Queerly Turkish: queer masculinity and national belonging in the image of Zeki Müren
Popular Music and Society
99 - 118
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This article offers an explanation for the lasting appeal of Turkish cross-dressing singer Zeki Müren (1931–96). His performances on stage, film, and television interweave avant-garde, modern, and old-fashioned elements. The success of these performances registers Turkish society’s ambivalence about modernity, masculinity, and sexuality. Müren’s queer performances conjure an imaginary public that spans the divisions within Turkish culture, such as that between nostalgia for the Ottoman past and aspirations for national belonging based on European models. The article concludes by examining some recent appropriations of Müren’s image, to show that Müren continues to represent an imaginary, unified Turkish society.