PhD defence Duygu Erbil: Remembering Deniz Gezmiş

Abstract donker beeld met strepen van licht. Foto: Martin Adams, via Unsplash

On Monday 27 May, Duygu Erbil will defend her PhD dissertation ‘Remembering Deniz Gezmiş’. Gezmiş was a Turkish student leader of the 1968 movement and a Marxist-Leninist urban guerrilla fighter. Alongside his comrades Hüseyin İnan and Yusuf Aslan, he was executed by the state in 1972, following the 1971 military intervention in Turkey.

Today, Gezmiş is one of the most memorable political figures of Turkish history. He is seen by one group as a ‘revolutionary martyr’, by another as ‘Atatürk's youth’, and by some as a ‘victim of anti-democratic forces’. Erbil examines the cultural afterlife of Gezmiş, how these different stories emerged, and how they circulate within Turkish culture.

Cultural afterlife

Erbil's research is part of the Remembering Activism project at Utrecht University. This research focuses on the dynamic and co-constitutive relationship between the cultural remembrance of past activism, the uses of cultural memory in activism, and memory activism (the way activists try to change collective memory).

From there, Erbil's dissertation questions what constitutes remembrance activism and how Gezmiş became an intensely memorable historical figure through decades of cultural representation. Erbil suggests that if we want to understand how a historical figure is remembered, we must take into account the changing historical circumstances that shape cultural production and the political environment.

Start date and time
End date and time
Hybrid: online (click here) and at the Utrecht University Hall
PhD candidate
D. Erbil
Remembering Deniz Gezmiş
PhD supervisor(s)
Professor A. Rigney
Dr A.L. Poletti