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 in Turkish and Armenian lands in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her work focuses on minority-majority relations 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.” Prof. Ekmekcioglu organizes the Bi-annual McMillan-Stewart Lecture Series on women in the developing world.


Her first book, 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)], is a co-edited volume published in Turkish in 2006. Her first monograph, Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey (Stanford University Press, 2016), is the winner of Der Mugrdechian Society for Armenian Studies Outstanding Book Award. Recovering Armenia offers the first in-depth study of the aftermath of the 1915 Armenian Genocide from the perspective of survivors who remained in Turkey. In 2022, Prof. Ekmekcioglu wrote an extensive introduction for the Western Armenian publication of the WWI prison memoirs of Vartouhie Calantar (-Nalbandian, Zarevand) one of the Ottoman Armenian (later, American) feminists she studies. She also wrote an article in English about Calantar in Documenting the Armenian Genocide. Prof.Ekmekcioglu’s latest article, published in They All Made Peace – What is Peace?: The 1923 Lausanne Treaty and the New Imperial Order (Gingko, 2023), is about the Armenian political demands for autonomy within Turkey at the 1922–23 Lausanne Conference. Her work on communist feminist Armenian women in Paris after WWI will appear in 2024 in Études arméniennes contemporaines.


Prof. Ekmekcioglu is currently collaborating with Dr. Melissa Bilal (UCLA) to compile 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 the 1860s to the 1960s. The project includes a digital humanities component: a documentary website and online exhibition that archives these feminists’ published and unpublished work.





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

Not Offered This Term