Conversations with scholars of contemporary Turkey about their academic work and its social and political implications.
Host: Keyman Postdoctoral Fellow Deniz Duruiz
Ergin Bulut And Can Ertuna - Journalism during the pandemic, authoritarianism and precarious labor
In this episode, I talked to two media and communication studies scholars, Ergin Bulut and Can Ertuna, about their new research on journalism during the pandemic in Turkey. Although the pandemic had an overall negative effect on journalism, their research also showed unexpected social effects of the pandemic. Due to the public interest in accurate information, sensational journalism and the media coverage of pseudo-experts took a hit and the crisis opened up a space for real journalism, which allowed journalists to ask questions to authorities. We also talked about their individual research projects. Bulut’s book A Precarious Game: The Illusion of Dream Jobs in the Video Game Industry, an ethnographic study of a video game studio in the US Midwest, discusses how the gendered and classed forms of labor, workplace inequalities, and racialized production cultures are rendered invisible with a discourse of “labor of love”. Ertuna’s work on journalism under an increasingly authoritarian regime following the 2016 coup attempt shows the dire conditions of journalism as a labor form at the intersection of political and economic insecurities.
Ergin Bulut received his PhD from the Institute of Communications Research at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Currently, he works as an Associate Professor at Koç University's Media and Visual Arts Department, where he teaches classes on media industries, video game studies, media sociology, and media and populism. He researches in the area of political economy of media and cultural production, video game studies, media and politics, and critical theory.
Can Ertuna has a PhD in Media and Communication Studies from Galatasaray University. He is currently working as a full time lecturer at Bahçeşehir University New Media department. He has also been working as a journalist for the last 20 years. Currently he is also working as a freelance journal for mainly international news organizations.
David Leupold - Politics Of Contesting Armenian, Kurdish And Turkish Memory And Nagorno Karabakh War
In this special episode, our new Keyman Postdoctoral Fellow Anoush Tamar Suni interviewed David Leupold on his new book Embattled Dreamlands: The Politics of Contesting Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish Memory, which explores the intertwined histories of Armenian, Turkish, and Kurdish communities with a particular focus on the violent history of the Genocide of Ottoman Armenians in 1915. Moving through multiple issues like histories of violence, exclusionary national narratives and their counternarratives, multiple toponymies, the everyday experience of the land, the conversation sheds light on how these contested histories inform the lives of the past and inhabitants of these geographies that transcend the boundaries of nation states. At the end of the episode, Dr. Leupold also offers a nuanced reading of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by explaining how the memory regimes of nation states create a vicious circle of violence built on denying the trauma of the other.
David Leupold is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin in the research unit "Representations of the Past as a Mobilising Force." Previously, he was a Manoogian postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan. Dr. Leupold received his Ph.D. in Social Sciences from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2018. His research has appeared in the journal Iran and the Caucasus, and this year, his monograph, entitled Embattled Dreamlands: The Politics of Contesting Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish Memory, was published by Routledge. Dr. Leupold’s new book explores the intertwined histories of Armenian, Turkish, and Kurdish communities with a particular focus on the violent history of the Genocide of Ottoman Armenians in 1915. With his proficiency in Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Russian, Farsi, German and English, Dr. Leupold brings together a wide variety of historical and contemporary written sources as well oral history interviews that he conducted during fieldwork in both Armenia and in southeastern Turkey.
For more on David's work:
book tour: https://readymag.com/relictsofanotherfuture/1820336/
Anoush Tamar Suni is the 2020-2022 Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University. She earned her PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2019. For her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Palimpsests of Violence: Ruination and the Politics of Memory in Anatolia,” she spent over two years (2015-2017) in the region of Van, in southeastern Turkey, conducting ethnographic research. She is currently working on her book project, which investigates questions of memory and the material legacies of state violence in the region of Van with a focus on the historic Armenian and contemporary Kurdish communities. Prior to coming to Northwestern, she was a Manoogian Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Armenian Studies Program and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan.
Zeynep Oğuz -COVID-19 and Oil in the Eastern Mediterranean, An Environmental Humanities Perspective
A conversation with Zeynep Oğuz, a cultural anthropologist, about her work on oil in Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean, and COVID-19 from the perspective of environmental humanities. We talked about how nature, politics, and the economy are entangled in the multi-layered material of oil. Zeynep's work delves into the topics of oil in Turkey and the Kurdish Question simultaneously, bringing a fresh perspective to each question. We also talked about why the responses to COVID-19 around "containment" or "disconnection", with narratives of "virus as enemy" and similar militarized responses, are actually legitimizing the very cause of this disease, namely, the geopolitics of global capitalism. Finally, we talked about how to think about oil in the Eastern Mediterranean within a framework that prioritizes the demands of local actors and is informed by the principles of the internationalist and planetary Left politics.
Zeynep Oğuz is Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities with a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology at Northwestern University. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from the Graduate Center, the City University of New York in 2019 with her dissertation “Sedimenting Territory: A Political Geology of Oil, Earth, and Spatial Politics in Turkey.” Located at the intersection of environmental anthropology, geography, and Science and Technology Studies (STS), her current book project examines how oil, petroleum geology, and energy infrastructures have mediated the relations between earthly and sociopolitical formations in Turkey. By analyzing the making and unmaking of territorial imaginaries and formations, especially in relation to Turkey’s Kurdish-populated southeast, Zeynep’s work offers an alternative genealogy of the Kurdish Question from the perspective of petroleum, environment, and Earth politics.
