.

Racial Anthropology in Turkey and Transnational Entanglements in the Making of Scientific Knowledge: Seniha Tunakan’s Academic Trajectory, 1930s–1970s

15 juin 2022

Nazan Maksudyan

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.

09 mai 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).

Encounter and Memory in Ottoman Soundscapes: An Audiovisual Album of Street Vendors’ Cries

01 avril 2022

Nazan Maksudyan


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, 1975

17 décembre 2021

Nazan Maksudyan

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.

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