Date of Degree
David A. Gerstner
Film and Media Studies | History | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Politics and Social Change | Television
Film, Cinema, LGBTI+, Turkey, Queer, Neoliberalism
In my thesis, I examine the intersections between liberalism, neoliberal globalism, and LGBTI+ visibility and identity politics, through films that present “openly” non-normative sexualities through cis/transgender male, female, or non-binary characters in the new cinema of Turkey. First, I survey existing scholarship on how liberal capitalism impacts the formation of LGBTI+ subjectivities and identity politics. Furthermore, I trace how non-normative sexualities, practices, and discourses evolved along with socioeconomic and political shifts in the Turkish Republic following the Ottoman Empire. Accordingly, I review Turkey’s adoption of neoliberal ideologies in the 1980s and how these ideologies engage with its local, heterogenous gender and sexuality discourses, performances, and representations in films. I argue that along with neoliberal ideologies there is a reemergence and increase in the visibility of LGBTI+ identities in the public and media spheres. Secondly, I scrutinize the ways in which films imagine their non-heterosexual characters, remark on identity politics, and contribute to or disavow hetero- and homonormative discourses in the Turkish national context. To that end, I do textual and formal analysis of five films, Dönersen Islık Çal (1992), Gece, Melek ve Bizim Çocuklar (1994), Il Bagno Turco – Hamam (1997), Anlat Istanbul (2005) and Tamam Mıyız? (2013), written and directed by well-known directors of Turkish origin. Consequently, I compare them with respect to their release dates, which reflect the political temperaments of their times in relation to the LGBTI+ politics. Finally, I argue that, despite the increase in the visibility of LGBTI+ identities in the Turkish media landscape, the recent filmic representations of LGBTI+ narratives are imbued with acceptance and respectability politics aligning themselves with the ideals of global neoliberalism, whereas the earlier films challenge the persistent stereotypes, gender norms, and the status quo.
Erdem, Azmi Mert, "İbne, Gey, Lubunya: A Queer Critique of LGBTI+ Discourses in the New Cinema of Turkey" (2019). CUNY Academic Works.