Thursday, December 3, 2020
2020 Dozier Award Winner
School of Anthropology
University of Arizona
Title: Constructing Femina Grata through Femina Communa: Revanchist Urban Policies in A Historical District in Turkey
Abstract: Neil Smith’s conceptualization of “revanchist city” refers to the reclamation of the city spaces for capital accumulation and safety/security of those who are intended to benefit from such spaces. Being open to multiple readings, revanchism may take different forms in different urban contexts. I use analytical lens of the revanchist city to understand and explain the neoliberal urban renewal processes in Ulus, a historical district in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey where sex work is performed. This paper follows a comparative approach regarding the construction of femina grata by both analyzing the law, practices and political projects in relation to women in radical modernity period in Turkey and analyzing current neoliberal revanchist interventions in Ulus and its gendered meanings in accordance with urban renewal strategies carried out. This paper consists of mainly three parts. The first part addresses the changes in the meanings of Ulus district in the capital city of Ankara. The second part analyzes the construction of femina communa through the Public Health Law of Turkey enacted in 1930 and the meanings of femina grata in radical modernity period. The third part focuses on the practices of neoliberal revanchist policies in Ulus that are used for justifying the exclusions of sex workers and the construction of femina grata who has religious tendencies. The main argument of this paper is that the neoliberal revanchist policies carried out in Ulus aim to cultivate city spaces for capital and attract those families who are enjoying pious activities rather than those women and families who are secular by creating a moment of “triple dualism”.
Keywords: revanchist city, femina grata, public woman, Ulus, triple dualism