Herter Hall Exterior

Ela Gezen to Deliver Keynote at Modern Language Conference

Ela Gezen
Ela Gezen

Ela Gezen, associate professor of German, will deliver “Cultures of/in Migration: Turkish Artists in West Berlin,” the keynote lecture for German studies at this year’s 55th Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) conference to be held March 7-10 at the Sheraton Boston.

Gezen’s talk will focus on multi-genre exhibits co-organized by the Turkish Association of Academics and Artists, which will be discussed as a key part of the formation of a Turkish public sphere in West Berlin. Turkish artists, intellectuals and academics founded numerous associations in West Berlin throughout the 1970s and ‘80s to establish institutional settings for cultural activities. Central objectives were the promotion of Turkish culture beyond folklorization, the formulation of common interests and the facilitation of collaborations.

In addition to reading these as a current within broader efforts to represent Turkish culture as multi-layered and as essential to public-political debates on integration, the talk will also address how to relate cultural activities in the early phase of Turkish migration to cultural practices and interventions today.

“I am very excited about this opportunity to share my research in this context and look forward to ensuing exchanges with colleagues,” Gezen says.

Gezen’s research and teaching focus on 20th- and 21st-century German literature and culture, with emphases on literatures of migration, minority discourses, and transnationalism. Her first book, “Brecht, Turkish Theater, and Turkish-German Literature,” studied the significance of Bertolt Brecht for Turkish and Turkish-German literature. She is currently working on her second book, “Cultures in Migration,” which examines cultural practices by Turkish artists throughout the 1970s.