Seda Altuğ

Seda Altuğ,
Assistant Professor

The Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History 
Boğaziçi University
34342 Bebek-Istanbul / Turkey


+90-212-359 44 82

+90-212-265 80 03 (Atatürk Institute)


- Cambridge University, Department of Anthropology, Post-doctorate   

January 2012-March 2015


- Utrecht University, PhD                                                                          

June 2011

Faculty of History and Culture

Title of the dissertation “Sectarianism in the Syrian Jazira: Community, land and violence in the memories of World War I and the French mandate (1915-1939)”


- IFPO (Institut Français du Proche Orient)                                                  

September 2003 - June 2004

Arabic course


- Leiden University, Advanced Masters Program                                          

Sept 2002

Centre For Non-western Studies                                                                                  


- Boğaziçi University, MA                                                                          

1999- 2002                                                                       

The Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History (ATA)


- New York University (NYU)                                                                    

 Spring 1999

Centre for Near Eastern Studies                                            


- Boğaziçi University, BA                                                                          

1993 - 1998

Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences                                          

Department of Economics


Instructor at the Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History (ATA)         

September 2011-

Boğaziçi University

Lecturer in the Department of Political Science  and International Relations

February 2011

Istanbul Bilgi University


Adviser to the project  “Coping with Social Trauma Healing our Traumas, Building a Democratic Future for our Society”
June 2010

TIHV (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey)


Project assistance of the project  “Towards A Blueprint for Reconciliation: Engaging the Civil Society and Capacity Building” 

Jan 2010-Jan 2011

Anadolu Kültür                                                                                              

Research assistant in the Department of History and Culture

Utrecht University                                                                                    

Sept. 2003-Dec 2008


Teaching assistant in the Department of History,                                     

Sept 2002- Sept 1999

Istanbul Yeditepe University


Instructor of HIS 322- (State and Society in the Middle East)                                 

Spring 2001

Istanbul Yeditepe University


Teaching assistant in the Department of Economics                                 

Feb. 1999- Sept. 1998

Istanbul Bilgi University                                                                               


Research assistant in “Kuştepe Sözlü Tarih Araştırması”                            

 Jan 1999- Nov. 1998

(Kuştepe Oral History Research) conducted by Istanbul Bilgi University; the results of the project were published as a book.                            


Research assistant to Hakan Yılmaz on the project                                   

Oct. 1998- Feb. 1998

“3x25 Cumhuriyet Sergisi” (3x25 Republic Exhibition)

organized by Türkiye Ekonomik ve Toplumsal Tarih Vakfı (Turkish History Foundation)



-Edited book, (with Yael Navaro, Zerrin Özlem Biner and Alice von Bieberstein) Reverberations: Violence Across Time and Space, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021).


-Research article, “Citizenship and Politics in Syria: Violence, Refugees and Colonialism (1921-1939), British Journal of Middle Eastern Politics (accepted, DOI number in December 2021).


-Research article, “New Turkey: Aspiration for Regional Hegemony and Anxiety of National Sovereignty”, Journal of Genocide Research, (online publication) December 2021. (DOI number in December 2021).


-Book chapter, “Culture of Dispossession in the late Ottoman and Early Republican Turkey: Land, Ethnoreligious Difference and Violence” in Yael Navaro, Zerrin Özlem Biner, Alice von Bieberstein and Seda Altuğ (eds.), Reverberations: Violence Across Time and Space, (Philadelphia: UPenn Press, 2021).


- Book chapter, “The Turkish Syrian Border and the Politics of Difference in Turkey and Syria (1915-1939)” in Matthieu Cimino (ed.), Exploring Syria’s Borders & Boundaries, (NY, London: Routledge, 2020)


-Book chapter, “Making of Refugee-ness and Armenians in French Syria (1915- 1939): Religion, Land, History”, in Antranik Dakessian (ed.) Armenians in Syria, (Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2018).


-Interview with Lerna Ekmekcioğlu, “The Armenian Genocide”, in Esra Ozyurek, Emrah Altindis and Gaye Ozpinar (eds.), Authoritarianism and Resistance in Turkey: Conversations on Democratic and Social Challenges (NY: Springer, 2018)


-Interview with Saba Mahmood, “Secularism and religious difference in the Middle East: in search of a critical global genealogy”, New Perspectives on Turkey, 54 (2), 2016, pp. 131-140


- Introduction (co-authored with Pınar Şenoğuz and Latife Akyüz)  titled “Sınırlar ve Türkiye’de Sınır Çalışmaları” in Toplum ve Bilim, no. 131, 2015, pp. 3- 11. 


-Research article titled “The Syrian Uprising and Turkey’s Ordeal with the Kurds”, Dialectical Anthropology, vol. 37, no. 1, 2014, pp. 123- 130.


