Skip to main content

Keyman Visiting Speakers

Interview: Marc David Baer on his book Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks interviewed by Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, with Marc David Baer, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science interviewed by Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, McMillan-Stewart Associate Professor of History at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

What compels Jews in the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, and abroad to promote a positive image of Ottomans and Turks while they deny the Armenian genocide and the existence of antisemitism in Turkey? Marc David Baer confronts these convictions and circumstances to reflect on what moral responsibility the descendants of the victims of one genocide have to the descendants of victims of another. By looking at the complexities of interreligious relations, Holocaust denial, genocide and ethnic cleansing, and confronting some long-standing historical stereotypes, Baer sets out to tell a new history that goes against Turkish antisemitism and admits to the Armenian genocide.

Marc David Baer (BA, History, Northwestern University; PhD, History, University of Chicago) is Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the author of Honored by the Glory of Islam: Conversion and Conquest in Ottoman Europe (Oxford, 2008); The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks (Stanford, 2010); At Meydanı'nda Ölüm: 17. Yüzyıl İstanbul'unda Toplumsal Cinsiyet, Hoşgörü ve İhtida (Death on the Hippodrome: Gender, Tolerance, and Conversion in 17th century Istanbul) (Koç, 2016); Sultanic Saviors and Tolerant Turks: Writing Ottoman Jewish History, Denying the Armenian Genocide (Indiana, 2020); and German, Jewish, Muslim, Gay: The Life and Times of Hugo Marcus (Columbia, 2020). The Ottomans: Khans, Caesars and Caliphs is forthcoming in October 2021.

Lerna Ekmekçioğlu (B.A. Bogazici University (Istanbul), 2002; Ph.D. New York University, 2010) is McMillan-Stewart Associate

Professor of History at MIT and is a historian of the modern Middle East and an affiliate of the Women and Gender Studies Program as well as the Center for International Studies. She specializes on Turkish and Armenian lands in the 19th and 20th centuries. Publications include a co- edited volume in Turkish titled Bir Adalet Feryadı, Osmanlı’dan Cumhuriyet’e Beş Ermeni Feminist Yazar (1862-1933) [A Cry for Justice: Five Armenian Feminist Writers from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic (1862-1933)] (Aras, 2006); and the monograph, Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Beloning in Post-Genocide Turkey, (Stanford University Press, 2016). Current collaborations: with Dr. Melissa Bilal on a critical anthology of the history of Western Armenian feminism, “Feminism in Armenian: An Interpretive Anthology”; and with Dr. Kent Schull (Binghamton, SUNY) on an edited volume on the entangled histories of Armenians in the 19th century Ottoman Empire.




Dr. Baki Tezcan, UC Davis, joined us on March 12th 2021 to present his online talk “The Emasculated Guardians of Power: Black Eunuchs and the Interplay Between Gender and Race at the Ottoman Imperial Court”, as part of the interdisciplinary Keyman Visiting Speaker Series: ‘Reflections on Whiteness, Blackness, and Race in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey.’ Introduction by İpek K. Yosmaoğlu, Keyman Program Director. Moderated by Deniz Duruiz, Keyman Postdoctoral Fellow.

 In the light of four books that were either written with a view to secure the patronage of the Chief Black Eunuch of the Ottoman court, or to critique him, between the early seventeenth and mid-eighteenth centuries, Dr. Tezcan discussed Ottoman literary representations of Africans and how these representations intersect with the heavily gendered environment of the court.

baki tezcan

Baki Tezcan teaches history at the University of California, Davis, and is the author of The Second Ottoman Empire: Political and Social Transformation in the Early Modern World, and about forty articles on Islam, modern Turkish historiography, and Ottoman history and historiography.


On Tuesday, October 27th, 2020 Keyman Modern Turkish Studies presented “Nagorno Karabakh in Perspective: Roots and Directions of Conflict,” a panel discussion with Thomas de Waal, Senior Fellow Carnegie Europe and Laurence Broers, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House; Caucasus programme director at Conciliation Resources. Moderated by Anoush Tamar Suni, Keyman Postdoctoral Fellow.

Thomas de Waal is a senior fellow with Carnegie Europe, specializing in Eastern Europe and the Caucasus 
region. He is the author of numerous publications about the region. The second edition of his book The Caucasus: An Introduction (Oxford University Press) was published in 2018. He is also the author of Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide (Oxford University Press, 2015) and of the thomas de waalauthoritative book on the Nagorny Karabakh conflict, Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War (NYU Press, second edition 2013). He co-authored (with Carlotta Gall) the book Chechnya: Calamity in the Caucasus (NYU Press, 1997), for which the authors were awarded the James Cameron Prize for Distinguished Reporting.

Laurence Broers is the Caucasus programme director at London-based peacebuilding organization Conciliation Resources. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a researcher of conflicts in the South Caucasus and laurence broerspractitioner of peacebuilding initiatives in the region. He is the co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Caucasus Survey, the first dedicated scholarly journal for the Caucasus region, published since January 2015 by Taylor & Francis. He is also the author of Armenia and Azerbaijan: Anatomy of a Rivalry (Edinburgh University Press, 2019) and co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of the Caucasus (Routledge 2020) and Armenia’s Velvet Revolution: Authoritarian Decline and Civil Resistance in a Multipolar World (I.B. Tauris, 2020). 

On Wednesday, September 16th, 2020, Keyman Modern Turkish Studies hosted a webinar, “The Eastern Mediterranean in Uncharted Waters: Preventing a Crisis in the Making," with Keyman Visiting Speaker Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, (Bilkent University, and Keyman Visiting Professor, 2018-19). Dr. Grigoriadis presented and took questions on the subject. Introduction by İpek K. Yosmaoğlu, Keyman Program Director.

Dr. Grigoriadis discussed regional political developments and growing tensions between Greece and Turkey. He explained, since the Arab uprisings, the Levant and the Mashreq have become two of the world’s most volatile regions, and this volatility has recently moved to the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, with the discovery of natural gas reserves in the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Cyprus, Egypt and Israel raising interest of global powers and energy companies in the region. Despite the high monetization costs and the CoViD-19 pandemic effect on energy markets, Turkey’s recent exploration activities have posed a significant challenge for regional security, rekindling disputes about the delineation of maritime zones between the littoral states of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Ioannis N. Grigoriadis is an associate professor and the Jean Monnet Chair of European Studies at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Bilkent University. He is also Senior Fellow and Head of the Program on Turkey at the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). He was recently an IPC-Stiftung Mercator Senior Research Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik-SWP) in Berlin and a Stanley J. Seeger Research Fellow at Princeton University. 


His research interests include late Ottoman and republican Turkish politics and history with a focus on nationalism and democratization. He has published the following books in English: Democratic Transition and the Rise of Populist Majoritarianism: Constitutional Reform in Greece and Turkey (London & New York: Palgrave Springer, 2017), Instilling Religion in Greek and Turkish Nationalism: A “Sacred Synthesis”, (London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Trials of Europeanization: Turkish Political Culture and the European Union, (London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan,  2009).




The views and opinions expressed within our webinars and other speaking events and presentations are those of the presenters and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Program.