Nâlân Erbil

Turkish (GNS+)

Faculty Associate


Office number: 1348 Van Hise Hall

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Language(s): Turkish, Azeri, Ottoman, Arabic, Persian, Kurmanji, German

Research/Language Interests: 19th c. Ottoman and post-imperial Turkish literature; Turkish-German literatures; literature and ethics; censorship; literacy and literariness; film studies; feminisms and queer studies; post-colonial/world literatures; social justice and literacy education.

About: Nâlân Erbil (pronounced as NAH-lahn U-er-beel) grew up in the rural southwestern region of Turkey and moved to Istanbul for her undergraduate study. Her ancestors were nomadic goatherders (yörüks) from the West Taurus Mountains in Anatolia who became settled two generations ago. Born in a yörük tent, her grandfather was the first to finish high school in his generation. Nâlân is a first-generation college graduate and the first in her extended family to have a PhD. As an interdisciplinary literary teacher-scholar by training, she teaches Turkish language, literature and film courses at UW-Madison. Her pedagogical interest lies particularly in social justice education in teaching Turkish cultures in the US. Nâlân is currently working on a project that investigates how and why understanding of literariness has changed in the Turkish literary history, and how this transformation has influenced contemporary writing and thought. Her second project will question the concept of Turkish-Germanness in the works of writers living in Turkey and writing in Turkish. She currently serves as the Pedagogy Director of the Arabic, Persian, and Turkish Language Institute and the Turkish Flagship Language Initiative.

Affiliated Departments: Middle East Studies Program and Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia

• University of Wisconsin-Madison, PhD in Asian Languages and Cultures (2018) with a PhD minor in Comparative Literature
• University of Wisconsin-Madison, MA in Languages and Cultures of Asia (2012)
• Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Graduate Coursework in Turkish and Islamic Art and Architecture (2007-2008)
• Boğaziçi University (Istanbul), BA in English (2007)