-Article “1915 öncesinde Diyarbakır Kırsalında Ermeniler ve Kürtler” in Diyarbakır ve Çevresi Toplumsal ve Ekonomik Tarihi, (İstanbul: Hrant Dink Vakfı, 2013), pp. 80- 91.


-Issue editor of the journal الآداب (al-adab), (Beirut: al-adab press, November-December 2011). (,


- Article (co-authored with Benjamin White), “Frontières et pouvoir d’État: la frontière turco-syrienne dans les années 1920 et 1930”, Vingtième Siècle, no. 103, September 2009.


-Article “Suriye Arap Milliyetçiliğinde Vatan ve Suriyelilik (1919- 1939), (Homeland and Syrianess in Syrian Arab nationalism, 1919-1939), Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Dergisi, June 2008.


-Article titled “Popular nationalism and the city: Antioch during the French mandate”, Chronos, University of Balamand, Tripoli, Spring 2006.


-Review article on the conference titled “Recherches récentes sur le Bilad al-Sham a l’époque Ottomane (1517- 1918)” in Tarih ve Toplum Yeni Yaklaşımlar, Iletişim Yayınları, 1, Bahar 2005.


-Article titled “Misak-ı Milli, Sınırları Zorlayan Tartışmalar”, Toplumsal Tarih, Tarih Vakfı Publications, 118, October 2003.


-MA thesis titled “Between Colonial and National Dominations: Antioch under the French Mandate (1920- 1939)” submitted to Boğaziçi University, Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish Studies, 2002.


-Several articles and interviews about contemporary issues on Syria and the wider Middle East in journals and newspapers published in Turkey, US and Lebanon.


  • Conference Papers


Presentation titled “Epistemology and Gender in the Field of Political Economy in Syria” in the roundtable “Gender and Political Economy Across the Middle East”, MESA 2021, 30 November 2021.

Presentation titled “Cultural Pluralism in Aleppo” in the “Unspoken memories, untold stories” organized by Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, 28 May 2021.

Presentation titled “Refugeedom in Syria (1915-1946): Colonialism, Local Politics and Land”, IFEA, 28 April 2021.

Presentation titled, “Turkey in Syria (2011- 2020): Politics, Demography, Infrastructure”, Arab Council for Social Sciences (ACSS) workshop on New Regionalisms in the Middle East, Beirut/London, 27 March 2021.

Presentation titled “Turkish Orientalism and changing images of the

Arab in Istanbul (1936- 1990)” in Arab Presence in Turkey/ Présences Arabes en Turquie, Istanbul, IFEA (French Institute for Anatolian Studies), 14 February 2020.

Discussant at the panel entitled “Refugees, Doctors, and Diseases in the Making of Post-Ottoman Levant”, MESA 2020, October 5-17 2020.

Presentation titled, “Shifting Regional Dynamics in the Middle East”, at the ACSS (Arab Council for Social Research) Consultation Meeting on Shifting Regional Dynamics of the Middle East: Hierarchies New and Old, SOAS, Beirut, 24- 25 October 2019.

Co-organizer with Pascale Ghazaleh of the panel “Property and Citizenship Practices in the Middle East” and presentation titled “Conflicts over Land and Sectarianism in Syria under the French Mandate”, MESA 2019, 14- 17 November 2019.

Presentation and participant in “Fragment – Power – Public: Narrative, Authority, and Circulation in Archival Work”, EUME Academy, Forum Transregionale Studien, 26 August- 6 September 2019, Beirut.

Presentation titled “Refugees, Politics and State‐making in Syria under the French Mandate (1921 ‐ 1946)”, Gaziantep University, The Global Refugee and Migration Congress, 15 October 2019.

Presentation titled “Surviving and Reviving in exile: Syrian and Armenian intellectuals encounters in Syria and Lebanon (1921- 1946)”, at the Post-WWI Exiles in Transregional Context, Freie Universität & Centre Marc Bloch, 26- 27 September 2019.

Co-organizer with Pascale Ghazaleh of the workshop “Property and Citizenship: Histories of Contestation and Entitlement” and presentation titled “Property, Violence and Politics of Difference in French-Syria (1921-1946)” Freie Universität & EUME, 8-9 July 2019.

 Presentation titled “Materiality, Violence, Memory in Syria and Turkey”, at the Conference "Legacies of World War I", Freie Universität, 4-5 July  2019.

Presentation titled “State, people, land, and violence in Syria, nineteenth to twenty-first centuries” at the panel Property Rights and Political Rights in Egypt, Syria, and Turkey (Nineteenth to Twenty-First Centuries), BRISMES 2019, 25 June 2019.

Organizer and Speaker at the Roundtable titled Debating Sectarianism and Minorities in the Middle East, MESA 2018, 15- 18 October, 2018.

