Lerna Ekmekcioglu

McMillan-Stewart Associate Professor of History

Director Women and Gender Studies Program

Lerna Ekmekcioglu is a historian of the modern Middle East and the Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program. She specializes on Turkish and Armenian lands in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her work focuses on minority-majority relationships and the ways in which gendered analytical lenses help us better understand coexistence and conflict, including genocide and post-genocide. She is also interested in the history of non-Western feminisms, including Armenian, Turkish, Kurdish, Jewish, and Greek women’s movements. She teaches courses on cultural pluralism, women and war, global revolutions, and women and gender in the Middle East and North Africa. Prof. Ekmekcioglu is the winner of the 2016 Levitan Teaching Award in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) which recognizes SHASS teachers “who make a profound difference in the educational experience of MIT undergraduate and graduate students.”

Her first book, which came out in 2006, was 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)] . Her first monograph, Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Beloning in Post-Genocide Turkey, came out of Stanford University Press in early 2016. The book offers the first in-depth study of the aftermath of the 1915 Armenian Genocide and the Armenians who remained in Turkey. In 2022, Ekmekcioglu helped with the publication of a book in Western Armenian. It is the WWI prison memoirs of Vartouhie Calantar (-Nalbandian) one of the Ottoman Armenian (later, American) feminists she studies. She wrote an extensive introduction for this volume. Ekmekcioglu’s new work on Armenian political demands at the 1922-23 Lausanne Conference will appear in 2023 in a book dedicated to the conference.

Dr. Ekmekcioglu is currently collaborating with Dr. Melissa Bilal (UCLA) in compiling a critical anthology of Western Armenian feminism. Titled “Feminism in Armenian: An Interpretive Anthology” this book focuses on twelve Istanbul-born feminists who were active in various parts of the world from 1860s to 1960s. The project also has a digital humanities component, a documentary website that archives these feminists’ published and unpublished work over the years. Ekmekcioglu also written on the demands of Armenians at the 1922-23 Lausanne Conference. She recently helped publish a book in Western Armenian. Vartouhie Calantar(-Nalbandian)’s WWI prison memoirs are

Prof. Ekmekcioglu organizes the Bi-annual McMillan-Stewart Lecture Series on women in the developing world.




Women and Genocide: Insights from the Armenian Genocide,” interview with Dr. Dilar Dirlik for Women and War: A Feminist Podcast, University of Oxford, Refugee Studies Center, 07/1/2022

The Epitome of Loss,” interview with Dr. Ozan Ozavci, The Lausanne Project Podcast, 06/03/2022​



Lerna Ekmekcioglu: The Political Mademoiselle of the Women’s Ward: Vartouhie Calantar-Nalbandian

Paging through Photos and Songs: H. Mark and K. Ghazarosian’s Friendship in Post-Genocide Istanbul

Subjects Offered

Offered Spring 2024

Catalog Subject Faculty Level HASS Category
21H.263 WGS.220

Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa

F 10-1; 2-103
Lerna Ekmekcioglu Seminar HASS-H

Not Offered This Term

Catalog Subject Faculty Level HASS Category

Minorities and Majorities in the Middle East

Lerna Ekmekcioglu Seminar HASS-H
21H.381 WGS.222

Women and War

F 10-1, 2-103
Lerna Ekmekcioglu Seminar HASS-S