Congratulations to Dr. Müge Turan

June 21, 2024 by Tony Pi

Müge Turan defended her doctoral dissertation, "A Nation Dubbed: Ghost Voices in Yesilçam", on Monday, June 10, 2024. The committee consisted of Angelica Fenner (supervisor), Sara Saljoughi, Charlie Keil, Milena Methodieva, exam chair Franz Huber, and external examiner Melis Behlil (Kadir Has University).

We asked Müge about her work, as well as her plans for the future.

All thesis projects begin from a personal place, and this became clearer to me once I completed mine. My dissertation explores the complexities of dubbed voices in Yeşilçam, Turkish popular cinema, and their connection to the national psyche. I’ve always believed Yeşilçam’s soundtrack demands to be heard differently, with its studio-crafted, theatrical voices transporting listeners to a place like a distant dream.

This project stemmed from a simple curiosity about the powerful voices behind the scenes. It started as a detective endeavor, driven by the lack of recognition for these "ghost voices." At times, the project felt bigger than me, but I aimed to fill a gap in Turkish cinema history that hadn’t been previously studied. It was as much about discovering my own voice as it was about uncovering the voice of Yeşilçam.

Heartfelt thanks to my friends and colleagues at Innis College, especially my supervisor Angelica Fenner, and my doctoral committee, Sara Saljoughi and Charlie Keil. I couldn't have done it without you.

I continue to serve as the film curator at the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art and as a film critic for various outlets. And, I am always listening closely to films and other media.

Her supervisor, Angelica Fenner, had this to say about Müge's thesis:

Earlier this month, Müge Turan journeyed to Toronto from Istanbul for what would prove to be her last visit ever to Innis College --- at least in her capacity as a doctoral candidate.  On June 10, 2024, following her successful Final Oral Exam, Dr.  Turan was spied joyfully exiting the building at 2 Sussex Avenue headed for a celebratory lunch with  members from an examination committee consisting of Professors Angelica Fenner (supervisor), Charlie Keil, Sara Saljoughi, internal external Melina Methodiva, and external examiner Dr. Melis Behlil of Kadir Has Üniversitesi. In its early stages, Müge's promising research was supported by a MITACS mobility grant and expanded to become an original study destined to inspire future scholars to also examine dubbing’s role in other national cinemas.  Dr. Turan's progressed steadily towards completion of this thesis parallel to her continuing career as a critic and curator, persevering even in the face of setbacks caused by the global pandemic and, more locally, the ensuing devastating earthquake in her home country. 


Dr. Turan's ambitious thesis lends an attentive ear to Yeşilçam cinema, Turkey's studio productions of the classical era spanning the 1940s to early 1990s. Yeşilçam harbored an ambivalent relationship to Hollywood hegemony, achieving widespread popular appeal among domestic audiences through the cultural specificity of its storytelling. Also distinctive was its recourse to voice dubbing, to whose broader cultural implications scholars of Turkish film have remained deaf until now. Drawing from methodologies of psychoanalysis, sound theory, national cinema paradigms, Turan argues that dubbing both foregrounded and disavowed disjunctions of sound and image, of voice and body that have always haunted the cinema. But because dubbing also followed on the heels of the Republic's founding in 1923, it modelled for national audiences a linguistic homogeneity that masked the diversity of regional dialects and minority languages such as Kurdish comprising the country's actual population.  Imposing symbolic conformity at the level of speech and the material voice, dubbing became a cipher for modernity's overall 'Turkification' processes in the young Republic, even if, as Turan points forth, resistances remained discernible that also 'talked back' to these nationalizing tendencies.  Congratulations on your remarkable achievements, Dr. Turan!

Congratulations, Dr. Turan!


Dr. Müge Turan