FA Seminar: “Counter-discoursive Strategies from Contemporary Art against Gender Ideology Discourse in Turkey”, Eser Selen, 12:30Noon June 13 (EN)

The Department of Fine Arts is pleased to invite Bilkent students, faculty, and friends to a lunchtime lecture by Eser Selen:

Counter-discoursive Strategies from Contemporary Art against Gender Ideology Discourse in Turkey

Eser Selen

As a competing framework, “gender ideology” seeks to dismantle queer/feminist conceptions of gender equality and challenge the idea that heteronormative order is structured hierarchically. The prevailing gender ideology discourse in the Turkish media creates a fertile ground for further breeding violence against women and gender inequality. In this seminar, I will trace counter-discoursive strategies against gender ideology discourses from contemporary art through the works of Erinç Seymen, Zeren Göktan and Jujin. These three artists’ works display major cases of how gender ideology discourse operates while simultaneously suggesting strategies for resilience to anti-gender attacks in the context of Turkey. Seymen’s painting New Genital 2 (2002) reflects on how excluding gender and sexual diversity from official state policy perpetuates a gender-biased outlook and further exacerbates gender inequality. In her photographic meditation on becoming-woman entitled Deep Blue Series (2017-2023), Göktan seemingly underscores that the needed gender-political transformation can only happen with the participation of all subjectivities that claim equality. Jujin’s performance Sehe Mehe (1998), alarmingly depicts the marginalization of women, Kurdish or otherwise, while highlighting the fundamental challenges surrounding the binary nature of Turkish citizenship. As much as these three works draw attention to violence against citizens who do not conform to the state-sanctioned gender ideology discourse, each underscores the issue of sexuality as a matter of subjectivity rather than a marker of identity.


Eser Selen received her Bachelors (1997) and Masters degree in Fine Arts at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey (1999) and Masters degree in Performance Studies at New York University, US (2002). Dr. Selen’s research interests are at the intersection of gender and sexuality studies, contemporary art, design and performance. Her research often addresses discourses about racial, ethnic, gender and sexual inequalities with a critical stance and in a transnational context. Her writings appeared in edited volumes and such journals as the International Journal of Communication, Gender, Place, and Culture, Women & Performance, and Cultural Trends. She is currently completing her monograph, Contesting Gender and Sexuality through Performance: Sacrifice, Modernity and Islam in Contemporary Turkey, under contract with Edinburgh University Press, to be published in 2024. Selen is also a visual artist whose work encompasses performance art, installation, and video. She has exhibited and performed in Europe, the United States, the Middle East, and Australia. She lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey.

The details of the lecture are as follows:

Konu: Bilkent FA talk- Eser Selen
Saat: 13 Haz 2023 12:30 ÖS İstanbul

This is an online seminar. To obtain seminar details please send a message to department.