Lerna Ekmekcioglu

McMillan-Stewart Career Development Assistant Professor of History
(On leave Spring 2015)
617- 253-9621


B.A. Bogazici University (Istanbul), 2002
Ph.D. New York University, 2010

I joined M.I.T. in 2011 after a post-doc year at the University of Michigan’s Armenian Studies Program. I teach courses related to modern Middle East, with a focus on its ethnic diversity and majority-minority relations. I am also affiliated with the Women and Gender Studies Program where I teach courses on gender in the Middle East and North Africa. As the holder of the McMillan-Stewart Chair I organize lectures that pertain to women in the developing world.

My research is focused on ethnic and religious minorities and the ways in which minority-ness and gender interplay. I am interested in understanding minority populations’ negotiations of difference from and sameness with the majority group. I am also a scholar of genocide, with a particular interest in pursuing the links between the genocide and post-genocide, especially from a gendered perspective. I do work in the field of sexual violence during mass atrocities and “war babies.” 

I am currently working on my monograph titled Surviving the New Turkey: Armenians in Post-Ottoman Istanbul, which analyzes the ways in which survivors of the Armenian genocide who continued living inside Turkish borders crafted themselves a new presence to be able to co-habit peacefully with the perpetrator society. I argue that gender played a crucial role in Armenian ways of accommodating the new Turkishness and that an in-depth look at the Armenian feminism of the time reveals the limits of this project.  In addition to the traditional book format, digital media will be used to share the findings of this research with a wider audience.