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Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Deniz Basar, Humanities

A Dismissed Heritage: Contemporary Performance in Turkey Defined through Karagöz

Date & time
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 (all day)

This event is free


School of Graduate Studies


Daniela Ferrer



When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


This study focuses on the aesthetics of contemporary theatre of Turkey through the focal point of Ottoman non-religious and urban performance forms, and particularly the medium of shadow puppetry known as Karagöz. The major signature of Karagöz is its metatheatricality, which was incorporated into the contemporary theatre of Turkey through the various methods discussed in this thesis. Adaptation, epic theatre, ‘two and a half dimensions’, and ‘narrative theatre’ are all methods that serve this culturally-rooted metatheatrical performance paradigm. As a through line, while tracing the aesthetic hybridities, Western influences, and organizational structures that shaped the contemporary theatre field of Turkey through multiple case studies, this thesis centers itself around the focus of illustrating the patterns of how the archetypes, elements, and techniques of Karagöz were recycled and re-invented on the contemporary stage. This overall metatheatricality sets up the dramaturgy and acting style through its open form, and through the direct engagement of the performers to their audiences.

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