For more on Zeynep's work:
Mekanda Adalet Derneği webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OJS9oa9Txc
Theorizing the Contemporary series in Cultural Anthropology
Introduction: Geological Anthropology by Zeynep Oğuz:
Zeynep Oğuz's article, Continental Collision:
Seçil Yılmaz - A Historical Conversation On Epidemics And COVID - 19
A conversation with Seçil Yılmaz, a historian of the late Ottoman Empire and the Middle East and an expert on epidemics. I talked to her about her research on syphilis in the late Ottoman Empire, early modern ideas of contagion, governmental techniques of regulating mobility, burial and mourning practices, gender, sexuality, and class in relation to health and disease. Seçil pointed out many parallels and differences between biopolitics today and at its time of inception. Many valuable lessons from the history of epidemics!
Seçil Yılmaz is an assistant professor of history at Franklin and Marshall College. She specializes in the social and political history of the Ottoman Empire and modern Middle East with a focus on gender, sexuality, and medicine. Her research concentrates on the social and political implications of syphilis in the late Ottoman Empire by tracing the questions of colonialism, modern governance, biopolitics, and gender. Her other projects include research on the relationship between religion, history of emotions, and contagious diseases in the late Ottoman Empire as well as history of reproductive health technologies and humanitarianism in the modern Middle East. She is currently revising her dissertation “Love in the Time of Syphilis: Medicine and Sex in the Ottoman Empire, 1860-1922” into a book manuscript. Before joining Franklin and Marshall College, she held Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Society for the Humanities and Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University as a part of the 2016 cohort on the theme of “Skin” and the 2017 cohort on the theme of “Corruption.” Her research appeared in the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies and she is currently the co-curator of the podcast series on Women, Gender, and Sex in the Ottoman World at Ottoman History Podcast.
You can find out more about Seçil Yılmaz’s work on:
The Jadaliyya Roundtable by Seçil Yılmaz and three other Middle East historians on Epidemics:
Other references from the podcast:
Aslı Zengin’s work on the death and mourning practices for transgender women in Turkey: https://allegralaboratory.net/turkish-cemeteries-for-the-unknown-afterlives/
Shana Minkin - Imperial Bodies: Empire and Death in Alexandria, Egypt. Stanford University Press, 2019.
Nuran Yıldırım – “Karantina İstemezük”
Intro Music: Herediya - Anadolu Quartet - Ahenk Müzik
Salih Can Açıksöz
In this episode, I had a wonderful conversation with Salih Can Açıksöz on his book Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey published by University of California Press in 2019. Can conducted ethnographic research with Turkish disabled conscripts who fought against Kurdish guerrillas in Turkey and Northern Iraq. We talked about the social dynamics of universal conscription, ultranationalist politics, and the embodied experience of being a soldier, and then, becoming a disabled veteran in relation to gender, class, and national politics in Turkey.
You can purchase the book at the UCPress website: www.ucpress.edu/9780520305304
Use source code 17M6662 at checkout for 30% off.
Salih Can Aciksoz is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCLA. After receiving his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011, he served as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the College of William and Mary and an Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona. His first book “Sacrificial Limbs: Masculinity, Disability, and Political Violence in Turkey” (University of California Press, 2019) centers on disabled veterans of Turkey’s Kurdish war. Chronicling veteran’s post-injury lives and political activism, the book examines how veterans’ experiences of war and disability are closely linked to class, gender, and ultimately the embrace of ultranationalist right-wing politics. Dr. Aciksoz’s new book project, “Humanitarian Borderlands: Medicine and Terror at Turkey’s Syrian Border,” focuses on humanitarian prosthetics and emergency field medicine along and across Turkish-Kurdish-Syrian border. The work explores how new forms of medical care and ethics emerge in a zone of political violence through a contest over the meanings of health, humanitarianism, and terrorism. In addition to these two long-term projects, Dr. Aciksoz has written on PTSD, assisted reproduction technologies for people with disabilities, crowd control technologies, prenatal genetic testing, and the gender politics of populist movements. His work has appeared in journals including Current Anthropology, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, and the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies in addition to online venues such as Jadaliyya.
In this episode, our guest was Ayşe Parla, and we had a very interesting conversation with her about her new book Precarious Hope: Migration and the Limits of Belonging in Turkey published by Stanford University Press in 2019. We discussed how migrants from Bulgaria inhabit a liminal position between desirable migrants defined as racial kin and economically precarious subjects, whose belonging to the Turkish nation is constantly renegotiated.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Boston University. Her research and writing on transnational migration, hope, precarious labor, dispossession and the governance of difference is situated at the intersections of the politico-legal and the affective-moral realms in Turkey, its borderlands and diasporas. Her first book, Precarious Hope, explored the limits of belonging in Turkey from the perspective of Turkish migrants from Bulgaria who are ethnically privileged but economically precarious, and for whom citizenship is promised even if not guaranteed.
Stanford University Press provided a 20% discount for the listeners of the Keyman Podcast if you purchase the book directly form their website. Follow this link and enter the Promo Code PARLA20 at the checkout to purchase the book with a 20% discount.
For more on Ayşe Parla’s work: