Tuğçe Kayaal

Tuğçe Kayaal

Assistant Professor, History

swipe to see more

Tuğçe Kayaal is a historian of the modern Middle East and Islamic world. She received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and completed the Women's Studies Certificate Program in the same university. Her research and teaching interests incorporate sociocultural history of the late Ottoman Empire and the early Republic of Turkey; history of childhood and youth sexuality; history of bodies and sexualities in the Middle East; love, intimacy, and sexual desire in the late Ottoman and the Early Republic of Turkey; queer youth cultures in the Middle East; discourses of sexual deviancy in the Ottoman Empire. Kayaal's dissertation, "Wartime Bodies: Politics of Sexuality and War Orphans in the Late Ottoman Empire (1913-1923)," explores the efforts the Ottoman Empire took to regulate sexual behaviors of war orphans during the Balkan Wars (1912-1913) and World War I (1914-1918). Her research investigates how age-, sex-, ethnicity-, and religion-based categories intertwine with and mutually inform each other in cultivating colonial subjects. She published her research in academic journals and edited volumes.

Kayaal's research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of social and cultural history(ies), queer studies, feminist studies, and childhood studies. Before coming to Furman, Kayaal designed and taught courses on the history of love, intimacy, and queer youth culture in the Middle East and children and youth in the Middle East. At Furman, she teaches courses on the history of early-modern and modern Middle East and offers upper-level courses exploring histories of queer intimacies, gender, and sexuality in the Middle East.

Kayaal is also a committed mentor and instructor devoted to fostering a creative, inclusive, and collaborative learning environment in her classes and on campus. She worked on a research project on gender-based violence and sexual harassment project in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan. Kayaal also worked as a graduate student instructional consultant at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) at the University of Michigan and offered peer-consultation services for teaching assistants on strategies for inclusive teaching and collaborative learning.

Honors & Awards

  • Holstein Dissertation Fellowship, Department of Religious Studies, UC Riverside (2020-2021)
  • McGuigan Prize, Best Graduate Paper on Gender and Sexuality, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Michigan (2019)
  • Institute for the Humanities, A. Bartlett Giamatti Graduate Fellow, University of Michigan
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan
  • Community of Scholars Fellowship, The Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan


  • Ph.D., University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Near Eastern Studies
  • M.A., Sabancı University, History
  • B.A, Marmara University, Political Science and International Relations

Research Interests

  • Social and Cultural Histor(ies) of the Middle East and North Africa
  • History of Childhood and Youth Sexuality; Gender and Sexuality in Islamic Cultures and Law
  • Body and Medicine in Islam
  • Homoeroticism and Heteronormativity
  • Historical Representations of Queer Youth; Gender, War, and Militarization
  • Colonialism; Post-Colonial Legacies
  • Queer Youth Cultures in the Middle East; Global Histor(ies) of Love and Intimacy
  • Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East.Research Languages:
  • Turkish (Native speaker), English (Bilingual proficiency), Ottoman Turkish (Advanced), French (Intermediate), Western Armenian (Intermediate), German (Reading proficiency), Arabic (Reading proficiency)


Journal Articles and Essays Published in Books:

  • “‘Twisted Desires:’ Boy Lovers and Male-Male Cross-Generational Sex in the Late Ottoman Empire (1912-18),” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 46, no.1 (Spring 2020); “Breastfeeding: Ottoman Empire,” Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (Leiden: Brill, 2019)Book Review:
  • Maksudyan, Nazan, “Ottoman Children and Youth during World War I,” The Journal of History of Childhood and Youth 13, no.3 (Fall 2020).

Additional Professional Activities

Organized Panels and Workshops:

  • “Archiving Sexualities and Trans/Queer Affects from the Middle East and Mediterranean,” National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) (September 2021).
  • “Composing Sexed Subjects: Love, Affection, and Desire in the Middle East,” Panel, Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, New Orleans (November 2019).
  • “War, Violence, and ‘Contested Bodies:’ Transnational Representations of Adolescent and Youth Sexuality in the Twentieth-Century,” Panel, Society for the History of Youth Sexuality in the Twentieth-Century, Sydney (June 2019).
  • “Womanhood and Female Sexuality in the Late Ottoman Empire,” Panel, Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, San Antonio (November 2018).Selected Conference Presentations:
  • “Tracing Female Homoeroticism in the Colonial Archives,” National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) (September 2021).
  • “Erotics of Death: Literary and Visual Representations of Martyrdom in World War I,” Middle East Studies Association, Virtual Meeting (October 2020).
  • “Groovy Kind of Love: Adolescent Female Same-Sex Desire and ‘Illicit Intimacies,’” Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, New Orleans (November 2019).
  • “Condemnation of Adolescent Same-Sex Male Desire and Practices: Regulating Homosocial Bonds in Konya’s State Orphanages (1914-18),” Society for the History of Children and Youth Conference, Sydney (June 2019).
  • Boy Lovers and Cross-Generational Sex: The Politics of Youth Sexuality in the Ottoman Empire during World War I (1914-18),” Queer History Conference, San Francisco (June 2019).
  • “Motherhood in Times of War: Breastfeeding Practices and the Representation of Ottoman Women in Advice Literature,” Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association, San Antonio (November 2018).
  • “Twisted Desires: Boy Lovers and Cross-Generational Sexual Practices in the Late Ottoman Empire (1914-18),” Community of Scholars Symposium, The Institute for Research on Women and Gender, University of Michigan (October 2018).