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Visiting Speakers

Throughout the academic year, the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies program hosts visiting speaker talks presented by experts from a range of disciplines to a broad audience.

Upcoming Speakers

Upcoming speakers will present via online platform.

See events schedule

Past Speakers

Event details and some featured recordings.

Aslı Bâli

Dr. Aslı Bâli explores how the Kurdish political movement has re­imagined the terms of self-determination to facilitate the realization of minority rights in Turkey. One starting point for this inquiry is to explore the model of "democratic confederalism" as a novel institutional design proposal that instantiates the reconceptualization of governance in the Kurdish political project. In this talk, Dr. Bâli examines demands for decentralization during the so-called reconciliation process in Turkey between 2009 and 2015 and considers, from the perspective of the comparative law literature on federalism, the current impasse over Kurdish rights in Turkey.

Aslı Bâli is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and Faculty Director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights. She was previously the Director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies. She has recently served as the Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor of Law at the Yale Law School and was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. She is currently completing work on an edited volume on decentralization in the MENA region, tentatively titled From Revolution to Devolution

Ezgi Çakmak

Ezgi Çakmak presents "The Roots of the Silence: Encounters with Blackness in the Early Turkish Republic" as part of the interdisciplinary series, ‘Reflections on Whiteness, Blackness, and Race in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey.’

Departing from the recently sparked interest in the discussions of race in Turkey following the anti-racism protests in the US, Ezgi Çakmak will discuss the echoes of these protests in relation to the silence over the intersecting histories of ‘race’, slavery and blackness in Turkey. 

Ezgi Çakmak is a Ph.D candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, in the department of Africana Studies. She received her BA from Bogazici University, Sociology Department.  Before the doctoral studies, she worked with NGOs in the field of international migration and conducted fieldwork with African migrants in Istanbul. Her research interests include the African slavery in the late Ottoman empire, identity formation and racialization processes in early Turkish Republic as well as diaspora studies.

Marc David Baer

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 Belonging 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.

Ezgi Güner

Drawing on a multi-sited ethnography in Turkey, Tanzania, Senegal, Gambia, and Benin, Ezgi Güner shows how whiteness, historically associated with Western modernity and state secularism in Turkey, is redefined as the marker of Islamic civility in and through these transnational relations. Analysis of the construction of Muslim whiteness contributes to debates on intersectionality of race and religion in the context of the Middle East, Africa, and their transnational connections.

Ezgi Güner received her PhD in Anthropology with a minor in African Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work focuses on the articulation of race and religion with global capitalism in the context of Turkey’s contemporary relations with Africa south of the Sahara. She conducted a multisited ethnography in Turkey, Tanzania, Senegal, Gambia and Benin. Guner was a visiting fellow in the Anthropology Department at Harvard University in 2018 and an Ernst Mach fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz in 2019-2020.

Baki Tezcan

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 tezcanBaki 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.

Thomas de Waal and Laurence Broers

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). 

Ioannis N. Grigoriadis

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. 

Ioannis N. Grigoriadis

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).

Kerem Öktem

Local elections in competitive authoritarian regimes: 
Turkey's 2019 municipal elections 
as critical juncture
 | Mar 9th, 2020
Talk by 2019-2020 Keyman Visiting Professor Kerem Öktem (University of Graz)

Devi Mays

Forging Ties, Forging Passports: Migration and the Modern Sephardi Diaspora | Nov 11th, 2019
Co-presented with the MENA Program and The Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies
Talk by Devi Mays, Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies at the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies (University of Michigan)

Burak Kadercan

Making Sense of Turkey’s Syrian Policy | Nov 7th, 2019 
Talk by Keyman Visiting Speaker Dr. Burak Kadercan (United States Naval War College)
Commentary by Keyman Visiting Professor Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis (Bilkent University)

Ioannis N. Grigoriadis

Keyman Visiting Professor Ioannis N. Grigoriadis: Faculty and Students lunchtime colloquium | Nov 8th, 2019
Talk by Keyman Visiting Professor Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis (Bilkent University)

Ioannis N. Grigoriadis

The Rise of Populist Majoritarianism in Turkey and Greece | Nov 4th, 2019
Co-presented with the MENA Program
Talk by Keyman Visiting Professor Dr. Ioannis N. Grigoriadis (Bilkent University)

Michelle Campos

Unmixing the Holy City: Coexistence and Segregation in Early 20th Century Jerusalem | Oct 18th, 2019
Jewish Studies Faculty/Graduate Student Colloquium
Talk by Michelle Campos,  Associate Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History (University of Florida)

* 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.