Painting the Peasant in Modern Turkey

with Seçil Yılmaz

hosted by Chris Gratien and Sam Dolbee

During the interwar period, nationalist and socialist movements throughout the world looked to the peasant as both the source and object of state programs wherein establishing a link between the center and the provinces was a critical part of fostering the sense of nation devised by elite intellectuals. In Turkey, the ideas of Ziya Gökalp regarding the importance of the Anatolian villager in the development of Turkish national culture are a prominent example of how interwar nationalists saw the peasant as the stuff of the nation. Within this context, various programs designed to link the center and the periphery both economically and culturally emerged, and in this episode, Seçil Yılmaz discusses one such project, which sent professionally-trained Turkish painters into the Anatolian countryside over the period of 1938 to 1943 to create artistic depictions of the Turkish nation.


Seçil Yılmaz is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at City University of New York studying disease and medicine in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey (see
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Georgetown University (see
Sam Dolbee is a PhD candidate in the department of Middle East Studies at New York University

Episode No. 114
Release date: 19 July 2013


Images of the Yurt Gezileri paintings have been published by the Milli Reasürans Art Gallery in Istanbul in a book entitled Yurt gezileri ve yurt resimleri


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Karaömerlioğlu, Asım M. “Tek Parti Döneminde Halkevleri ve Halkçılık”, Toplum Bilim 88, (Bahar 2001)

Koçak, Orhan. “1920’lerden 1970’lere Kültür Politikaları” in Modern Türkiye'de Siyasi Düşünce: Kemalizm Murat Belge (ed.). İstanbul : İletişim Yayınları, 2004.

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Yurt Gezileri ve Yurt Resimleri, İstanbul: Milli Reasürans Sanat Galerisi, 1998.


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