For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

Esra Almas will deliver this lecture as part of "Baldwin Series 2020-2021: The intersection of Race, Gender, Class, and the Nation" taking place at AUC.

Event details of James Baldwin’s stay in Istanbul: Being a Black American in the Orient by Esra Almas [Online]
Date 21 April 2021
Time 18:00 -19:30

Access the lecture


James Baldwin spent almost a decade in Istanbul, a metropolis on the periphery of Europe. The city provided him with the critical distance to view and respond to some of his key concerns: Baldwin wrote about exile and the experience as an outsider. Interestingly, he never mentioned Istanbul. 

Baldwin’s criticism of racism and his stay outside the US has received considerable attention. His stay in Istanbul, less so.  Recently, contemporary artist Glen Ligon used Baldwin’s experience in Istanbul, as part of an installation for the Istanbul 2019 Biennial, which straddled past and present, race and place, Istanbul and New York. This talk explores Baldwin’s stay in the city and its resonance in terms of larger questions regarding place and identity.


Esra Almas is an assistant professor in English Literature at Istanbul Sehir University. As part of her focus on modern Turkish literature, she has concentrated her research on the diaspora, exile narratives, the urban imaginary, auto/biography and Sufism. She has published extensively on Orhan Pamuk, one of Turkey’s most prominent novelists. Almas earned her PhD at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and has taught at the Netherlands Institute in Turkey as well as at Haliç University, Istanbul.


Dr. Erinç Salor, Head of Studies Humanities, Amsterdam University College.


Dr. Lara Mazurski