Yasemin Gencer is a scholar of Islamic art and civilization specializing in the history of Ottoman and modern Turkish art and print culture. She is the author of multiple articles on printing and the early Turkish Republican popular press and publishes a research and translation blog entitled Today in 1920s Turkey. Gencer is also preparing for publication her English translation of Celal Nuri's Hatem ül-Enbiya (1914), an Ottoman Turkish scholarly monograph on the life of the Prophet Muhammad to be published with Edinburgh University Press.
She was an Affiliate Scholar at Indiana University’s Institute for Advanced Study (2020-2023) and founding member of Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online where she also served as Content and Captions Coordinator. Gencer has been teaching Islamic Art History courses at Wayne State University since Fall 2020 and recently received a General Education Teaching Award for her Islamic Art and Architecture course.
Print and photography are the main mediums that I study. My primary academic interests lie in the discipline of art history which allows me to examine the role of images, especially mass-produced ones, in recording and conveying historical events, ideas, and trends. Translation (linguistic and visual) comprises my secondary academic interest, as it is an essential part of my research process and my familiarity with it informs how I approach both scholarly communication and teaching. Likewise, my focus on print, especially periodicals and illustrated gazettes, have afforded me the opportunity to think and write about literacy, both textual and visual, and consider the expanses and limits of mass communication in the modern age.
Degrees and Certifications
- Ph.D. in Art History, Indiana University, Bloomington (2016)
- M.A. in Central Eurasian Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington (2008)
- B.A. in Anthropology and Art History (double major), Indiana University, Bloomington (2006)
- Ottoman Art and Architecture (Fall 2023)
- Islamic Art and Architecture (Fall 2020, 2021, and 2022)
- Image and Visual Culture in the Modern Muslim World (Winter 2021, 2022, 2023).
Primary Research Interest
My primary research interests revolve around print and visual culture of the late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic. I am especially interested in the early 20th century and how ideologies such as nationalism, secularism, and even modernism were conceived of and reflected in publications, especially mass media. To this end, my current research project and monograph 1920s Turkey: Image, Print, and Modernity, focuses on the textual-visual components of periodicals, mainly how political cartoons, captioned illustrations, and photographs formed and informed a modern reading public at a pivotal moment when the Ottoman Empire was waning and the new Turkish Republic taking shape in the 1920s.
- “Mustafa Kemal, Photography, and Image in 1920s-Turkish Media.” In: Regime Change: Essays on Islamic Art from the 2021 HIAA Symposium, eds. Christiane Gruber and Bihter Esener (London: Gingko, 2023, forthcoming). “On Closed Captions, Access, and Teaching: Khamseen Tales and Suggestions,” Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online. (2021)
- “Translation, Print Media, and Image in Arab Modern Art,” Review of Middle East Studies, 54/1 (2020): 37–49.
- “Face Value: Censorship and the Emergence of Mustafa Kemal in Turkish Political Cartoons (1921–1923),” Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association, vol. 5/2 (2018), 119–146.
- “We Are Family: Child and Nationhood in Early Turkish Republican Cartoons (1923–1928),” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, vol. 32/2 (2012), 294–309.