Dr Gizem Tongo


Dr. Gizem Tongo is a historian specialising in the visual culture of the late Ottoman Empire.

She holds a doctorate in Oriental Studies from University of Oxford, St John’s College, where she was a Lord Dulverton Scholar and later a Barakat Postdoctoral Fellow. The general focus of her research is the cultural history of the late Ottoman Empire (nineteenth and twentieth centuries), particularly visual and material culture. Her additional areas of interest include nationalism, orientalism, westernization, museology, gender and culture, art historiography, and memorialization and commemoration of the First World War. Tongo has also been involved in curating and writing material for exhibitions, including co-curating an exhibition on a Turkish woman émigré artist Mihri (1885-1954) at Salt Galata Istanbul: Mihri: A Migrant Painter of Modern Times. Currently, she is writing a monograph entitled War, Art, and the End of the Ottoman Empire.


  • D. Phil. University of Oxford, St John's College, Oriental Studies, 2018

  • MA Boğaziçi University, History of Art and Architecture, 2012

  • MA University of Manchester, Post-1900 Literatures, Theories and Cultures, 2007

  • BA Boğaziçi University, Philosophy, 2006

Selected Awards, Fellowships and Grants

  • Barakat Trust Publication Grant, for War, Art, and the End of the Ottoman Empire (May 2019)

  • University of Oxford, Barakat Postdoctoral Fellowship, UK (October 2017-June 2018)

  • Bourse Gerda Henkel du Centre International de Recherche de l'Historial de la Grande Guerre, France (November 2016)

  • University of Oxford, Lord Dulverton Scholarship, UK (2013-2016)

  • Orient-Institut Istanbul, Doctoral Fellowship, Turkey (September 2015-March 2016)

  • British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) / Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah Award, UK (June 2014)

  • Hrant Dink Foundation, Turkey-Armenia Travel Grant, Turkey (May 2014)

Selected Publications

  • “The Long Shadow of a Decade in Turkish Memory: A Centenary of War, 1912-1923” (Review article), Archiv orientální: Journal of African and Asian Studies, Vol. 88, No: 3 (2020): 613-617.
  • “Militarisation and Mobilisation of the Ottoman Art World During the First World War: An Internal Kulturkampf" in Artistic Expressions and the Great War, a Hundred Years On, edited by Sally Debra Charnow (Oxford; Berlin; New York: Peter Lang, forthcoming).

  • “An Ambivalent Patriot: Namık İsmail, the First World War, and the Politics of Remembrance in Turkey”, in Painting, Memory, and the First World War, edited by Margaret Hutchinson and Steven Trout (Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, forthcoming): 85-102.

  • “'Civilisation and Competence': Displaying Ottoman War Paintings to Their Allies” in The Great War in the Middle East: A Clash of Empires, edited by Rob Johnson and James Kitchen (London; New York: Routledge, 2019): 275-307.

  • “Ressam Mihri’nin İstanbul Söyleşisi (1919)” (Interview with Painter Mihri in Istanbul, 1919), Toplumsal Tarih (March 2019): 54-58.

  • Eleni Iliadis (1895-1975): Une artiste grecque ottomane dans l'Istanbul fin-de-siécle", CLIO. Femmes, Genre, Histoire, No: 48 (2018): 43-67.

  • “Between Memory and History: Remembering Johnnies, Mehmets, and the Armenians”, co-authored with Jenny Macleod, in Beyond Gallipoli: New Perspectives on Anzac, edited by Raelene Frances and Bruce Scates (Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2016), 21-34.

  • “Tarih ve Hafıza Arasında: Geç Osmanlı Dönemi Istanbul'unda Bir Ressam; Eleni Iliadis”, Toplumsal Tarih, August (2016): 57-63.

  • “Artist and Revolutionary: Panos Terlemezian as an Ottoman Armenian Painter”, Études arméniennes contemporaines, no. 6, December (2015): 111-153.

  • “Interview with Professor Donald Preziosi” co-authored with Nilay Özlü, Tarih: Graduate History Journal, Issue: 2 (2010): 34-47.

  • “Interview with Professor Gülru Necipoğlu: Ottoman Architecture and the Representation of Identity,” Tarih: Graduate History Journal, Issue: 1 (2009): 5-28.

  • Review: “Wendy Shaw's Ottoman Painting: Reflections of Western Art from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic,” Tarih: Graduate Journal of the History Department, Issue:3 (2013): 88-91.

  • Review: “Janet Wolff's The Aesthetics of Uncertainty,” Interactions: Ege Journal of British and American Studies, Vol. 18.2, (Fall 2009): 165-167.

Guest Edited Journal Issues

  • Guest co-editor: Osmanlı’dan Cumhuriyet’e Bir Kadın Ressam: Mihri (Mihri: A Woman Painter between Empire and Republic) Special Issue, Toplumsal Tarih, co-editor: Özlem Gülin Dağoğlu, March 2019 (in Turkish).

Invited Talks and Museum Lectures


  • Invited Talk: “The Shadow of War: Memory, Identity, and the Great War in Turkey”, Department of Architecture, Middle East Technical University, METU Talks Architectural History, 8 March 2021.

