Political Science Program PhD candidate Doğu Durgun has participated in the Annual Convention of ASN (Association for Studies of Nationalities) which has been held between 14 and 16 April 2016at Columbia University in New York. The abstract of the presentation is as follows:
Refusing for the Nation: A comparative-historical perspective on conscientious objection in Turkey and Israel
This paper questions the similarities and differences between the cases of conscientious objection in Turkey and in Israel. Conscientious objection follows different paths in both countries which have similar citizenship regimes. Whereas total objection has been introduced by mostly anarchist, antinationalist and antimilitarist individuals in Turkey, selective objections were put forth by commanders, reserve and on-duty soldiers in Israel. In other words, Turkey meets with selective objection by the attempts of mostly self-declared Kurdish activists, or their allies while Israeli selective objection comes from the ‘cheerised sons and daughters of the State,’ as well as from self-declared Palestinian Druzes. This presentation makes an account of the structure of the citizenship regimes and agencies of the objectors in order to assess the similarities and differences between two countries. Based on the critical discourse analysisof 56 in-depth interviews with self-declared objectors in Turkey and Israel, and the magazines, interviews and articles written by the objectors and their allies, I argue that the ways in which objectors relate to their ethnicities and nationalities are crucial to understand which discourses and practices, e.g., just-unjust war, legitimate defense/self defense, violence/nationalism of the oppressed/oppressor, are appropriated by the objectors.
* * *
Political Science PhD candidate Gülnur Kocapınar Yıldırım, as being co-author with Yüksel Alper Ecevit from Bahçeşehir University, presented at the 74th Annual Midwest Political Science Association Conference which was held in Chicago, Illinois, USA, between 7-10 April 2016. Their paper titled as Legislative Candidate Selection in Transitional Democracies: The Impact of Individual Attributes on Party Choices. This paper has also been accepted for the 3rd General Conference of the ECPR Standing Group on Parliaments in Munich which will be held between the 30th of June and 2nd of July, 2016.
* * *
Cultural Studies MA student Atak Ayaz presented a paper titled as Reflections in the Silver Mirror: Owning the Past and Carrying Its Burden, at a conference in Cambridge, UK on the 14th of May (2016) ‘The Heritage of Displacement: Forced Migration in the Mediterranean through History.’ was organized by the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Cambridge Heritage Research Group, University of Cambridge.
Reflections in the Silver Mirror: Owning the Past and Carrying Its Burden
In 1915, when Bedros Effendi fled Muş, his city in Eastern Anatolia, to save his and daughter’s life from the onslaught of massacres during the Armenian Genocide, he left behind their house in which there wasa silver mirror. Based on the life story of my 58-year-old interlocutor, his parents purchased this house in 1931from the state -as stated on the deed- someyears after the foundation of the Turkish Republic, with the mirror in it. Even though he keeps the land and the silver mirror in his possession, he situates himself as the caretaker/watcher, rather than the owner, as ordered by the heritage passed down by his (grand)father.
How can the anthropologist account for the discrepancy of ‘ownership’ between the state and personal, when an interlocutor positions himself as the ‘caretaker’ of his own state-defined legal property? Who defines ownership ‘in the field’ when this concept is complicated by a moral economy of redemption and helalleşmek, which can be roughly explained as settling material and nonmaterial accountsin the eyes of Allah? In what ways do helalleşmek and ownership pass intergenerationally, as in the case of the silver mirror, complicating the notions of ‘heritage’ and ‘capital’ when we consider what the term ‘ownership’ encompasses? By presenting and analyzing ethnographic research from Muş, this paper will interrogate how my interlocutor challenges the distinction between the State and the personal in terms of ownership; and will discuss the liminal nature between ownership and what is ‘owned.’