All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Jessica K Dallow

Advisory Committee Members

Heather McPherson

Lucy Curzon

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


ORIENTALISM REDUX: INCI EVINER’S HAREM PINAR ZARARSIZ (ART HISTORY) ABSTRACT This thesis examines the 2009 video Harem by Turkish artist Inci Eviner (b. 1956). Eviner’s work centralizes issues of gender in Turkish culture, the history of colonialism, and how historical location informs society at large. Eviner lives and works in Turkey, but exhibits internationally. Harem has been exhibited in Turkey, France, and England. Harem is based on a series of nineteenth-century Orientalist engravings by Antoine Ignace Melling, entitled Intérieur d'une partie du Harem du Grand-Seigneur (Interior of Part of the Harem of the Grand Signor) (1803-1819). Melling’s Harem du Grand-Seigneur was published in the Picturesque Voyage to Constantinople and the Shores of the Bosporus album (1805-1819) edited by Monsieur Treuttel and Monsieur Wurtz. In this thesis, I will discuss the significance of Eviner’s choice to base her work on Melling’s third interior drawing. By recreating Melling’s Harem du Grand-Seigneur in video, Eviner replaces his original figures with women performing tasks, many the antithesis of what audiences might expect to take place in a harem. In so doing, the artist attempts to expose Orientalism’s legacy within contemporary Turkish culture, and especially its impact on contemporary Turkish women’s identity. As such, Harem serves as a critique of Turkey’s contemporary identity crisis as well as Western hegemony, epitomized by Orientalism, in the canon of art history.



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