Presentation titled, “Shifting Regional Dynamics in the Middle East”, at the ACSS (Arab Council for Social Research) Consultation Meeting on Shifting Regional Dynamics of the Middle East: Hierarchies New and Old, SOAS, London, 24- 25 October 2018.

Presentation titled ,“Religion, violence, land: Refugees, locals and the state in Syria (1921-1939)” at Discourses on Refugees, Practices of Belonging: Refugee Regimes in the Making of the Middle East, 1920-1946, Neuchâtel, 11-12 October 2018.

Presentation titled, “Beyond sectarianism: Political violence in Syria under the French mandate” at Political Violence in Syria: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Utrecht University, 13-14 September 2018.

Presentation titled ,“Politics of Memory in Syria and Negotiating Absences and Excesses in the Archives”, at Out of the Archives. New archival practices: Towards alternative historiographies, voices and space, Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin, 12- 14 July 2018.

Presentation titled, “Exiled to and from Syria: Changing representations of Syrian emigrés/immigrants in the 20th century” at Endangered' Scholars and 'Rescue Policies, Recent Research and Future Prospects, Centre March Bloch, Berlin, 27- 29 June 2018.

Presentation titled, “Conflict over lands and rivers in French-Syria (1921-1939)” at Beyond Circulation: The Intellectual and the Material in the History of the Arab Nahda, University of Oxford, 21- 23 June 2018.

Presentation titled “The minority question in Syria under the French mandate (1921- 1946)”, Central European University, Centre for Religious Studies, 15 February 2018.

Presentation titled, “Religion, colonial politics and refugees in Syria under the French Mandate (1921- 1946)” in Arab Traditions of Antisectarianism, Rice University, Houston, 1-2 December 2017.

Presentation titled, “Governing Land and Property in Syria and the Colonial Legacies of Sectarianism, EUME, Forum Transregionale Studien, 29 November 2017,

Presentation titled, “Contested sovereignties along the Syrian border (1921-1939)” in the Conference “Exploring Syria’s Borders & Boundaries, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, 15- 16 November 2017.

Presentation titled, “Violence, Land and Nation in Forced Displacement in Turkey/Syria (1915- 1939)”, in the panel “Thinking About the Middle East Through Movement”, BRISMES 2017, Edinburgh, 06 July 2017.

Presentation titled, “Le Paradis à l’Ombre des Sabres : Colonial Minority Politics and the Contested Pillars of Making of French-Syria (1921-1939), in the Middle East Un-Rebound: Crisis, Response and Recovery over the Longue Durée (1100-2100), , Queens’s University, Kingston, Ontario, 28- 29 April 2017.

Presentation titled, “The wars in and around Syria” (2011- 2016) in the symposium “Localities of Condensation: Connected Geographies of War”, SOAS, London, 10 December 2016.

Discussant of the panel “Minorities vis-à-vis Powers” in the conference “A New Middle East: Persistent Authoritarianism(s) or Prospects for Democratization?”, Marmara University, Istanbul, 7- 8 November 2015.

Presentation titled, “Overseeing the pre-1915 lands and layering power in present-day Batman", in Reverberations: Violence Across time and Space, Cambridge University, ERC, Remnants of the Past Project, Galata Rum Okulu, Istanbul, 26- 28 March 2015.

Discussant of the panel “The Limits of Propaganda” in the conference “Ideology, Propaganda, and War: The Ottomans in the Great War”, Koç University, Istanbul, 10 January 2015.

Presentation titled, “Making of refugee-ness in French-Syria (1921-1939)”, in The First World War and its Aftermath, Gingko,  SOAS, London 2014, 6- 7 December 2014.

Presentation titled “State, People and Violence in the Making of the Turco-Syrian Frontier (1921- 1939)”, MESA 2014, 21- 24 November 2015.

Presentation titled, "Suriye'de ayaklanma ve muhalefetler" in Üçüncü Yılında Suriye Krizi Konferansı, Marmara University, 24 April 2014. 

Presentation titled, “Memories of Violence in Syria during World War”, in 1. Cihan Harbi Osmanlı Cephesinde Yeni Bir Şey Var: Cihan Harbi’ne Yeniden Bakmak, Orient Institute, History Foundation and Bilgi University, 10 April 2014.

Presentation titled, “Kurds in the age of Middle Eastern Revolutions”, Cornell University, 21 March 2014.

Presentation titled, “Claims to self-rule in the fever of war in Syria”, Susan Buck-Moors Translocal Commons, Boğazici University, 31 October 2013.

Presentation titled, “The Pillars of making of French-Jazira and Sectarianism”, in the panel Cities of Stone: Issues in the New Social History of Syria, Part II, MESA 2013, October 10-13 2013.

Presentation titled, “Making minorities in the late-Ottoman period: Armenians and Kurds”, Governmentalizing minorities in the Middle East: from the late Ottoman period to the present day, University of Cambridge, 13 –14 September 2013.

