Hollanda Araştırma Enstitüsü  -  Nederlands Instituut in Turkije

Performing Modernity: Atatürk on Film (1919-1938)

Enis Dinç (University of Amsterdam)

In my research project, I examine the historical changes in the image of Atatürk and the involvement of cinema in the production of concepts of the nation and cultural memory. It is my contention that the creation and manipulation of Atatürk's representation in media has had important effects on the transformations in the political and cultural life of Turkey, making it a crucial element in the construction of national identity and the country’s global political positioning. I analyze a selection of films from Atatürk’s lifetime in order to reveal the relations between media and power, and more specifically the making of a “great man” and the modern nation state in the early twentieth century.

A significant part of the films and documents concerning my research are located in Turkish Film & TV Institute at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Beşiktaş, Istanbul and the Turkish General Staff Archives (ATESE) in Ankara. The central location of NIT was a great advantage to access these and other research facilities. Moreover, it allowed me to discover and enjoy Istanbul’s social and cultural life. During my stay, I received great assistance from the friendly staff of the NIT team, particularly from Dr. Fokke Gerritsen and Güher Gürmen, for which I am deeply grateful. I enjoyed my stay at the NIT and would like to recommend it to all the academics, who would like to conduct research in Turkey.