Bülent Bilmez Visit

Update from the Workshop Coordinators

We are deeply sorry to inform you that this event is cancelled. Professor Bilmez was not allowed into the United States due to his travel history, namely a prior visit to Erbil. We hope that you will join us in standing in solidarity with all the academics whose social and intellectual life is being affected by passport regimes and travel restrictions.


Dealing with the Past as a Political Instrument for Present in an Egalophobic Society: Commemoration of the Centenary of 1915 in Turkey

April 17, 2017; 4-5:30PM

LSA 4147


Studies on Turkey
A University of Michigan Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop
Please join us on Wednesday March 15, Angell Hall G168, 5-7pm for

Uprooted Lives and Migrant Labor

in Kurdistan and Turkey


“Their daughters have seen nothing but these fields”:

Gender, Kinship and Desire among Kurdish Migrant Workers

Deniz Duruiz

Columbia University, PhD candidate in Anthropology

Every year, more than a million laborers organize in kin groups and travel from the urban and semi-urban areas of the Kurdish region to the rural areas of western of Turkey to stay and work there for several months. Unlike the labor migration from the Kurdish region to urban areas where it is mostly the Kurdish men that integrate into the insecure and temporary labor markets, temporary labor migration to rural areas mainly depend on the monetary valuation of women and teenagers’ labor. While the migrant characteristic of these jobs expose women and teenagers to new encounters and life experiences, the main reason laboring in a context of kinship in the rural areas is regarded as appropriate for women and teenagers is the very control the men and the elders of the family have over these social encounters and the limited prospects of sociality rural areas offer compared to that provided by the city. In this paper, I focus on the embodied and affective circulation of urban middle class desires, the gendered dynamics of family labor, and the modern spatial imaginaries of the rural/urban divide intersected by the West/the East divide. By doing so, I unpack the social formations and subjectivities generated through this labor practice that tether the political economy of the Kurdish region to that of Turkey in a very particular way.

Narratives of Violence:

The Making of Kurdish Community in Migrant Istanbul

Onur Günay

Princeton University, PhD candidate in Anthropology

This paper ethnographically documents personal and communal stories of Kurdish migrant settlement in inner city Istanbul. In the context of the resurgence of the war between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Kurdish migrant workers in Istanbul remember and speak of violence in self-defense as a tool to enter the social and economic scene of the city, and thus as an important part of their struggle for subsistence and dignity. In the intersection between the ethical and the political lays the fundamental question of legitimate use of violence. While the recent anthropological work focuses on the ethical claims made by states and transnational institutions regarding the use of violence in these “troubled waters” at the confluence of ethics and politics, I explore the ways in which the justness of violence –as a contingent frame- is enacted in self-defense against state violence and what kinds of social relations emerge as a response. Violence as self-defense is conceived and narrated as a form of care through which Kurdish community is built in Istanbul, “the world’s biggest Kurdish city.” Care for others is an ethical practice that leads to formation of a moral and political community, though not one that is free from uncertainties and contradictions.

Date and Time: March 15, 5-7pm

Location: Angell Hall G168

For more information,

please email pinarus@umich.edu,  osavas@umich.edu, or hdarici@umich.edu

~Light refreshments will be provided~

Two Events with Nazan Üstündağ


Informal Conversation with Graduate Students and Faculty

Hosted by Studies on Turkey

Monday, November 7th, 2016
6-7:30 PM, LSA 4154

State’s Passion and Kurdish Bodies:

A Photographic Account of the History of the Kurdish Liberation Struggle in Turkey

Hosted by the Department of Sociology and Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
LSA 4147

First Meeting of Fall 2016: Adnan Celik (EHESS)

Studies on Turkey

A University of Michigan Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshop


Kürdistan Yerellerinde Devlet Şiddeti ve Kürtler Arası Çatışmalar:

Tarih, Hafıza ve Deneyim

Adnan Çelik

EHESS, Antropoloji


6-7:15 PM

School of Social Work, Room 1794


Dear all,

We are starting Studies on Turkey workshop’s Fall 2016 meetings with Adnan Çelik’s talk on Friday, October 28 at SSW 1794. This session will be held in Turkish only.

Please RSVP by responding to osavas@umich.edu or pinarus@umich.edu by Wednesday October 26 if you are planning to join us. Click here for Çelik’s article “1990’s State of Emergency and War: Violence and Resistance in Kurdistan Localities”. 


Pınar & Özge