Presentation titled, “Debating Syrianness in French-Syria (1936- 1939)”, MESA 2012, Denver, USA, 16- 20 November 2012.

Birmingham University, History Department, Roundtable organized by Benjamin White, “The end of the Ottoman Empire as twentieth-century history” 26.November 2012.

Presentation titled, “Globalizing the local: politics in French Syria, 1921-39”, The world in the Middle East: new perspectives on the global in Middle Eastern history, 1868-1968, Cambridge University, 10 April 2012.

Presentation titled “Suriye’deki ayaklanmanın politik-ekonomisi” at 36. İktisatçilar Haftası Yüzyılın Başında Değişimin Krizi, Gerçekler, Olanaklar, Sınırlar, İstanbul University, 21-23 March 2012.

Presentation titled “Kurdo-Armenians in the rural parts of Diyarbekir in the pre-1915 world”, at workshop on the Social and Economic History of Diyarbakır and the Region, Hrant Dink Foundation, 11-13 November 2011.

Presentation titled “Reconceptualising Armeniannes in Syria from the French mandate period to post-colonial times (1921- 2000)”, at the symposium "Contextualising Community - Diasporas of the Modern Middle East" co-organized by CASAW (The Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World and IMES (Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies), University of Edinburgh, 27-28 October 2011.

 Presentation titled, “From the anti-refugee discourse to good refugee vs. bad refugee: Transformation in the notion of refugee in Syria (1915- 1946)”, MESA 2010, San Diego, USA, 18- 21 November 2010.

(one of the two organizers of the same panel titled Refugees in Syria (1915- 1948))

Presentation titled, "Remembering the pre-1915 World among the Refugees in Syria: Religion, Land, History at the conference of "What is Left Behind: Remnants of Past Inhabitants and their Placce in Turkey's Present" at Sabancı University, 1-2 September 2010. 

Presentation titled “1915 Armenian Genocide in the Syrian-Arabic sources”, at the conference of “The state of Art of Armenian Genocide Research: Historiography, Sources and Future Directions”, Clark University, Boston, USA, 9-1O April 2010.

Presentation titled, “Religion, community and state: Sectarianism in the memories of WW1 and French mandate in Syria” at MESA 2009, Boston, USA, 21-24 November 2009

(one of the two organizers of the same panel titled “Faces of Sectarianism in the Levant”)

Presentation titled “The colonial power and the politics of difference in French-Jazira”, at a research workshop called France & the Arab World, 1600 -, University of Edinburgh, CASAW (Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World), 15-16 September 2009.

Presentation titled “Making of a Minority Identity in the Turkish-Syrian Border under the French Mandate, (1920-1939)” at MESA 2008, , Washington DC, USA, 21-25 November 2008.

Presentation titled “Making of communal identities on the Turkish-Syrian Frontier: Kessab in Comparative Perspective” in UCLA Series on Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces, The Armenian Communities of the North-eastern Mediterranean: Kessab, Musa Dagh, Dort-Yol, 29 February 2008.

Presentation titled “The memories of the French mandate in Syrian Jazira (1921- 1946) and the construction of Syriac community: land/geography, culture, history” in the Conference of the German Anthropological Association, in the workshop Re-thinking History, Memory and Accountability in the Anthropology of Middle East, October 2007.

Presentation titled “History, Community, and Land: The Memories of the French Mandate in Syrian Jazira (1921–1946) and the Construction of Christian Identity” in 22nd Annual Middle East History and Theory Conference (MEHAT) at University of Chicago in May 2007.

Participant to the thematic conversation group “Majorities and Minorities in the Middle East and North Africa” which holds regular meetings at MESA every year.

Presentation titled “The Construction of Syriac Christian Identity in French Mandated Syria (1921- 1946):  Flight, Community and Land” at the Oxford Symposium on Transnationalism in the Mediterranean, May 2006.

Presentation titled “Memories of Violence, making of a Christian identity in Syria” in Leiden University, April 2006.

Présentation in Ecole Doctorale in IFEA, (Institut Français d’études Anatoliennes, Istanbul titled as “Pouvoirs centraux, instances locales en Méditerranée - XVIIIe-XXe siècles”, 26 October 2005.

Participation to the conference titled “Recherches récentes sur le Bilad al-Sham à l’époque Ottomane (1517- 1918)” between the May 28- June 2 2004 in Beirut.

Pesentation titled “Antioch between National and Colonial Dominations: The Sanjak of Alexandretta during the French Mandate (1920- 1939)” presented in the MESA Annual Meeting, November 2003, Alaska.

Presentation titled “Antioch under the French mandate”, in a session d’études doctorales in IFEA between 14 and19 April 2002 on La ville de la Méditerranée orientale et méridionale. XIXe-XXe siècles.