Diplomatic Fashion Shows and Turkish Modernization: a talk with Rustem Ertug Altinay

MAR 10, 2014 | 6:30 PM TO 8:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




March 10, 2014: 6:30 PM-8:30 PM







In 1928, Turkey began to establish a new type of public school known as "the girls' institutes" to educate the country’s new female citizens to be adorned with “the scientific knowledge” and “the modern taste.” As mothers, wives, and professionals, the graduates were expected to play a key role in Turkey’s modernization and nation-building program. Operating as fashion houses, the schools also embarked on developing a national style that would merge “Turkish culture” with “European civilization.” To this end, they combined popular European fashions with dress elements collected from within the borders of the nation-state and labeled as “Turkish.” By the 1940s, the schools were organizing diplomatic fashion shows in honor of political dignitaries visiting Turkey and to represent the country abroad, initiating a performance genre that has persisted to this day.

Rustem Ertug Altinay is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University and a Turkish Cultural Foundation fellow.

Eugenia Paulicelli will offer comments about fashion. She is Professor of Italian at Queens College and Comparative Literature and MALS at The Graduate Center. She is also Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Concentration in Fashion Studies at the Graduate Center.
Jonathan Shannon will offer comments about performance. He is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Hunter and the Graduate Center.

Anthony C. Alessandrini will offer comments about Turkey and Turkishness. He is Associate Professor of English at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY and the Co-Editor on Turkey for Jadaliyya E-Zine.