Dr Gizem Tongo is a historian specialising in the visual and material culture of the late Ottoman Empire. Her research and publications to date have sought to present the cosmopolitan and multicultural aspects of the Ottoman cultural past and a new reading of its intellectual milieu; one in which Levantine, foreign, women, non-Muslim as well as Muslim artists, intellectuals, and their work have the place they deserve.
Dr Gizem Tongo holds a doctorate in Oriental Studies from University of Oxford, St John’s College, where she was a Lord Dulverton Scholar and later a lecturer and a Barakat Postdoctoral Scholar. Before Oxford, she received her BA in Philosophy from Bogazici University and holds two master’s degrees, one in Post-1900 Literatures, Theories, and Cultures (Manchester University) and one in History (Bogazici University).
Dr Gizem Tongo is particularly interested in the relationship between war and culture during conflict and its aftermath. She received awards and grants from, among others, the University of Oxford, the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, the Orient-Institut Istanbul, Hrant Dink Foundation, and the International Research Centre of the Historial de la Grande Guerre de Péronne. She has also been involved in curating and writing material for exhibitions, including co-curating an exhibition on a Turkish woman artist in 2019 at Salt Galata Istanbul: “Mihri: A Migrant Painter of Modern Times”. Currently, Dr Gizem Tongo is working as a postdoctoral research fellow at the British Institute At Ankara (BIAA) for a history project about the Armistice Period and Istanbul (1918-1923).
During her academic year at Oxford as a Barakat scholar (2017-2018), she conducted three research projects. The first was the completion of an article on an Ottoman Greek woman artist from late Ottoman Istanbul, Eleni Iliadis (1895-1975), and the reasons for her invisibility in Turkish art history writing and cultural memory. Dr Gizem Tongo’s paper, titled “Eleni Iliadis: An Ottoman Greek Woman Painter in End-of-Empire Istanbul” was published (both in English and French) in the bi-annual French history journal Clio: Women, Gender, History (2018). Her second project was another paper, reworking material from her D.Phil thesis about an Ottoman art exhibition curated in Vienna in 1918 (Ausstellung türkischer Maler), and was published in 2019 in an edited volume, The Great War in the Middle East: A Clash of Empires (Routledge). Dr Gizem Tongo’s final research project was the revision of her doctoral dissertation as a book manuscript and, thanks to a generous book grant from the Barakat Trust (2019), she is currently completing her monograph entitled War, Art, and the End of the Ottoman Empire.