Wenner-Gren and CMES Funding for Karakus

School of Anthropology doctoral student Emrah Karakus was recently awarded a Wenner-Gren dissertation fieldwork grant for his project on the securitization of Kurdish queer lives. Emrah plans to start fieldwork for “Kurdish Lubunyas: Securitization of Queer Subjectivities in Kurdish Turkey” in January 2020.

In addition, in April Emrah received 2019 Center for Middle Eastern Studies Internship Funding for the summer. Emrah plans to do his internship at an LGBTI organization in Istanbul between May and June as a part of his preliminary fieldwork research. He will join their meetings, events, and protests; help them organize these events and activities; and do translations from Turkish to English. This is an organization Emrah wants to include in his research. As a CMES Internship Funding recipient, Emrah will submit a one page written and photographic summary of the activities supported by his award.

Abstract: The conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) that began in 1984 entered a cease-fire in 2010, but returned to re-intensified militarized conflict in 2015. This has led to massive infrastructural and human destruction in Southeast Turkey, accompanied by intensified surveillance and urban counterinsurgency against Kurds. As with many aspects of Kurdish identity politics, the ways in which Kurdish lubunyas (LGBTI in queer dialect) are articulating, debating, and living identities have been intimately and increasingly interwoven with these institutions, discourses, and practices of securitization. This study consists of 12 months of ethnographic research to understand how Kurdish lubunya identities and daily lives are being restructured through a relationship to forms of securitization. I will conduct fieldwork in Kurdish LGBTI organizations and apartment settings rented by Kurdish lubunya sex workers in Istanbul and Diyarbakir, and in public gatherings and intimate spaces such as cruising parks, and cafes and bars in order to understand how daily habits and dynamics of social interaction among Kurdish lubunyas are being formed in relation to techniques of surveillance and securitization, and how the forms of securitization experienced by lubunyas link to broader securitization of both Kurdish people and LGBTI non-Kurdish people in Turkey. (Anthro News digest date: 5/3/2019)