  • Invited Talk: “‘This Grand Slaughter’: Art, Memory, and the First World War in Occupied Istanbul”, at the International Workshop: From Empire to Nation-State: The Ottoman Armistice, Imagined Borders, and Displaced Populations (1918-1923), University of Michigan, 18-19 February 2021.

  • Invited Talk: “Osmalı İstanbul’unda Kadın Sanatçılar ve Bugüne Kalanlar” (Women Artists in Ottoman Istanbul and and Their Legacies), Boğazici University, Nazım Hikmet Kültür ve Sanat Araştırma Merkezi, 6 March 2020.

  • Museum Lecture: “Ottoman Arts of the Book & Modern Ottoman Painting”, Arts of South and Southeast Asia, and the Islamic Middle East, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 8 July 2019.

  • Invited Talk: “Displays of Alliance-Building: Exhibition of Ottoman War Paintings during the First World War”, at the International Conference: Visualizing Cataclysm and Renewal; Visual Culture and War Representations in Central and Eastern Europe in World War One and its Aftermath (1914-1920), Budapest History Museum, Budapest, Hungary, 29-31 May 2019.

  • Invited Talk: “Mihri’ye Bugünden Bakmak” (Conversation: Özlem Gülin Dağoğlu and Gizem Tongo with Ahmet Ersoy), organised in parallel to the exhibition Mihri: A Migrant Painter of Modern Times, at Salt Galata İstanbul, Turkey, 12 March 2019.

  • Invited Talk: “‘Among Civilised Nations’: Exhibiting Ottoman War Paintings in Vienna during the First World War”, Cambridge-Oxford-Soas Workshop on Ottoman Studies, University of Cambridge, UK, June 1-2, 2018.

  • Invited Talk: “War, Art, and the End of the Ottoman Empire”, Khalili Research Centre Lecture Series, University of Oxford, UK, 30 May 2018.

  • Invited Talk: “Imparatorluktan Portreler: Oryantalizm” (Portraits from the Empire: Orientalism), Antalya Kültür Sanat, March 25, 2017.

  • Invited Talk: “Ottoman Art of the First World War,” Conference: Great War in the Middle East 1911-1923, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, London, UK, 20-21 April 2016.

  • Invited Talk: “Picturing the Enemy: The Representation of the ‘Other Side’ in Ottoman and Turkish Gallipoli Paintings,” MHS Public Lectures, The Museum of History of Science, University of Oxford, July 28, 2015.

  • Invited Talk: “The Poetics and Politics of Ottoman Painting during the First World War”, Conference: World War I and the Aesthetics of Empire, Brandeis University, Mendel Center for the Humanities, MA, United States, April 25, 2015.

  • Invited Talk: “Resim, Sanat Himayesi ve Kamusal Alanda Eleştiri: Osmanlı Ressamlar Cemiyeti Üzerine Bir Çalışma, 1909-1918 (“Painting, Artistic Patronage and Criticism in the Public Sphere: A Study of the Ottoman Society of Painters, 1909-1918”), Foundation of Arts and Sciences (BISAV), Istanbul, Turkey, December 2013.

  • Invited Talk: “Osmanlı’da Bir ‘Milli Ressam’ Tahayyülü: Kültürel ve Toplumsal Değişimler Işığında Hoca Ali Rıza ve ‘Göksu Manzarası’ Üzerine” (“Imagination of an Ottoman ‘National Painter’: Hoca Ali Rıza’s ‘Göksu Landscape’ and Cultural and Social Transformations), Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, Istanbul, Turkey, August 2012.

Related Professional Appointments


  • Lecturer (part-time): “Spaces and Practices of Displaying the Past, AH 655” (with Prof. Belgin Turan Özkaya and research assistant Nesrin Erdoğan), Department of Architecture, Middle East Technical University (METU/ODTU), March-June 2021.
  • Tutor, “The Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, 1807-1980: Cultural Transformations,” Department of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, 2018.

  • Substitute Lecturer, “Constantinople: The Formation of An Imperial Capital”, “Court Styles in Ottoman Decorative Arts and the Arts of the Book,” University of Oxford, The Khalili Research Centre, 2015.

  • Teaching Assistant, “The Making of the Modern World” (HIST 105, HIST 106), Boğaziçi University, 2010-2011.

  • Teaching Assistant, “Art Scene and Cultural Analysis” (CAM 201), Istanbul Bilgi University, 2009-2010.

  • Museum Experience, Istanbul Museum of Modern Art; research on the collection of Ottoman and Turkish painting, 2004-2005.


  • Ottoman Studies Group at Oxford (OSGO), member

  • Edward Pococke Society, St John’s College, University of Oxford, member

  • KRC, Khalili Research Centre for the Art and Material Culture of the Middle East, member

  • HIAA (Historians of Islamic Art Association), member

  • BRISMES (The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies), member

  • AHH (Association of Art Historians), member

Contact Details

Email: gizem.tongo@biaa.ac.uk

Telephone: 00 90 312 427 54 87 

Address: The British Institute at Ankara
Atatürk Bulvarı 154, Çankaya, Ankara TR-06690, Turkey 


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